An international student perspective…

It all started with my parents giving me a name with ancient mythical roots. Contrasting to Shakespeare’s acclaimed “what’s in a name” quote, my not-so-common name prompted me to find its meaning and mythological connections. Hailing from India, a country with deep spiritual and mythological literature, I always tried to justify the ancient epics and mythical creatures using modern biological science.

Passion for Research

That was 13-year-old me… always trying to learn new things. I never resonated with the stereotypical path of earning money to get satisfaction. Questions about my true self and the purpose of my existence were rising deep within.

These questions led me to spirituality, which led me to question everything and find the reasoning behind things. Questions of “why” and “how” stuck in my head and I feel as if they are driving forces for me. This questioning pushed me towards research. This hunger for discovering new things with the sole aim of spreading knowledge is what drove me to pursue a bachelors in Biotechnology.

I built a strong fascination for understanding the fundamentals of life in my undergraduate degree, through learning about molecular and cellular Biology from pioneers like Alberts and Lodish. Moreover the foremost professors in my BSc degree were immunologist and microbiologists, hence I loved discussing the deeper fundamental questions. I feel that’s how my interest for researching in this field has blossomed.

The main reason for choosing the UK for my higher studies was it being a major world hub for biosciences. I also wanted to be in a diverse environment that would challenge me and energize my creativity and motivation.

Choosing Birmingham

Looking back, I believe that Birmingham was always meant to be my destination for higher studies. When I came across the University of Birmingham, I was in awe of the 250-acre campus. The tall standing red buildings, enormous Old Joe and the green heart really caught my attention. Also as a fitness enthusiast, UoB sport seemed like the perfect place to take time off studying and help me work towards a healthier lifestyle.

Our very own Old Joe and the green heart!

Upon researching about my course interests, I found a degree that seemed tailor made for me.

As I lived in a different country I had only seen the entire campus through YouTube videos. Online open days were perfect for getting myself and my family acquainted with the University and they also gave me the chance to talk with academic staff. A MSc at Birmingham would continue to grow my research knowledge whilst involving me with globally impacted research. Everything just seemed to fit right into place.

I have always wanted to pursue a PhD in Molecular and Genetic sciences after my Masters and the research centres and funding opportunities here aligned well with my long term goals. The facilities at the biosciences building and the upcoming new molecular and cellular sciences building furthered my excitement for pursuing a PhD. This all helped finalise my decision for choosing UoB as my destination for further studies.

I loved the diverse and dynamic atmosphere present at Birmingham. Students can get involved in non-academic activities and gain essential transferable skills.

Looking back

Looking back now I strongly believe that it is the grace of God that gave me this life-changing opportunity to study at a prestigious university like Birmingham. The University awarded me with generous scholarships and bursaries to make my dream of studying here a reality. The University continues to improve my overall personality by offering me various representative positions whether that be in student societies at the Guild or by recruiting me as postgraduate student ambassador.

The University’s crest and motto – ‘through hard work, great things are achieved’

Rodhan is currently studying MSc Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Birmingham. He has a BSc in Biotechnology from Thakur College of Science and Commerce. He is involved with various student societies such as Guild TV, the UoB tuition scheme and BioSoc and is currently a postgraduate student ambassador for the University.