Forging bonds that defy borders: Oxford MGHL beyond borders, connecting and reconnecting to sustain friendships – insights from a current student
12 February 2024
Global perspective Students Teaching
Students from our courses have diverse and interesting backgrounds. Olukayode Fasominu shares his insights on how his quest for making real change, and joining the MSc in Global Healthcare Leadership course has served to help him to connect and make friendships along the way.
About the author - Olukayode Fasominu is a Public Health Physician & Management Consultant. He is currently a student on the MSc in Global Healthcare Leadership course, jointly run by the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences and the Saïd Business School. He currently serves as Principal at Volte Health where he spearheads engagements across Africa. He is a graduate of the University of Ibadan and Cardiff University, he enjoys football and making scholarly contributions.
We are more connected than we think. Our values, when combined, have the power to create massive change. And for organisations or teams to truly thrive, it's crucial to invest in our social connections. That's where social meets and gatherings come in!
The University of Oxford is a pioneer in this regard, leading the charge with a groundbreaking program aimed at nurturing leaders who understand the importance of building strong connections, leveraging diverse expertise to address pressing healthcare challenges in a dynamic, uncertain world. Meet the second cohort of the Oxford MGHL program – a diverse group of 39 exceptional leaders from 23 different countries. Talk about talent overload!
As Module 2 of the program wrapped up in early December 2023, we bid farewell after an intense session diving into the ins and outs of organisational leadership. But as the holiday season approached, something magical happened. In addition to pencilling in family time, our cohort made intentional attempts at taking connection to the next level.
From cozy coffee meetups to basking in the desert sun, from sipping wine in picturesque vineyards to sharing snowy family photos, and even enjoying sunny beach days – we did it all! And let me tell you, it wasn't just about fun and games. These meetups were about deepening our bonds, transcending geographical boundaries, and forming connections that feel as strong as covalent bonds.
So, join me as I take you through these incredible meetups – because when it comes to building strong relationships, distance is just a number!
1. The Kenyan Maasai Warriors –
Welcome to Kenya, in Eastern Africa, where adventure awaits at every turn! Here, towering mountains, vast savannas teeming with wildlife, and the courageous Maasai warriors (guarding their ancestral lands) are some of the experiences waiting to be explored. But that's not all – this region is also home to some of the most stunning beaches you'll ever lay eyes on! Now, let me tell you about our recent escapade. Imagine three fresh-faced Maasai warriors, recently recruited and ready for action, gathering in the vibrant city of Nairobi. What were they up to, you ask? Well, they were kicking back with a few drinks, cheering on their favourite football teams, and, of course, brainstorming for their upcoming module 2 assessments.
But hold up – why were these newly recruited Maasai warriors in Nairobi instead of their usual stomping grounds in the game reserves? Well, rumour has it that these guys were a tad too fancy for their fellow tribesmen, earning them a temporary banishment from their traditional homes. But hey, who needs the savanna when you've got the buzz of the city, right? Despite their exile, our courageous trio made the most of their time, soaking in the sights and sounds of Nairobi's bustling streets.
So, whether you're scaling the heights of Kilimanjaro, embarking on a safari adventure, or simply kicking back with friends, Nairobi never fails to deliver excitement, laughter, and unforgettable memories. Come join the fun – the Maasai way!
2. The Springboks –
The South Africa national rugby union team, also known as the Springboks, isn't just any team – they're the reigning Rugby World Cup Champions! And as they say, luck favours the prepared.
The African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) conference was held in the vibrant city of Cape Town. Among the attendees were our very own “amateur” Springboks, ready to tackle the challenges of both work and play – “hooking” and “scrumming”. After days of insightful discussions and presentations at the ASLM, it was time to hit the vineyards and take in the breathtaking views of Cape Town's iconic flat-topped mountains. Now, as someone who loves to travel, Cape Town has always held a special place in my heart. So, while I may have been a tad envious, it was pure joy to see my colleagues unwinding in such a beautiful setting. From savouring every drop of wine to burning off those calories on scenic hikes, they truly embraced the spirit of adventure. And let's not forget basking in the warm glow of the South African sun – a welcome change from the cold snap in the previous month while in Oxford!
So, here's to finding the perfect balance between work and play, and to creating memories that will last a lifetime. Go “amateur” Springboks!
