Why did you choose your course at the University of Birmingham?

Having done most of my studies in a traditional seminary setting, I was looking for a programme that would help me continue in an environment that I am familiar with, which would aid in an easy transition, and also give me the option to engage with new modules that broaden the horizon of my research. I found the perfect programme at the University of Birmingham in collaboration with the Al Mahdi Institute.

What has been the highlight of your course?

All my modules have been excellent in that they have helped me in exhausting all avenues of research, and in also tailoring my approach and not limiting it to looking at the subject from only one lens. One of the main attractions, given my subject of interest, is the Mingana Collection of Middle Eastern manuscripts, held by the University’s Cadbury Research Library, which houses the famous Birmingham Quran manuscript. Having access to the manuscripts in this collection and dealing with the pleasant people there, who are always ready to help and guide, has been the highlight of the course.

What have you learnt from your programme?

One of the skills I was looking forward to developing was academic writing at a graduate level. This would help me prepare for writing, researching, and publishing works which are more thorough and scholarly. The College of Arts and Law Academic Writing Advisory Service offers help and support in this regard and has more to offer when it comes to academic skill support for students. As I plan to pursue my education in Islamic Studies, the skills I have gathered here will greatly benefit me in learning and teaching in various places and positions.

What is life like as a student at the University of Birmingham?

My visa was delayed, resulting in me arriving in the second week of school. I had missed the welcome week and while most students were adjusting with the new environment, I felt very overwhelmed. But looking at all the students around me, with their go-get attitude, got me moving and slowly but surely, I found my feet. The Student Rep were a great deal of help and my professors also having understood my circumstances made it very easy for me to get in the flow of things. Once I was settled, then it was time to explore the full potential of what the University of Birmingham had to offer.

What have you enjoyed most about living and studying in Birmingham?

Equality, Diversity, and Inclusivity. This city, for an international student, may feel foreign, but I most certainly did not feel like an alien. To blend into the vibrant culture of this beautiful and in certain places ‘cosy’ city, was very easy. Commuting to and from the University was pleasant because at the times that you have classes, students are spilling out their respective abodes and all make their way to their lectures/seminars or library, you cannot but help to feel a part of something big.

How has your course and your time studying at the University of Birmingham prepared you for your future career?

Most of my knowledge I would say was theoretical in that I was living in a bubble of sorts, where most of my time was spent in the seminary in a Muslim country. Coming to the University of Birmingham has helped me integrate and learn a great from people from different backgrounds and cultures. I have now experienced, first-hand, life as a Muslim in the UK which has also given me the chance to learn from people’s lived experience. This exposure should help me a great deal when revisiting tradition and finding relevance and a connection to the here and now.