Sara Abdo: Relfections on my time at university
BEng Civil Engineering, 2020; MSc Civil Engineering and Management, 2021
I can confidently say my years at the University of Birmingham were the best years of my life so far. Coming from Egypt I did not know what to expect – all I knew at that point was the pictures I saw on the University’s website and its great reputation as a Red Brick, Russell Group university.
UoB stood out from all my options as the one with the most inclusive environment. I remember seeing the words ‘an international university at the heart of Birmingham’, and it truly is! Not only did UoB give me all the skills and knowledge to get a job in the UK straight after graduation and make me stand out among my peers from other universities, it also gave me great exposure to people from different backgrounds and cultures and I loved every second of it. The friends I made at university are friends that I will be keeping for life.
Academically, it was challenging (but not in a way that brings you stress – in a way that makes you resilient!). You were always supported by your colleagues and your professors. From face-to-face support throughout the year (around the clock and even through covid), to emails back and forth with your professors when you are struggling to understand something, you get it all. Looking back now one of the highlights of my university experience must be the night just before a submission. When you and your teammates are giving it that last push and you are in the Engineering Building and can see everyone around you working hard, talking, and laughing!
The room for extracurricular activities was also huge! Birmingham is renowned for the number of societies the Guild of Students has to offer (we even had a Hummus Society at one point). So, you will never run out of things to do or people to meet! I was the International Rep for CivSoc, the Civil Engineering Society, and also enjoyed spending a lot of time with STAR (Student Action for Refugees).
I now work on HS2 as part of the Balfour Beatty Vinci team and I know that I would not have gotten this opportunity without my UoB background.
I speak so highly of my University of Birmingham experience. I truly hope that if you are reading this that you get to enjoy it for yourself and that it is as great for you as it was for me.