At the Chevening pre-departure event with British High Commissioner to Botswana Jennifer Anderson and Lesiela (Chevening scholar).

Our latest blog entry is by 2012 Chevening scholar Bogolo Kenewendo. Bogolo is from Botswana and is studying  for an MSc in International Economics at the University of Sussex.

Just thinking about it gives me a certain kind of rush, I feel chills down my spine and I get really excited. The Chevening scholarship applications are now open!

A year ago, I waited anxiously for this moment, for the day I could raise my hand and say ‘Pick me!’ I had waited for too long, I had decided earlier on after my Bachelors that I would take a break from studying and work up until the timing was right and this was it, the timing couldn’t have been perfect.

I took that step, read through the requirements for the Nth time just to get my facts right. I wanted that scholarship and I was going to go to great lengths to ensure I got called for that interview. The first contact with the secretariat and the High Commission/Embassy is the motivation letter or essay; your soul on paper as I see it and I was going to lay it all out so that when they read they could feel my presence in the room (ey! we don’t know if they did but it was well worth a try 🙂 ).

Bogolo at the entrance to the University of Sussex

I waited for that call, the one that lets you know if you’ve impressed enough to meet people face to face. I called the High Commission several times just to make sure I didn’t miss it and when I finally got it, my knees were shaking! I couldn’t believe it, I was closer to being a Chevening scholar, closer to joining the big leagues, the network of leaders and I could smell the UK that I had never been to before. I prepared for that interview and made such a cheesy presentation (in hindsight, I think it may have cost me some points… haha!) and I gathered all my confidence and focused on the big picture. The paper had done such a good job at selling me but was I as personable as I had made myself to be? This was the time to step to the plate and say ‘yes! I’m your woman and I’m ready’. There is no point in applying and going for interviews when you know you are not ready; emotionally, psychologically and physically. When you apply for anything let alone a prestigious scholarship, you damn well better be ready because there are a billion more sharks out there with their teeth out for YOUR scholarship.

What comes after passing the interview has to be the most nerve wrecking experience. You are given a conditional award and to get it finalized there are several steps you have to go through. I had so many questions; what is a conditional scholarship? Did it mean that even though I was selected I could still not get it? I had to write the TOEFL (English proficiency test), do medical exams, confirm my place at the University etc.. I remember as the 3 months countdown began (yes, it started early! anticipation, Lol) I wondered if I’d make it, if all would be done on time. It’s a process, a long process and when I FINALLY got that award letter, when I signed it, I knew I was off to the UK! The University of Sussex was my chosen home for the year and I couldn’t be happier. I can now tell you that, the long wait and the anxiety was all worth it.

It’s been about 2 months and some since I’ve been a Chevening Scholar. It’s been an amazing experience (you can follow my UK experience on )! An experience I’d like to share with so many other people, an experience I’d like for you to enjoy. It won’t be the same experience for you but it will definitely blow you out of the water and get you ready for the future. Applying to this scholarship is a no brainer, you have nothing to lose. Your regrets aren’t in what you did but what you didn’t do. Life is too long for you to regret never applying. This scholarship is a relay and I can’t wait to hand over the baton to you.

Bogolo sightseeing in London. Here she is pictured in front of Tower Bridge.

A journey to a thousand miles begins with one step….re-read the requirements!

Good Luck!

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