It is my goal to involve like-minded parties to create a joint scholarship program which will provide the brightest minds of the future from every country in the world with an opportunity to further their studies in the best institutions. This collective venture will award scholarships to the future heads of industries based solely on merit and hone the skills required for leadership and governance. Throughout my tenure as Ambassador and beyond, I intend to meet and connect with a diverse community of peers and academia who share my vision, in the hope that the great minds of the current and subsequent generations can make our world better.

The IELTS Prize provides me with the potential opportunity to work with managing bodies which have a presence globally. In addition, a lucrative aspect of the Prize is the lack of requirement of national examination papers, income bracket of household, or one’s ethnicity for its applicants, which almost all other scholarship and sponsorship-awarding bodies require. This alludes to the fact that the traits of the recipients of the Prize that matter most to the Prize committee are merit and personal character, both of which are within the control of the Prize recipients. It was indeed a very straightforward application and interviewing process. Surprisingly, I felt that I had learned more about myself and my goal direction after the interview and subsequent discussion with the panel of interviewers. I enjoyed the entire journey.

From my understanding, the British Council has close ties with many educational institutions, including the College where I studied as I took the IELTS test. Through arrangements with our IELTS teachers, we decided that sitting for the papers through the British Council would be the best choice. Given the pristine reputation of the British Council, I felt assured that the IELTS testing process would be managed well by this organisation. The application process for the tests was effortless, and I could focus solely on the test with ease of mind. The arrangements made for the test and the subsequent results were handled efficiently with no delays. All in all, the experience was a fuss-free one.

Browsing through the admission section of various university websites showed that proficiency in the English language was always a requirement. Looking in detail, the most common metric for assessing this linguistic skill was the IELTS band scores. Intending to be accepted into the top universities of the world, I wanted to take as little risk as possible and so chose the series of tests which were among the most widely accepted and the most convenient to sit for, based on the test dates available.

In the lecture hall, the English language is crucial for the subjects Mathematics and Economics, where complex jargon must be understood and then utilised in mathematical equations for economic modelling. With high English standards a pre-requisite, it is comforting to know that my university studies will not be hampered by any language barrier.

On a personal level, I feel relieved knowing that with such stringent language proficiency standards, I will be better in conversing with peers from all walks of life, which will in turns allow for a greater sharing of ideas and the heightened ability to brainstorm to create something new, together.

Two habits of mine which helped tremendously in the test are reading from a variety of sources and often conversing with others. The IELTS test will assess your ability to interpret and infer material, to think analytically, and to speak with confidence. The most challenging portion of the test for me was the writing component as I had little experience in analytical writing, but visualising the questions as verbal presentations allowed me to answer the questions to a satisfactory degree.

For some, the speaking component may be difficult due to a lack of experience in English conversation with peers. A practical method of improving this would be to talk to different people, even acquaintances, to get firsthand exposure. Most importantly, love the process! As difficult as it may be, understanding English to a high level is a skill which will pay dividends in your personal and professional life.