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How I Built My Career: from a UK student visa to a paid internship

Peter Adebayo – Intern at the 10,000 Interns Foundation

Peter is our first intern at the 10,000 Interns Foundation, he was hired through the 10,000 Black Interns programme. His internship started on the 31st of July 2023, focusing on Programme/project management. After the 6-week internship, he was offered to extend the internship for another 12 weeks! Read on for his inspiring story.

As a young dreamer from Nigeria, my heart yearned to study beyond the shores of my homeland to unlock the doors of opportunity the world could offer. I worked diligently, saving for the day I could break free and pursue a new horizon. Then, as fate would have it, the pandemic changed everything.

I embarked on a journey to the United Kingdom on a study visa. It was a leap of faith, a decision made swiftly and not without sacrifices. The UK’s updated student visa policy offers a new chance at a graduate visa. Scotland became an attractive destination for me.

In the chilly embrace of January 2022, I landed in the UK and joined the community of Black people living in the UK, stepping into a world starkly different from my African roots. The contrast was unmistakable for anyone who had spent most of their life on the African continent. But what choice did I have? This new land would be my home for the next few years.

I whispered to myself, “Stay strong and adapt.” Having already completed post-graduate studies, transitioning to university life was no small feat. Challenges arose as I tried to find my place in my new community. Securing an apartment became an unexpected hurdle, and navigating the city was like threading a labyrinth. Lost in the sea of European architecture, it was overwhelming. I soon discovered that moving to a new country was a challenge I hadn’t anticipated. Yet, I began conquering these trials with courage, a dash of Naija spirit, and faith.

After overcoming these initial hurdles, I started feeling alive and more aware of society’s intricacies. I began to appreciate my courage, strength, and vulnerability. My resilience became my guiding light, leading me through each day.

Fast forward to 2023, I proudly hold another degree in hand, ready to enter the professional world in the UK. But once again, there were new mountains to climb. In a new system, amid a new culture, expectations, unspoken conversations and inside jokes floated around, leaving me feeling like an outsider. Even my use of language felt different, as certain words carried unexpected nuances. Awkward laughter became my defence mechanism. Yet, I persevered, continued learning, and determined to make the most of my journey to the UK.

And then, a beacon of hope emerged on the horizon – the 10,000 Interns Foundation. Their mission was simple: to break the underrepresentation of Black talent in UK sectors by offering internships and coaching to Black students and graduates. It was precisely what I needed. I submitted my application and was selected.

Through the internship, I have gained valuable experience and expanded my network. Among the many activities, Aaron Morris’ coaching sessions stood out. Here, I heard stories of challenges faced by others, tales of resilience, and how Black individuals had triumphed in the UK. I learned to turn vulnerabilities into strengths, the importance of consistency, and the need to be kind to myself, which has become the cornerstone of my career journey.

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