It is fair to say that her first year of study at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) was an anxious one for Merfia Mantey.
The BSc Psychology student found it difficult to mix with others and she had to take time off when the surging feelings of unease and apprehension got the better of her.
But today Merfia says she has a new lease of life - and it is all thanks to her taking part in the #DMUglobal mass trip to Berlin in September.
Merfia says she has a new found belief in herself and what she can achieve, while brilliant friendships formed on the trip mean she has a great support network if times turn tough again.
Merfia spoke about the Berlin experience after finding out she was the 10,000th DMU student to sign up for the pioneering #DMUglobal scheme, an international experience programme which aims to enrich studies, broaden cultural horizons and develop key skills valued by employers.
She has received a £150 bursary to go towards another #DMUglobal trip and already has her eye on the mass trip to Hong Kong in 2019.
Her award comes as #DMUglobal has announced its next round of academic-led trips for 2019, including the annual Mass Trip to New York for final year students which takes place in January next year.
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Merfia, who travels into DMU every day from the city’s New Parks area, said: “Since returning from Berlin I have a new lease of life on campus. The first year was a difficult one in terms of anxiety, but it feels like I have started at DMU all over again.
“It was a brilliant trip. I loved every single moment that I was out there. The accommodation was great and the way the days were structured were a perfect mix of activity and time to explore the city.
“I was so inspired by what I did that I can honestly say it was the best time of my life. I returned to Leicester a completely different person. I have been urging everyone I have spoken to on campus to go on a #DMUglobal trip.”
Merfia worked with the De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU) during the four days spent in the German capital.
Around 40 students took part in an Activist Academy as part of the launch of DSU’s #NotOnMyCampus campaign.
The aim of the Activist Academy was to inspire students to be a force for positive change through workshops, craftivism and debate. It feeds into the work DMU is doing to support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, particularly goal 16, which promotes justice for all and the building of peaceful, inclusive societies. DMU has been chosen as a global hub for work to further this goal.
Merfia said: “I have a belief in myself and a belief that I can achieve thanks to this trip. So many of my friends at other universities are amazed by #DMUglobal and what it offers. There is no doubt it completely enhances your university experience.
“I want to personally thank Jessica Okwuono, Mollie Footitt from the DSU Exec. They were incredible and did everything they could to make it an amazing trip to Berlin.”
Posted on Friday 5th October 2018