L-R - Dries-Amanda-Felix
L-R - Dries-Felix
3. Golden meetup at the “peninsula of gold” –
Malaysia - the land of golden opportunities! Before it was known by this vibrant name, a legendary Greco-Roman geographer named Ptolemy gave it the enchanting title of Aurea Chersonesus, which translates to "peninsula of gold." And trust me, this country is pure gold when it comes to culture and diversity!
Imagine diving into a melting pot of traditions, flavours, and colours unlike anywhere else in the world. From bustling street markets to serene tea plantations, Malaysia is a feast for the senses. Now, let me take you on a journey through this enchanting land, wandering through the lively streets of Kuala Lumpur, where towering skyscrapers stand side by side with historic temples. The energy is electric, and there's always something new to discover around every corner. But Malaysia isn't just about city life – oh no! Head to the lush rainforests of Borneo, where you can come face to face with orangutans swinging through the trees. Or how about lounging on the pristine beaches of Langkawi, with crystal-clear waters lapping at your feet? And let's not forget about the food – oh, the glorious food! From mouthwatering satay skewers to fragrant bowls of laksa, Malaysian cuisine is a true melting pot of flavours. And the best part? You can feast like royalty without breaking the bank.
In all the fun and flurry of wild food flavours, and enchanting forests, our able Oxford MGHL and honorary cohort members were found nested in this bustling city and taking it all in!
Malaysia promises an unforgettable experience at every turn. Welcome to the land of Aurea Chersonesus – where every moment shines bright with possibility!
L-R - Laith (honorary oxonian)- Farah-Chiak
4. The Emirati connect –
Dubai – the city that needs no introduction! Seriously, just the mention of Dubai evokes images of opulence, innovation, and endless possibilities. But did you know that this dazzling metropolis has humble beginnings as a simple fishing village back in the 18th century?
Fast forward to today, and Dubai has transformed into a cosmopolitan hub, brimming with luxury shopping, and cutting-edge architecture. It's the epitome of extravagance, boasting the second-highest number of five-star hotels worldwide and proudly standing as the home of the tallest building on the planet – the awe-inspiring Burj Khalifa, reaching a staggering height of 828 meters (2,717 feet).
But beyond the glitz and glam, there's a side to Dubai that's all about relaxation and soaking up the sun. Four of our Oxford MGHL colleagues took advantage of this by kicking back on the beach, coffee cups in hand, and enjoying every moment of the holidays. And here's a fun tidbit for you – one of them happens to be a coffee aficionado and expert barista! Can you guess who? (Hint: check out the picture for a clue!).
So, whether you're exploring the futuristic cityscape, indulging in a shopping spree fit for royalty, or simply lounging on the beach with friends, Dubai promises an unforgettable experience that's as diverse as its skyline. Welcome to the city where dreams come to life – Dubai awaits!
L- R - Isra-Umair- Karim
5. The Yankees –
Welcome to the Big Apple, where dreams are as big as skyscrapers and the energy is electrifying! As our Oxford MGHL students touched down in New York City, they found themselves swept up in a whirlwind of excitement and possibilities.
But hold on to your Yankee hats, because this meet-up wasn't just your average gathering – oh no! Inspired by the Yankee spirit, our adventurous crew dove headfirst into the vibrant streets of NYC, ready to conquer every corner of this iconic city – embracing the hustle and bustle of city life with open arms. Amidst the bright lights and towering skyscrapers, there was one thing that truly stood out – the bond of friendship, warmth, uninhibited laughter, and camaraderie among our Oxford crew. Whether they were exploring Times Square or sharing stories over a cup of coffee, their laughter echoed through the streets, reminding us that no matter where we come from, we're all part of one big, adventurous MGHL family.
Here's to our Oxford MGHL colleagues – embracing the Yankee spirit and creating memories that will last a lifetime in the city that never sleeps and where every moment is a new adventure waiting to unfold!
L-R - Jose-Lana-Joseph
As we go about our daily lives, it is imperative to seek parity between work and fun – this is evident in this group. Achieving work-life balance is doable.
These connections would not have been possible without the Oxford MGHL global programme. We have become a family and we look forward to creating more memories, while making collective impact that improve health outcomes in our various endeavours.
Author - Olukayode Fasominu
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