‘Positive vibes’ from Bradford: An international student’s perspective

Manahil Javed from Pakistan graduated from her MSc Biomedical Sciences degree at Bradford last year. Here she tells us about her experiences during her time here – and what made Bradford “feel like home”.

Manahil says she “fell in love” with the University, and found her Master’s degree “really tough yet interesting”. While here in Bradford Manahil had her first child, and says she had excellent support from staff here, and in the NHS.

“Before coming to UK I did my Bachelors of Science in Bioinformatics from COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad, Pakistan.

“My biggest reason for choosing the University of Bradford was that it was the only university that offered a prestigious scholarship to students belonging to countries of crisis.

“It was a really big initiative to support students who lost hope to continue their education because of their country’s political or economic situation.”

Turning point

Bestway Foundation Scholars at the University of Bradford.

Manahil (second from left) with her fellow Bestway Foundation scholars

“Receiving the Bestway Foundation Scholarship was the turning point of my academic career.

“It helped me fulfil my dream of getting higher education from abroad at that time when I had no money or any other resource.

“It was unbelievable for me to be selected among four Bestway scholars from the whole of Pakistan.

“I was then and I still am so thankful to Sir Anwar Parvez (Founder of Bestway Foundation) and to the University of Bradford for giving me the privilege to complete my postgraduate studies at one of the finest institutes of the world.”

First impressions

“I fell in love with the campus at first glimpse.

“I loved the concept of maintaining a green campus.

“Student Central and library were two of my favourite places where I used to spend most of my free time. It was amazing to see how welcoming, friendly and helpful the university ambassadors were.”

Felt like home

“Since many Asian people reside in Bradford, it felt like home to me.

“It was really easy to get Halal food, Asian spices and Asian dresses there.

“Bradford gave me really positive vibes. I was told that Yorkshire people are the friendliest people of UK and after living for one year in Bradford I can absolutely agree to that.”

Amazing mentors

“My course MSc Biomedical Science was really tough yet interesting.

“The main reason of choosing this course was to gain practical laboratory experience and I can say that my course enabled me to work in an incredibly fine laboratory, with some amazing mentors.

“I enjoyed my last semester the most as it included an independent research project. I was given a research topic and an amazing supervisor (Dr. Boyne) and was trained to work independently in the laboratory. That was the period when I learnt most.”

International student support

“Since I was an international student, I was told to visit Room 101 (Richmond Building) that was allocated for us. I used to go there quite often.

“Student ambassadors were really friendly and helpful, they took us on campus and city tours.

“Not to forget our international student adviser Mrs. Sue Baker, who was so kind and welcoming.

“Also, the people at hub helped me a lot. They were so helpful and I used to go there for all my issues, either to open a bank account or to register with a GP, they were always there to guide me.”

Relaxed environment

“All of my lecturers were really friendly and helpful – the technical staff in the laboratory were especially really helpful during the final research project.

“My personal tutor Dr. Harrington was quite cooperative. He helped me a lot getting a maternity leave as I was pregnant and gave birth during the second semester of my course.

“The University also made special arrangements for me to give my exam in a relaxed environment with a really comfortable chair and personal attendants because of my pregnancy.

“All the lecturers were so kind to help me catch up with the rest of my colleagues after I came back from my maternity leave.”

Incredible support and hospitality

“My entire experience of having my first child in Bradford and to complete a Master’s degree was truly amazing.

“Everyone was so supportive, be it my personal tutor, lecturers, colleagues, GP, nurses, mid-wife or health visitors.

“Each and every single person helped me incredibly. They didn’t let me feel for once that I wasn’t home.

“I couldn’t imagine myself in a more supportive environment than being there in Bradford. I am heartily obliged to the University of Bradford and the Bradford Royal Infirmary for their incredible support and hospitality.”

And now?

“I came back to Pakistan after my graduation and now preparing myself to pursue a PhD. I have applied to a number of universities abroad and I am really hopeful to get a position to further my scientific career.”

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