Name: Eric Kimathi, PhD Research Fellow
Applying for the position of: Secretary
Name of department: Sociology and Social Work
While reflecting on why I wish to apply for this position, I remembered the excitement, uncertainties and fears that crossed my mind when I finally decided I was moving to Kristiansand. It started with a challenge finding a house since SIA had rejected my application late in June. I had other worries about leaving Oslo, finding friends, coping with a new work place etc. This is the story of many doctoral colleagues unlike the bachelor and master students who have two weeks of orientation famously known as “Faddderuke”. Having to rely on myself during those early days me realise that a solution was urgently needed. The solution is UiA-doc.
We are privileged to be working at UIA at a time when the university’s focus on internationalization and diversity is gaining momentum. Sooner rather than later, we will have more PhDs and Post-docs joining from Norway and abroad. Having lived and studied in four countries gives some context to understand our common challenges, including but not limited to language, housing, immigration, academic supervision, loneliness, integration etc. We therefore need to consolidate our pool of talents, cultures and experiences through UiAdoc to seek for solutions to these challenges and shape our common future.
In the recent months, I have been part of the UiAdoc interim board working with very passionate colleagues to make this a reality. Besides, I have had other leadership experiences. Here in Norway, I served as the leader of international students at Oslo Metropolitan University, and later joined the International Student’s Union of Norway (ISU-Norway) as a vice president and National president in 2016-2017, 2017-2018 respectively. Besides, I served in the international committee of the Norwegian Student Organisation (NSO) in the spring of 2018.
In the Autumn of 2017, I led 400 students from Oslo to visit the Mayor of Oslo at the city hall where we gave our recommendations on how to make Oslo a better city for international students. Moreover, in May 2018, I was part of the ISU team that organised a national demonstration at the parliament building in Oslo (stortinget) together with other student organizations and ISU delegates from 27 institutions of higher learning in Norway, to campaign against 65% increase in international student visa fees.
These assignments and experiences have prepared me well for the responsibilities of UiAdoc secretary such as communication, record keeping and mobilizing people to achieve a common objective.
Uiadoc is indeed an initiative whose time has come. Let’s make it happen!