Mandlaenkosi B Dube, who is from Zimbabwe, has found everything he needs for his aeronautical studies at UL – despite the restrictions
It is a dream land but not an imaginary one. It is a lovely place, the land of the Shamrock. It is Ireland. Everything is green here – unlike in my home country Zimbabwe. The land of the little green men, the leprechaun. Not the scary one from the movies but the one I hope will mend my shoes and leave me a pot of gold in the process.
Green signifies renewal or growth. Ireland has given me that through its world-class education system at the University of Limerick. When choosing a place of study abroad, the local culture tends to be a factor in making your decision. Ireland not only exposed me to its beautiful local culture and heritage but to diverse cultures from all around the world.
My expectation was to be entirely engrossed in the Irishness of everything but I got more than I had bargained for. There are people from all over the world here in Ireland, students from Nigeria, Kenya, India, France, Russia, Brazil, Chile, Canada, China, and Zimbabwe to mention but a few. The experience will occupy my entire time at the University of Limerick and Ireland as there is just so much to learn, experience and enjoy.
My life’s passion
Aviation runs through my blood, it is my life, my passion which is second to none. When I discovered that the aeronautical research department at the University of Limerick does a lot of research work for top aircraft manufacturers such as Airbus, that was it, I was sold, I wanted in. So far, I have not been disappointed. I am loving my classes – even though I know it could have been an even greater experience without the Covid-19 restrictions.
A virtual tour of the laboratories just left me yearning for more and I pray that I get to use some of the labs and the top-notch equipment in there before I graduate. I know that the practical experience would have been invaluable.
Did I mention the numerous career fairs that I have already attended in just one semester? As a student you want to know that once you graduate you can get employment. What better way to do this than to get employers and students in one place through career fairs?
I have been exposed to big companies at UL’s virtual career fairs, which are managed by the university’s Cooperative Education and Careers Division. I am learning, knowing the outlook is bright if I become the best I can be and competitive enough.
Soon enough I will be an aeronautical engineer with a MSc in Aeronautical Engineering degree working for a top and competitive company because my degree will be highly rated as it is from a world-renowned Irish university from Ireland.
The exposure the university has given me so far to these top companies has been enough inspiration for a lifetime for me to aim for the best. University of Limerick offers the best environment for me to realise my potential while adding a lot to it. The feeling I have right now is that it is only success left for me to achieve, as the University of Limerick has laid the foundation.
Education in Ireland has been a dream come true for me so far. They have been exceptional in student welfare during these hard times of the global pandemic. University of Limerick, you have kept my dream going despite the challenges being faced. You have helped me to maintain the integrity of my dream through world-class facilitation of my education and access to some of the best resources in the world.
It can be lonely learning online with no physical contact with other classmates and students at the university but the extra care you provide for my mental and social wellbeing goes a long way, all things considered. I do not feel like I am here to keep your business going but feel a part of everything that I can call my own too.
Mandlaenkosi B Dube is pursuing an MSc in Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Limerick