Ndidi Iwumene (Department of Chemistry), UBC Summer 2016

Ndidi Iwumene at UBCApplying for an IROP at University British Colombia was one of the best decisions I’ve made. The eight-week placement immersed me into Canadian culture and introduced me to a synthetic chemistry research environment. UBC has excellent facilities and an immense campus. I was able to complete a number of training courses as well as attend monthly barbeques. These both helped me to settle very fast. Vancouver is an exceptional city and I was fortunate enough to have enough time to thoroughly explore.

Before arriving in Canada I was fairly anxious about the intensity of the lab work and my ability to adapt to a new city and routine. Thankfully, these anxieties were quickly dispelled. The research group I was adopted by were incredibly supportive from the onset. I was escorted from the airport to the university accommodation and welcomed with a mini tour of the city.

I encountered countless individuals with varied backgrounds and established lifelong friendships. Living away from home in an entirely different environment greatly increased my confidence. In truth, I found my voice. This was manifested in weekly tutorials, one on one discussions and interactions with the general public. There were so many memorable moments. For instance, kayaking off a secluded Island and spotting a seal. Watching the magnificent parades on Canada day was incredible and the fireworks that followed were a superb end to the weekend. I revelled in the outdoors/active culture Canadians proudly uphold. Despite being a born and bred Londoner, I now see London through different eyes. The experience has engrained in me a nascent passion for travelling. It was fascinating to become acquainted with the Canadian landscape and cuisine. I probably ate more sweet potato (or ‘yam fries’), in those eight weeks, than in my entire lifetime.

All in all, this was a remarkable experience that will undeniably shape my future. My chemical knowledge and practical skills have advanced significantly. The intercultural experiences where inspirational and allowed me to recover from an intense year of studying.  I am hugely grateful for the opportunity and implore all future students to apply. 

"As a result, I am a lot more confident with meeting new people and building relationships. This placement also showed me the importance of travelling and has inspired me to travel more"