Our students from Lebanon
There are currently more than 500 students from the Middle East region studying at the University of Exeter.
Why did you decide that Exeter was the best place to study?
For a long time, I have heard of the research quality at the University of Exeter, especially in my field of study, which is Middle East Politics. In fact, the University of Exeter is one of the top universities in the world working in this field. I did not think twice before applying, and the process was extremely easy.
Describe your typical day at Exeter
Usually, I wake up, have breakfast, then walk to the campus. I enjoy my morning walk as it calms my mind and prepares me for my daily tasks. My desk is based at Amory, where I usually spend around six to seven hours, reading and writing. Recently, I have joined the gym and the swimming club. So, I usually go for a swim or workout in the evening before heading back home.
On my days off, I go shopping in the City Center, meet some friends for a drink, or take the train to Exmouth to enjoy beautiful scenery. Not to mention taking advantage of the various cinemas dispersed all over the city.
What are the best aspects of studying within your department?
Being surrounded by supportive supervisors and personal tutors is definitely the best aspect of studying within my department. Both supervisors have made my Ph.D. journey smooth by encouraging me to give my best each and every day.
As for my personal tutor, she has been launching initiatives and projects to unite Ph.D. students together. We were able, thanks to her, to create a network of Ph.D. students in our department, which constitutes an academic support for students to share their work with fellow PhDs for feedback. This network is also an emotional backup in case someone is feeling down, stressed, homesick, etc.
How would you describe the vibe on campus?
The thing I like the most about Streatham is its vibe. It is always vibrant with students walking, chatting, and laughing. Sometimes, when having a bad day, I walk around the campus. It makes me feel part of a larger community. The campus’s beauty is even brighter on sunny days, with its green spaces and giant trees.
What activities are you taking part in? Which clubs/societies or facilities/activities do you enjoy the most?
I am a member of the swimming club, the Belly dancing society, and the Middle East and North Africa Society. I enjoy them all because they involve physical activity and provide a perfect space to socialize with other students.
What particular skills are you gaining from this experience?
Living alone abroad is a never-ending learning experience. I am developing my organisational skills on a daily basis to accommodate both the academic and social aspects of my life. In addition, being responsible for your own budget means gaining managerial skills that you might not learn elsewhere. Professionally, I am enrolled in the Mentorship Programme at the university, which is enabling me to benefit from the rich experience of my mentor and to start planning my future. On another note, I am also developing my culinary skills!
How have you dealt with any challenges/difficulties during your time at the University of Exeter?
The main difficulty was the constant lockdowns due to Covid during my first year of study here. It was hard to stay at home and limit socializing to online events. However, the university has deployed enormous efforts to make sure the students are okay both mentally and academically. Wellbeing services were always available and academic support was also provided.
What’s the best thing about living in Exeter?
Exeter enjoys what I call a deadly combo. It has a mesmerizing nature yet is full of life like any other city around the world. It offers you the opportunity to walk down the Quay to find inner peace, yet you can always find great places to party and enjoy your time. It reconciles those two aspects in a magical way. In addition, everything you need is within walking-distance from where you live. This is crucial for students whose life has become revolved around books and papers, like PhDs!
Would you recommend Exeter/Penryn to your friends?
I would definitely recommend Exeter to my friends. This place here is more like home to me than anything else!
Was there anything about your experiences at Exeter that surprised you?
Because I studied in the UK before, nothing was a surprise to me. Rather, I would say the hospitality that I continue to receive as an international student at Exeter is heart-warming and much appreciated.
Has the University been supportive during your time here?
Big time, namely during Covid. They provided students with several services, such as food delivery, online chats, wellbeing services. I believe the University has done more than it can to ensure that students are satisfied.
What advice would you give students planning on coming to the University of Exeter?
Do not think twice about it! You will be provided with all the support and help you need, not just from the university officers but also from all the students, who are super friendly.