Elijah is capable of great academic results. He has already demonstrated this during his first term at IHM when his hard work earned him a “Distinction” grade in his BTEC Level 3 Sub Diploma in Sport Performance. He is used to working hard at school and is driven by the excellent grades that he can achieve. We feel he thrives in this environment. So, it was great to hear him reaffirm that he felt the teachers and coaches at IHM were pushing him to the max.

“All the teachers and coaches always push us to the max. They expect the best from us.”

Elijah took the initiative when looking for a suitable football academy, post school back in Nairobi. He made the first contact with Director Peter Hayes and was an active participant in the Skype meetings with Peter and his parents that followed on. Clearly, deciding where to study at age 17 years is a big step with implications for your academic and professional future. However, being able to schedule multiple Skype meetings with Peter and his parents was a key factor to allow Elijah and his family come to the right conclusions. Everything is different when you attend school in another country. You are far from home and so many things are unknown; how will you live, who will help look after you, what about public transport system, how do we open a bank account? By chatting with Peter over an extended period of time Elijah and family were able to gradually visualise how this adventure would develop. Further down the line Elijah and family were able to make contact with Elijah’s home stay provider in Manchester. As they learnt more about the host’s neighbourhood, way of life, home facilities and got to know and like the people who would be looking after Elijah in this far away destination, they became more comfortable about their choice of study destination.

“It just seemed like a friendly environment and one I could grow in and that’s what drew me here (to IHM).”

3 students; two boys and a girls proudly display their exam certificates in which they all achieved the top grade of Distinction

Eljah has settled into the football training schedule and has become a good listener when it comes to the feedback he receives daily from his football coaches. After training he will often go onto the gym where he can work on the specific areas highlighted to him by the IHM football coaching team.

“Everyone is really kind and outgoing and they want the best for you. It’s just a really nice experience.”

The feedback that Elijah gets from his coaches include his personal strengths, so that he becomes more aware of the particular things he does well. However, coaches will also identify areas for improvement and provide guidance as to how he can work on those to become a better player. Strength and conditioning work in the gym is a common goal for the young players at IHM as they adjust to the need for upper body strength to maintain their advantage against an opponent on the ball.

But, as IHM puts equal importance on academic performance as it does on performance on the football pitch, it is great to see that Elijah has grasped the need for all players to have a Plan B, should a career in football elude them or their playing career come to a sudden end due to illness or injury. He thoroughly enjoys the BTEC in Sport Performance and is relishing the chance to revisit the topics covered in the Sub Dip in more detail this term.

Looking to the future Elijah wants to find a pro club, he will be attending the IHM Showcase Event on Wednesday 17 April in Manchester, but failing that he is committed to the Sport Science route to a career that would allow him to work in professional football.

And finally, Elijah talks fondly about his home stay hosts, Marion, Steve and their daughter Helen, the Manchester family with whom he is staying as he completes his course:

“They are all really kind, they always check up on us. It’s not like I’m away from home, its like my 2nd family here in the UK”