Last week we told you everything you need to know about the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust (OMT) Scholarship scheme administered by Career Wise. Now that you know more about this prestigious scholarship, we’d like to introduce you to one of the many fantastic students who benefitted from the OMT scholarship and tell you about her academic journey and career aspirations.
Name: Bonolo Ntlatleng
Tertiary Institution: UCT
Course of study: B Social Science – Economics, Politics & International Relations; Honours – International Relations
Tell us a little bit about your background:
I grew up in Kagiso with my late aunt and then moved to Midrand at age 6 and lived with my mom. I attended Halfway House Primary School, which I didn’t enjoy very much and then got a scholarship to go to the American International School in Johannesburg. I enjoyed high school and it was during that time that the trajectory of my life changed because I was exposed to different people and to different ways of thinking. When I was younger, I always wanted to be a plastic surgeon but when I found out how long it takes to actually become a plastic surgeon, I decided it wasn’t for me!
Why did you choose your particular institution and course of study?
It was more by circumstance that I ended up at UCT because it was one of the only universities that would accept my Grade 12 certificate from the American International School where we followed a different curriculum. I’ve always been interested in the relationship between politics and economics so I initially decided to do a B Social Science PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economics) but then I didn’t really enjoy philosophy so I switched to International Relations, which I found more relevant.
What was the highlight of your university career?
Getting a scholarship was a highlight because I wouldn’t have had the same experience at university without funding. Also, the people I met and the friends I made. Relationships were a very important part of my university career.
What are you currently doing?
I’ve just finished a short-term contract at the Career Wise offices and I will shortly be starting an internship with a local risk consultancy, which is a field I’ve also been interested in.
What are your medium – and long-term career goals?
I’d be lying if I said I know exactly what I want to do in the medium and long term. My goals change constantly and for now I’m just trying to make sure I learn as much as possible during my internship and then possibly apply for different roles within the company. I do know that in the end I want to have a job that is stimulating, that I learn a lot from, which allows me to do different things, and also allows me to travel. How I’m going to get there I don’t know yet but I do know that’s what I want.
What was the best aspect of being an OMT scholar?
OMT is a very generous scholarship and the sponsors don’t micro manage you; they put much less pressure on the scholars compared to the other bursary schemes. OMT realises that you are a person and not just there to get good results. They obviously want you to do well and they provide a lot of support but they don’t put extra pressure because university presents enough challenges as it is. They also sponsored my honours, which not a lot of scholarships do.