All the cobwebs here are simply not enough to cloud this news! 2021 has truly been that year. I’m not sure how to begin this but two things I know I currently feel are gratitude and pride. I am thankful that I have this prestigious opportunity and I am proud of myself!
How does one start this? How do you say that a dream you did not even have a few years ago has come true? I am typing this in Novara, Italy, while self-isolating (even though I am fully vaccinated as the AstraZeneca COVISHIELD Vaccine is not yet accepted in Italy.)
I arrived a few days ago and every morning feels like a reminder screaming at me and saying, ‘Desire, you are here! You have a fully-funded scholarship to follow your dreams.‘
I am a 2021 Awardee of the Erasmus+ Scholarship to study the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree (EMJMD) European Master In Translational Cosmetic and Dermatological Sciences (EMOTION)
If you know me, you’d know I am passionate about skincare. I educate via this blog and my Instagram, offer skincare consultations/ referrals and run Dee Skin Store – my growing online retail skincare brand. The goal is to help as many people as is humanly possible to feel happy and healthy in their skin. Having the opportunity to take on this program will provide me with more knowledge and confidence, which makes me so excited!
Talking about my entire journey may be too long for this post so I’d quickly answer a few pertinent questions:
What exactly is Erasmus+?
Erasmus+ was created by the European Union to support education, sport, training and the youth. The European Commission is the primary handler, and they are supported by other bodies. Find out more about Erasmus+ Program Objectives here. The education support aspect of this consortium is where I come in – getting an EMJMD. The programmes often run from 9 months – 2 years.
How did I discover this program?
My friend, Ore, was a 2019 Erasmus+ Scholar. When she got the scholarship, my eyes literally opened. Before then, I didn’t know much about the program. She encouraged me to apply for her program, NANOMED, and at the time, I was going to.
However, I found myself scrolling through the catalogue of EMJMD and I stumbled across the EMOTION website. It literally took me minutes but this is not the same for everyone. The rest is history (that we will talk about later.)
What are the benefits of the Erasmus+ program?
This is layered. Erasmus Mundus Degrees are prestigious in their own right and every program is unique.
They allow living in multiple countries across Europe (and other parts of the world like Japan, Turkey, Egypt, Canada, USA, UK) Interacting with people across several cultures in your class, school and environment provide you with a richer life experience.
There is also the monetary benefit of the scholarship (if you do get one- and you can) Monthly stipends (1000 Euros for the length of your program), Installation allowance (1000 Euros) travel allowance (Nigerians get 3000 Euros yearly), superb hands-on support from the moment you receive your letter, waived tuition fees and a great alumni network, among others!
Also, you can apply for 3 Erasmus+ Programmes/ Scholarships per year, so there’s room for hope.
How many times did I apply for this before getting the Erasmus+ Scholarship?
Two consecutive times – 2020 and 2021.
On my first trial, I was on the reserve list for the scholarship, interviewed and received an admission but would have been self-funded. I couldn’t carry on with this and I was devastated. I wanted it so bad that I almost started a GoFundMe.
I know I say this a lot but I often feel unsure about life, but this one thing, I was sure. I was convinced that this was the path for me, so I just decided to apply the next year. I was supposed to apply for NANOMED alongside EMOTION but I was honestly too lazy to put in two applications so I stuck with the latter. My support system through this time was solid. I’m so grateful to them, always!
I will always be in awe of people who put in tens of applications. I cannot fathom the amount of time, energy, money and mental strength they put in.
Who can apply for Erasmus+ Master Programmes?
Everyone who is at Master’s level from any country can apply for their preferred program. There’s a world of information regarding the Erasmus+ on the internet. You can also get more information from the organization here.
We had over 130 recipients from Nigeria this year and I strongly believe more of us should apply. I have now met a ton of Erasmus Scholars and we are… regular people. People who decided to put in the work in their lives and take a leap. There’s nothing inherently special about the people who have done this- and I mean it.
You don’t need to know everything about EMJMD. What you need to do is put in the right work at the right place. Look at the catalogue, search via Google, shoot me an email, ask people via LinkedIn, watch YouTube Videos.
There’s more than enough information for you. You just need to keep looking until you find what you are looking for. Then you act on it- you do the work.
What do I intend to achieve with this program?
There is so much I don’t know and haven’t done. I want to know more about skin health- the true science and business of the beauty/ skincare industry. I look forward to meeting my classmates, truly living in Europe- immersing myself in her people and culture, having the best gelato, learning Italian and Spanish, and crushing it in life!
A cause that is dear to my heart is helping other Nigerians know more about this. It’s a currently underhyped program in my opinion, and we have the brains and mindset to carry it, so why not?
I am not in a bubble and I know there will be HARD days, but I will get through every one of them. God is with me- I have all that I need.
Uba Desire is a proud Nigerian Erasmus+ Scholar, and she will succeed.
Watch out for her!
I’d like to compile a ‘more serious’ post/series about the Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters Degree Programme, so if you have a question (or two), do share in the comments section below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you so much for reading!