Mustafa’s story: “Scholarships can help students dream again and hope for a better future”

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Graduate Mustafa at his graduation
Mustafa (MSc Strategic Communications) on his graduation day

Through the Student Fund, we are making sure that students of every background can come to Liverpool and make the most of their time here – so they can go out into the world and make a difference. From providing emergency grants so students can pay rising bills, buy essential equipment and books to scholarships for bright students fleeing conflict and turmoil, your support is changing lives. MSc graduate Mustafa previously spoke about the impact of receiving a scholarship to study at Liverpool. Now graduated, he reflects back on his time studying at the University.

“In September 2021, before I came to Liverpool, I had so many worries about Afghanistan and everything I left behind and what my future would hold. Exactly a year later, I completed my master’s degree with distinction. I feel grateful!

Most of my friends say the year passed so quickly. I think so too. I think it only happens when one had a busy year filled with productive activities. My one year in Liverpool went by swiftly but in a good way. I learned a lot and enjoyed a different academic environment. Prior to moving to the UK, I experienced a different study culture. In my early days, I was asking myself a lot of questions—from the reading list to writing an exam paper to the assessment criteria. But I am grateful that I had supportive professors and a responsive student administration that supported me through the process. One aspect of the educational system in the UK and at Liverpool that I really liked was how the school encouraged students to develop a critical eye and a research-focused approach to everything. I am really glad I developed these skills during my course - they are undoubtedly helpful both in academic and professional life. Other than my studies, I enjoyed living in the city. The warmth of the people, the good cafes, the welcoming nature of people and their crazy love for football are just amazing.

My favourite part of my master's was my dissertation. I based my research topic on a subject that I was very intrigued about: The US troops' withdrawal from Afghanistan. I researched the US government’s communication strategies and the audiences’ reactions toward these strategies on Twitter. I looked at the 1145 tweets and 85 minutes of speeches to analyse the arguments and the narrative that was promoted about the Afghan war and the 'why' behind the withdrawal. I was awarded a high distinction for my dissertation and these days I work with my supervisor to draft a proposal and jointly submit it to some international journals for publication.    

After completing my studies, I embarked on a journey to find a way back into the communication world. As I explored job prospects in the UK, I realized that the market was filled with fantastic opportunities but also highly competitive, but at the same time highly competitive and a bit overwhelming for international graduates like myself. Nonetheless, I persisted and was eventually successful in securing an interesting job. I am very excited about my new role as a Communication Consultant at Mercer. I look forward to enhancing my skill set and making valuable connections within the professional community in London.

The scholarship was beneficial in a number of ways. Earning a master's degree from a top university in the UK had been a long-time goal of mine; with the help of this scholarship, I was finally able to achieve it. It is not only about 'what' the scholarship helped me achieve, but also the 'when'. Following the takeover of the Taliban in August 2021, I had to leave Afghanistan and, in those days, I said to myself, 'I will not be able to return to Afghanistan anytime soon so I may prepare myself for a new environment and a new job market. I need to become competent enough so I can work and compete fairly.' One way to make this happen was through studies. The scholarship was awarded exactly around those days, and it was all I was wishing for. My master’s degree is a valuable asset in helping me find a job.

The unfortunate truth is that the world now needs more such scholarships. I see a lot of talented and ambitious young people who struggle and whose dreams are fading away because of everything that is happening in different parts of the world, such as the Taliban's ban on women's education in Afghanistan, the conflict in Ukraine, and the rise of inflation that is affecting so many people.

I am from Afghanistan, and every morning I read stories of the suffering of many women as a result of the Taliban's restriction on girls' education and social engagement. I personally know a lot of talented friends and family members with such great potential and high ambitions, but their dreams are buried. Such scholarships can help these talents dream again and hope for a better future. 

I express my sincere gratitude to everyone who has contributed to this campaign. I always say that scholarships are long-term social investments that will pay back greatly. Not merely a regular investment that benefits the recipients of awards, but one that fosters change agents and builds a culture of change among the recipients, families of recipients and beyond that. Every scholarship recipient feels a responsibility to give back and give a hand to someone in times of need.  Thank you for your generosity and for playing a key role in making such a big change possible!"

To find out more about the Student Fund and how you can support students like Mustafa, visit our Student Fund webpage.