Self-funding doesn’t mean students have to give up on their dreams


Some things may seem like small issues, but if they are not handled properly and with care, they will almost certainly prevent you from achieving your goal. One of those problems is paying for your own education.

Students should realize that paying for tuition, accommodation, and other necessities during your college career is no easy task. Some people might think that if you are paying for your college education, you must have a lot of money. But this is not necessarily true.

Obtaining funds is difficult. However, that does not mean that you are less worthy because you did not receive a scholarship.

The truth is, everyone wants to grab an opportunity.

In 2019, the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) announced the EMoS scholarship and unfortunately I missed the event. As a result, the scholarship application window has been closed. However, I could still apply to college if I wanted to study as a private student.

Making money takes creativity

I was in desperate need of the scholarship program and realized I couldn’t wait another year because time was running out to study and graduate. Even though the Tanzanian government provides loans to students who wish to study at NM-AIST, I did not meet the eligibility criteria at the time.

So, to register, I had to do everything in my power to find the money.

Before I started I had about $ 1,000 in savings, which covered almost 25% of my annual fees at NM-AIST. Being officially enrolled at the institution gave me the green light to begin my journey towards completing degree programs. However, the reverse was true. It signaled a new struggle to keep me afloat.

Because I don’t have a job, I have to perform temporary tasks like being a middleman selling products, playing sports for money, or doing anything else that is moral for payment.

Being self-funded can have positive and negative consequences. I have a lot of experience with both. The advantage is that it allows you to better manage your time.

It is true that being a self-funded student comes with many challenges, but you can handle them if you are organized, even if your classroom focus has been shattered. For example, while preparing for the exams, I received an email to pay for the course fees and accommodation to be able to take the exams. Having planned ahead, I was able to cope with this kind of challenge.

Cooking at home

You can sometimes become demoralized. Of the 37 students in our class, only two do not have a scholarship. When others say their wages are not enough, you pray that you are lucky enough to have just what they have.

To save money, I don’t eat in restaurants. Instead, I cook in the hostel. If you’re budgeting roughly for a month, eating out costs around US $ 200 per month, while cooking at the hostel costs around US $ 80 per month.

The holidays will not be a part of your story as you will have to find something to do to make money during this time. Granted, we need to relax and have fun, but it might not be the best path for you right now. The luxuries should be limited. All you have to do is analyze your options and pay attention to the most important ones.

A solar powered wheelchair is one of the projects I’m working on right now. I am doing my case study at Mount Meru Referral Hospital in Arusha, Tanzania.

It is an excellent innovation, especially for our country. We need wheelchairs that are both affordable and convenient for local users, as more than 3.5 million people in Tanzania are disabled. There is still a long way to go because all of this requires money.

I am struggling to get the financial help I need as I have to complete the design and write a scientific paper according to the university guidelines. But I don’t give up; I believe great things are on the way.

Despite the challenges, I try to enjoy my studies and get the best grades possible to acquire sufficient skills that will benefit the community.

Finally, try to use what you have, as even a small spark can start a fire. Sometimes it is necessary to have a little faith and attitude. I gave myself hope that I would most likely receive the scholarship while I was in school, but it was a dream that did not come true. But that ray of hope has brought me here.

Florian M Rwegoshora holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical and electronic engineering. He is currently preparing a Masters in Embedded and Mobile Systems (EMoS) at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology in Tanzania.

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