Student escapes Sudan war to study a Master’s at the University of Warwick

Amin Elsheikh spent four months escaping the civil war in Sudan

A student at the University of Warwick escaped Sudan’s civil war to start his MBA at Warwick Business School.

Amin Elsheikh embarked on a four month journey, avoiding arrest and militia soldiers in order to flee the country.

He has now been granted a full scholarship to pursue his studies.

Civil war between Sudan’s military and a paramilitary group broke out in April 2023. Elsheikh, 27, was then forced to leave his home in the country’s capital, Khartoum.

As rebel militia soldiers blocked all routes out of the city, Elsheikh had no choice but to go through a dozen checkplints in order to escape.

At one point, Elsheikh’s bus driver had to swerve out of the way of gunfire. This journey resulted in a 15-hour cross-drive that arrived at the Ethiopian border, as passengers were afraid of being ambushed by rebel gangs.

“I feared for my life on that bus,” Elsheikh explained. “But I was helped by the place I had won at Warwick Business School. This gave me a sense of hope during the long 15-hour journey. A plan, and a goal to get to.”

Elsheikh had intially been scheduled to start his masters programme in September 2024. However, after the civil war broke out in April, Elsheikh describes how “the world in Sudan blew up”.

With the encouragement of his family, Elsheikh contacted Warwick Business School again.

The bus trip to the border. Image credits via. University of Warwick

“I managed to get to a safe region outside Khartoum and contact the School,” he says.

“The recruitment and leadership teams at WBS were really understanding and said I could bring forward my course entry. What’s more, due to the fact that I had lost access to the majority of my funds during the early days of the war, they topped up my scholarship.

“To provide me with a scholarship in my hour of need was a truly wonderful gesture.”

It took four months, but Amin Elsheikh arrived at Warwick campus on the 24th September 2023. The next day, he started his MBA.

This “overwhelming journey” took place over three different countries until Elsheikh found himself in the UK.

On his way here, Elsheikh was arrested and held for half a day because soldiers had found a few US dollars on him.

“My heart is still at home in Sudan, and I would love to return and help rebuild my country,” he says. “But with the war getting worse and the country on the verge of famine it is not safe to go back at the moment.

“In case I can’t return, I am exploring roles in the Middle East and Africa with a focus on social impact and empowering underprivileged communities.

“Millions are not as lucky, stuck in conflict zones or displaced with no clear future,” he says. “The situation is dire in Sudan. Some of my family remain in the country, and in recent weeks I have lost contact with them because the militia have decided to cut all communication networks in the areas they control.”

Cover image credit via. University of Warwick

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