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News Asylum seeker finds a home at Staffordshire University

A student who came to the UK seeking a new life has graduated with a first-class degree from Staffordshire University.

Ngock Valerie graduated with first class honours
Image: Ngock Valerie graduated with first class honours

The lecturers have been fantastic because they knew I wanted to work hard and always supported and listened to me.

Ngock Valerie, BA (Hons) Terrorism and Criminology

Ngock Valerie, 37 from Sneyd Green, took asylum in Stoke-on-Trent in 2013 after fleeing conflict in his home country Cameroon. Two years later, he was granted leave to remain in the UK and decided to pursue a fresh start at university.

“I read a lot about Staffordshire online, I had a few chats with graduates, and they all spoke positively about the university so that’s what made up my mind.” He explained.

“I went into university not knowing exactly what I was doing but I’m coming out as very changed person. During three years at uni, I’ve learned a lot.”

Before coming to the UK, Ngock spoke little English but he quickly picked up the language and impressed lecturers with his hard work and near perfect attendance on the BA (Hons) Terrorism and Criminology course.

However, Ngock didn’t have the smoothest start to his degree and failed his very first assignment, achieving just 19%. Ngock was encouraged to seek support from the Academic Skills team and achieved 60% after re-submitting his assignment - and never had a lower grade throughout his degree.

“The lecturers have been fantastic because they knew I wanted to work hard and always supported and listened to me.

“I said, I need to challenge myself and the staff are there to help me. The Academic Skills team became my friends because I spent so much time there!”

After graduating with first-class honors, Ngock plans to stay at Staffordshire University do a Master’s before pursuing a career.

He said: “I’m really happy, really chuffed! Staffordshire University has molded me enough to confront professional in life in any career available to me, so I think I’ll be doing well.

“Especially with graduating with a first-class, I think employers might be impressed with my CV so I'm hoping to give the best of what I've learnt at Staffordshire University.”

Ngock’s ultimate goal is to become an immigration officer or to work in counter-terrorism with the police.

“I’m grateful to Great Britain for giving me that opportunity to be safe in this country and protecting me since I came to this country. I’ve really been accepted in Stoke, I have felt welcomed and the hospitality has been fantastic.”

He added: “Once again, I thank Staffordshire University for molding me and making sure I am ripe and ready for a professional career – something that I'm really looking forward to. If anyone hears my story and is inspired to go to university then I will be really happy.”

Find out you are eligible for an offer through Clearing by using our offer calculator, have a ‘live chat’ with Clearing experts at or call our Clearing hotline on 0800 590 830.

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