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Total fuels students' future

Friday, September 27, 2019

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FRENCH petroleum-marketing company, Total Jamaica, last Tuesday committed its continuation of providing opportunities for Jamaican youngsters, after presenting first-year University of the West Indies (UWI) students, Shemar Findley and Anatassia Balfour, with 6,000-euro scholarships to study in France for a year.
Christopher Okonmah, managing director of Total Jamaica, hosted the students at a Devon House send-off luncheon, handing them bursaries to start their second year of studies at the Bordeaux Institute of Political Studies, Sciences Po Bordeaux, in Bordeaux, France.
It was Total Jamaica's fifth year presenting two Jamaican students with scholarships to fund their second year of pursuing a five-year programme, leading to a master's degree in political science and international cooperation.
“Total Jamaica is committed to sustain the scholarships. We partner with the university and students who can best represent the country by continuing to excel academically,” said Okonmah.
“We are constantly giving back to the society and environment in which we operate. We make these investments anywhere we operate, not only in Jamaica. The youths, they are the future leaders of tomorrow,” he added.
Findley, 20, and Balfour, 19, departed the island on Friday, excited and grateful to be recipients of the scholarships, which will fully fund their second-year studies in France as they seek to pursue careers in international relations.
The five-year programme is a tripartite student-exchange involving Sciences Po Bordeaux, partnering with UWI, Mona, and University des Antilles, Martinique.
Findley and Balfour, both fluent in French, hope to complete their third year in Martinique before heading back to Sciences Po Bordeaux and UWI, Mona, for years four and five, respectively.
Balfour, who left Merl Grove High School as head girl, 2017-18, and captain of her school's hockey team, said she was briefed by previous Total scholarship recipients about what to expect in France.
“They were pretty honest. They spoke about their experiences, the methodology of how we write our papers as opposed to how it is done there, the grading, and the whole adjustment period, but they did say they had a wonderful time,” she pointed out, adding that her greatest challenge could be leaving the nest, “living on my own, being separated from my family, adjusting to a new environment, climate and culture.”
However, Findley said that would be the least of his worries, being accustomed to being away from home.
“I haven't lived with mom for about five years now so being away from home is something I have grown used to. In addition, having learnt so many languages, it opens your mind to different societies,” added the St Jago High graduate, who, in addition to French, is also fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, as well as being “advanced in German, Italian and Korean”.


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