Dear Rafikis,

I’m so excited to finally be done with second year of law school. I thought it would be nice to share some tips that got me through the past two years. I know it’s almost Uni season and some of you may be looking into joining Universities in the UK too. Below are 10 tips you should know.

1. Embrace your Kenyan Identity

Instead of trying to be so western embrace your Kenyan identity (whatever that may mean to you). Your identity will be questioned at Uni . This is because you will be exposed to other people who still hold on tight to their culture. It will make you wish you learned your mother tongue or even at the most just polished your Swahili.

“So, here you are too foreign for home too foreign for here. Never enough for both. ” Diaspora Blues – Ijeoma Umebinyuo 


2. Brace yourself for British weather

British weather is something else, over the winter, it gets dark at 4pm. It also seems to be cold all through the year albeit at it’s best you may catch two weeks of summer. You will truly appreciate and understand why Nairobi is called the city under the sun.

3. Chicken and chips shops

The chicken is just not the same, it does not taste as spicy or as authentic as it does back home but your body will adjust to it. In fact some nights your body will learn to have sleep for dinner. However, some chicken and chips shop and Nandos may comfort you on bland days.

4. Do not convert money

Do not dare to convert money. Once in England think of your currency as a pound and not a shilling. My friend if you continue to convert the price of milk and bread at Sainsbury’s you will go hungry.

5. Casual work

Work if you can, take advantage of the opportunity. Whether or not it is to raise extra pocket-money , to travel or even to invest. You will have a lot of free time , if you can work go for it. It doesn’t not make you less cool ! Also class status is real but do not allow it to consume you.

6. Thick skin

You will need to grow thick skin. Some people may have not interacted with a person like you prior to joining university. They may make ignorant and racist comments knowing or unknowingly. Stay strong and always remember your worth.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the moon and the stars. You have a right to be here- Desidarata 

7. Take care of your mental

Take some down time to care for your mental. Chances are high that some times you will feel crappy. In such instances you need an outlet , whether it involves ranting to your mum on the phone, crying in the shower or taking a trip to the beach or the cinema. Do it! Then snap out of it, you cannot drown in your sorrows. However I am aware Depression is a real thing ,  therefore if you feel like you cannot overcome the emotions, speak to someone. Ask for help.

8. Build an army

You need a support system consisting of friends and family mainly friends there with you. Pursuing a law degree is hard and I truly believe that success is only possible when people support each other together.You cannot do it alone no matter how smart you think you are, you need other people to help you. Don’t play yourself by isolating yourself, keep people close to you

9. Diversify your circle

Interact with people from different cultures, at the end of the day if all you wanted was to hang around Kenyans you should have stayed in Nairobi. Some of my closest friends are from different parts of the globe. Do not isolate yourself to just Kenyans but also do not isolate yourself from them. Trust me on your lowest days they will be the ones to uplift you.

10. Privacy

Keep your love life, income and next move private (this doesn’t just apply to international students) especially since the Kenyan circle here is small! You do not need to have everyone involved in your business, trust me! Remember that  moments and movements still happen even though we don’t post them on the gram.

Until next time, Rafikis



  1. Joe
    September 29, 2017 / 10:55 am

    Sound advise, Thank you for looking out.

Leave a Reply