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Shumaila Mahmood Pakistani, graduated in 2016

PhD in Education

Shumaila Mahmood's Photo

My proudest accomplishment is a step forward in personal learning, learning in my research area, making international friends and introducing a positive face of both my country and ideology of life. I would suggest that come to study abroad with an open mind, make friends, break biases and experience as much as you can. Be focused, set your goals, routines and priorities as early as possible. It’s a very nice diverse social environment that let you experience and grow as a human being and individual.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Southampton?

I choose University of Southampton for its excellent reputation as one of the UK’s top Russell Group research universities.

What do you enjoy the most about living in Southampton?

I like the mix of city life and still being able to enjoy nature in Southampton. I enjoy the fact that Southampton is not over-crowded or secluded. I also like that it is a sea port and less cold then other parts of UK. My favourite places to hang out with friends are restaurants and ice cream parlours in Southampton. For outdoors I like Southampton common, New Forest Wildlife Park, Maritime Museum, West Quay city (shopping centre), Winchester, Isle of Wight, Salisbury and Bournemouth: excellent day out destinations.

If you had any difficulties during your studies, how did you overcome them?

Getting used to transportation and reading maps can be challenging, if you are like me you may get lost often ;) but no problem google maps navigation and people are friendly, they will help you. However, do keep timetables and maps handy; make sure you are in the right place and direction. Also be patient and observant of the rules and English culture. I took help from my tutors and friends to overcome difficulties related studies. Reading the handbook of your programme of study can be very helpful to understand the requirements and procedures of your chosen programme.

What will you do with your degree after you have finished your studies?

After getting my degree I will continue working in the field of education. I think the degree will take me to closer to my goal as a teacher and researcher in the field of educational research and critical thinking skills.

If you could give your past-self one piece of advice about coming to study in Southampton, what would it be?

One advise could be, be prepared for the cold, rainy weather ;) On a serious note, it’s advised that you keep in touch with reliable people and organizations for sorting out accommodation, and academic concerns. Join university created relevant groups as well. Keep in touch with your department administration /supervisor/tutor. Be aware of your mental health and wellbeing. Be aware of the subtle differences between trusting/helping people and allowing them to take advantage of your polite nature.

Would you recommend the University of Southampton to students from your home country?

The population proportions are quite balanced for international students and Muslim communities both. Most people are welcoming, open-minded and supportive. It’s a very nice diverse social environment that let you experience and grow as a human being and individual both. I love the fact people are so nice; one can mingle and yet have one’s own privacy here.

What is your favourite spot on campus?

In my school building I love my desk, school kitchen and social space. Other than that the duck pond outside the Arlott Bar, Valley Gardens and university grounds and swimming pool are my favourite places on campus.

What were your first impressions of the University of Southampton?

My first impression of university of Southampton was a positive familiar feeling. I felt that the weather is cold but people are warm, friendly and welcoming.

What has been your proudest accomplishment while you were in Southampton?

My proudest accomplishment is a step forward in personal learning, learning in my research area, making international friends and introducing a positive face of both my country and ideology of life.

Do you have any stories about your time in Southampton or a happy memory you want to share?

There are too many happy, funny and educational memories I have experienced in Southampton. I won’t go in details but would suggest that happiness is within us in self-realization and building human connections.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

I would suggest that come to study abroad with an open mind, make friends, break biases and experience as much as you can. Be focused, set your goals, routines and priorities as early as possible, this will help you to remain sane. Also learn something new, do learn swimming. Get out of your comfort zone and you will come to know how much potential was hidden in you.

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