Our students from Egypt
There are around 10 Egyptian students currently studying at the University of Exeter. Many of them are enrolled on postgraduate programmes within our Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies or our Graduate School of Education.
What have you been doing since leaving Exeter?
Designing and teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses at the American University in Cairo. I have also been conducting research (both field and desktop). I stayed in research/academia because this is the field that I was and still am passionate about; my postgraduate studies at Exeter helped me a great deal in solidifying this conviction.
What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?
There is a great sense of multiculturalism and diversity in the city in general and within the University and the IAIS specifically. The amount of lifetime friendships, relations and memories that I've accumulated and experienced during my time in Exeter is really precious and valuable.
What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?
Teaching, research and community development are different yet interrelated paths. My regional focus is on the MENA region, which is one of the most turbulent areas in the world. Increasingly over the past few years there has been a lot of interest in the socioeconomics and politics of the region, which increases the demand for good quality research and academic work relating to the region, yet also means that it is a very competitive field. In order to have an edge you have to keep a good balance between specialization and generic knowledge about the broader context, so choose a certain research point and accumulate knowledge and experiences pertaining to it. Also invest in diversifying your interdisciplinary knowledge about the MENA region in general.
What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?
This might sound like a cliché, but basically follow your heart. It is really very important to ensure that you are really into what you’re doing; first, in terms of the discipline in which you’re doing your PhD and then when it comes to the subject matter/topic of your doctoral research. The real value of your graduate/PhD work evolves as time goes by so unless you’re willing and able to invest years in your subject and even after the finalization of your studies, you won’t be able to reap the real benefits of your ventures.