“While I was working back home in Nigeria, doing my clinical hours, a friend of mine was brought in, in renal failure,” recalls student nurse, Oluwafemi Ayelade.
“He died shortly after, and it was such a painful time for me, coming to terms with the fact that such a nice young man, just 19-years-old, had died of something I felt could have been prevented.”
Oluwafemi, who goes by Femi, shakes his head at the memory: “It made me want to challenge my country’s health system, and figure out how I could prevent such things from happening again.
“When the opportunity came for me to travel and study abroad, I knew I wanted to come to England. I wanted to explore the health system, learn everything I could about the community services in place here, and eventually take that knowledge back home, to help improve the systems in place in Nigeria.
“I’ve worked hard so that I can help ensure what happened to my friend doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
After completing an MSC in Public Health, Femi moved to the UK in 2014 on a student visa, where he began studying for a degree in nursing.
“It was a bit of a culture shock at first,” he smiles.
“I didn’t know anybody, of course, and initially it was a bit weird, starting a whole new life somewhere else.
“I struggled with my culture, and with my accent, and at first I felt quite shy and kept to myself. But as time went on, I got to know colleagues and began relating with people. I made friends, and that changed everything.
“I also found the cold weather a bit of a shock, though I think I’m used to that now.”
Speaking of the challenges of relocating, Femi reveals his main issue was with housing.
“The system is very different to the one back home, so that took some getting used to, and is something I’d recommend people invest time in sorting properly.
“The visa process was also a bit stressful, but it’s just a challenge everybody faces when coming from another country, so it’s worth taking time to sort yourself out, and ensure you have the right visa in place for your needs.”
After returning home to Nigeria briefly, Femi returned to England in 2018, settling in Essex, where he is currently living.
“Caring is my passion, and I love working with people,” says the 34-year-old.
“I believe England is the place I need to be to learn all I can, and I’ve loved being here. My goal is to work as an adult nurse.
“I’ve been working hard, and am now due to graduate on 18 October. I studied hard to pass my language test - my OET - with the fantastic Specialist Language Courses (SLC) last August, and am currently preparing for my CBT and OSCE. With the support of Migrate, I will start working as a registered nurse here in the UK very soon, by God’s grace.”
In terms of keeping in touch with family and friends back home, Femi says: “Thank God for technology! It made everything so much simpler, especially during Covid, when my student visa was extended so that I could remain in the UK.
“My family and friends always knew of my intention to study in England, and of my passion for caring, so it was no big surprise to them when I made the move over here, and I’m lucky that they’ve been really supportive of everything I’ve done in the last few years.
“At the end of the day, they’re happy to see me so happy.”
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