As the 2023 cohort of Commonwealth Scholars prepare for their departure, the British Council hosted an interactive and informative Pre-departure Briefing at their library in Colombo to help scholars ensure a smooth transition to their respective university destinations in the UK. The briefing equipped the talented students with the tools and information that would enable them to have a well-rounded and positive experience in the UK.
The briefing was attended by the British Deputy High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Lisa Whanstall, Country Director of the British Council, Sri Lanka, Orlando Edwards, the departing cohort of scholars, and a diverse range of alumni scholars, led by the British Council’s Education Programmes Manager, HamziHaniff.
As part of the UK’s ongoing commitment to the Commonwealth, each year around 800 students globally are given the chance to undertake postgraduate degrees with UK universities. Commonwealth Scholarships are given to talented individuals with the potential to make a positive impact on the global stage and in their home country.
The British Deputy High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Lisa Whanstall said: “This is a really special year for the UK and Sri Lanka. It marks 75 years of our historic and bilateral relationship. The Commonwealth scholarships program is at the heart of what we do. It has impacted relationships between Commonwealth countries perhaps more so than any other Commonwealth initiative.”
The Country Director British Council, Orlando Edwards, said: “We’re delighted that over a period of 63 years, 1100 Sri Lankans have been selected to study in the UK. That’s a tremendous number. This scheme has continued to foster knowledge, cultural exchange, and international understanding for over six decades.
“We’re particularly pleased to have two women in STEM scholarship recipients this year. Their achievement stands as a testament to the strides we are making toward genderequity in the fields of science, technology, and engineering.”
This year’s cohort comprises 11 scholarship recipients in Sri Lanka pursuing diverse fields of study. At the Pre-departure Briefing, the cohort had the benefit of accessing resources and guidelines by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission. The session covered everything from settling in and adjusting to life in the UK to accommodation, managing finances, living safely, anti-discrimination policies, and personal safety.
Commonwealth Scholarships are funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) under six development themes that students may select. Sri Lanka has received the highest number of scholarships under the Shared Master’s Scholarship scheme this year.