An A* student selected as a ‘future leader’ has had to appeal for help for funding to attend a prestigious south west London university.
An eye-watering £37,500 tuition fee stands in the way of Arinze David Nwanna taking up his master’s offer at the Imperial College Business School in South Kensington.
The 21-year-old set up a GoFundMe page to help pay the fees, despite being on track to achieve a top honours in Chemical Engineering at UCL and receiving a summer internship with J.P. Morgan.
But the east London resident remains hopeful, having faced much greater life challenges and setbacks.
Arinze said: “I’m growing bored of people telling me I can’t do something, it just motivates me more to prove them wrong.
“At my school they were used to failing, there was a lot of knife and gun violence.
“A lot of what limited me were the voices around me saying that you can’t, half the time it’s the closest around you who will tell you that.
“That’s what I went through when I was young, but I learnt to live above that.
“I’ve gone through a lot of failure and hardship that have taught me many skills and principles that people may not understand from having life easy.”
At the age of five, Arinze, his three siblings and mother migrated from Nigeria to London, where they lived in poverty and came close to homelessness.
Arinze added: “This room I’m in now is probably bigger than what we lived in with the five of us, and then my grandma who came later.
“So everyone was on the floor and my grandma was on the bed, or if my mum was tired from work she’d stay on the bed.”
Being the youngest, he was the last to go to school after arriving in the UK, missing out on one and a half years of education because of their unstable living situations.
Furthermore, during GCSEs he was exposed to violence and gang culture, experiencing the death of a close friend from a stabbing.
Despite this, Arinze defied the odds set out against him.
He featured on Future Leaders magazine’s 2019 list of 150 most outstanding African and African Caribbean students and new graduates in the UK.
His hopes are now set on studying Financial Technology (FinTech) at Imperial in order to enter the finance sector.
Arinze also mentors students from similar backgrounds, hoping to inspire young people like himself to achieve their potential.
Despite childhood struggles he said these experiences made him who he is today and he would never change that.
Arinze funded his undergraduate degree through loans as well as a side career in music.
Having self-taught himself the piano as a teenager, he made money gigging in London and performing with international gospel stars.
He is now appealing for £54,500 to fund his further studies.
On top of tuition fees, he also needs £12,000 for accommodation and £5,000 for living expenses and has until July to raise the funds before the course starts in September.
Photo credits to Arinze Nwanna