Biniyam, from Ethiopia, studies at the University of Bristol, as part of the Ashinaga Africa Initiative (AAI). Every week, when he is not working towards his degree in Electrical Engineering, he hosts The Hello D African Music Show on student radio. We had the pleasure to interview him last month. Read our conversation below.
You are currently studying the STEM foundation course at Bristol University, in preparation for an Electrical Engineering course. What makes you feel passionate about STEM and Electrical Engineering, and how do you think it will help you achieve your goals?
The reason why I am currently reading a STEM course is because I love challenges and to equip myself with problem-solving abilities. Furthermore, I am passionate about contributing to solving the widespread electricity problems in Ethiopia. This is because I grow up in a community which lacks access to adequate sources of energy and the blackout of electricity significantly affected society. For instance, when I was in Grade 7, I wanted to prepare myself for the next day exams, but I couldn’t make it because the electricity went off. Since that time, I just started a feeling of how and when I can solve this problem? Therefore, I decided to major in Electrical and electronics to support my community by giving back what I am acquiring at the University of Bristol. The STEM course that I am doing currently is making me sharp in different areas for my major course Electrical and electronics engineering. I believe studying this course will enhance my problem-solving skills and be innovate in order to tackle the electricity blackout problems.
Are you enjoying studying in the UK? What have you learned from this experience so far?
I am pretty much enjoying so far. I really had a very hard time when first arrived in the UK, however, through the time I am getting used to it and feeling happy in every circumstance in the UK. To tell you the truth, the first few weeks were very difficult for me in terms of classes, weather. This experience thought me to be patient about any things and to develop resilience in hard times. Moreover, through facing many ups and downs alone now I am strong enough to lead myself without the Loading stone.
Recently, you started working for Bristol University Student Radio. Tell me more about this experience. What pushed you to start?
I started a Hello D African Music show on Burst Radio. This is because some of my classmates don’t really know much about Africa. Due to this, I just wanted to promote Africa to the rest of the world and the University of Bristol students. Most people think Africa like one country, but it is not. I think this is because of the lack of awareness about my continent Africa. As a young Africa, I must take part in representing my people here at the University of Bristol.
Through your show, you have interviewed many personalities from across the world. Was there one interview you are particularly proud of?
I think I don’t really have any preferences because all the people that I interviewed were very amazing. They were thoughtful and knowledgeable people from the four continents Europe, Northern America, Asia and Africa. I am proud of all the interviews that I did.
How is this experience helping you grow?
This opportunity is increasing my self-confidence and public speaking abilities. In addition to this, it is a way to improve my English skills also. On the other hand, I am teaching myself about the things that I don’t know about many African countries. This is because I must read and prepare myself about the 54 African countries for the show.
What are your plans for after graduation?
I have clear plans that I want to do after my graduation. However, these plans might change throughout time, but I want to take part in contributing to my community. Before that, I want to have work experience here in the UK or somewhere else. After three or four years, I want to go back to Ethiopia to teach, research and launch a small company which will work in electricity problems.
Finally, I want to say thank you for your time and I want to close with my quote |One African for whole Africans|. If anyone wants to participate in the show, please feel free and you don’t have to be African to speak about Africa.
We are very proud of hearing about Biniyam’s achievements at university. Coming up with the concept of the radio show, and hosting it each week, is an example of how Biniyam identifies a way to benefit a community and acts on it.