More about Syed
Why did you choose to study abroad, and what made you choose NTU?
“I always felt that studying abroad and being exposed to new ideas would broaden my horizons, and indeed it has. I’ve changed as a person in many ways in my last two years studying here, and most changes have been extremely positive. I am open to new prospects and don’t believe in a comfort zone anymore. NTU had the perfect modules for the joint honours degree in history and politics, and it also offered the perfect environment for international students. I’ve always felt at home at NTU.”
How did you feel about coming to a UK university?
“I was always fascinated by the prospect of studying in the UK. I’m a huge fan of British pop culture, and that may have acted as a significant push for me to come to the UK. Most cities in the UK have a very cosmopolitan and multicultural outlook, so I was sure I’d never feel left out or isolated.”
Is there anything that stood out on your course, that wasn’t offered anywhere else you applied?
“One of my modules offered the opportunity to work within heritage organisations and museums, and you don’t get that option frequently in an undergraduate history module.”
What modules have you particularly enjoyed?
“I thoroughly enjoyed all my modules, especially as I’ve been picking them myself for my second and third year. In my first year, the ‘Foundations and Challenges to Politics and International Relations’ module was one of the most exciting modules I did at NTU. I think it was down to the fact I had great lecturers including Dr Rick Simon and Dr Christopher Baker-Beall. Their teaching methods were exemplary and made the module even more enthralling.”
How does the way you study at NTU differ from your previous experience of studying?
“Everything is more advanced, cutting-edge, and just different in general to my previous experience studying back in my senior secondary school in India.”
What do you think about the facilities available to you?
“We have amazing facilities on campus. Being on the society committee, I also use the multimedia rooms for society meetings and such. I love how our library offers silent study and group study rooms. There are also vending machines and comfortable furniture in almost every building. The IT rooms are a huge respite, as I don’t like to carry my laptop all the time.”
How do you feel that you have grown personally as well as academically at NTU?
“I feel that being at NTU has helped me become a more decisive person. I love how NTU has an amazing awareness team for student wellbeing and that really helped a lot. I’m more confident about my work, and know how to present my ideas eloquently in a professional setting.”
When you first came, did you feel welcomed?
“Being an international student, I had to deal with some issues regarding visa applications in my home country, so I arrived a bit late and missed out on Welcome Week. However, I always felt welcome and supported by student services and the international office. I am still very good friends with all the people I met on the very first day of lectures. I have taken part and represented my own society committees in the subsequent years during Welcome Week and it has always been a wonderful experience.”
In what way are you supported by the academic staff in your faculty?
“The academic staff have been very encouraging. They made us aware of the facilities offered, ranging from library resources to the distinguished lecture series, and various events throughout the year. I have always been to the lecturers’ drop-in sessions during office hours, and they were of immense help, answering queries on assignment-related issues as well as general queries.”
What do you enjoy most about living in Nottingham?
“I have loved Nottingham since the very first day. As someone who grew up in big cities in the Middle East and India, I was always fascinated with the idea of living in a calm and quaint middle-sized city, yet still offering all the comfort and lifestyle of a big city. I found Nottingham to be the perfect town that offered me a scenic landscape along with an amazing town centre with loads to do.”
What has been your greatest achievement as an NTU student?
“Volunteering to go out to schools and teach primary kids how to debate has been a fulfilling experience for me. Since then, I’ve led the same project this year, while also being on three society committees. This has given me a sense of responsibility and achievement.
“In addition, one of my history modules has allowed me to be involved in a group project to help set up a Holocaust Memorial Day programme. I never thought I’d be able to do this, and I feel very honoured to be undertaking research on a project that is all about paying our tributes to the victims and survivors.”