From Pakistan to Surrey

Hear the perspectives of a current Pakistani student.

HALF A YEAR GONE!

The first term came to an end and it was the best time of the year, the holiday season! As the Christmas break started, like everyone, I was eager to visit home. Most of my friends had already left; some went home while others went for vacation. I had made my plans to travel after a week to experience the holidays here. Going back home and meeting my parents after 3 months was amazing but the thought of final exams right after reopening of school kept bugging me. I had prepared a strict schedule allocating sufficient time to study but also be able to enjoy at the same time. That never happened! I couldn’t actually study as much as I had planned – but it was worth it!

I went to Tucson, Arizona to visit my parents. Tucson is a beautiful city with unique weather. The combination of two completely different climate makes you fall in love with the place. Arizona is known for being a desert and for many different types of Cacti it has. An interesting fact that I recently learnt about a Cactus is that it grows its first arm after 75-100 years. So next time you see a cactus with 4 arms, you know it’s almost 400 years old!

This photograph below is what I captured during this trip, mountains covered in snow, the desert with cacti all around; mesmerizing scene!

Arizona

 

All the fun aside, I knew it would be tough when I returned to Surrey as I only had one week to prepare for four modules. Challenging, yet exciting!

So I took on the challenge and that’s when I realised how valuable our library is. Spending 17 hours a day here weren’t easy, but the resources available here to help you prepare kept me going.  My routine was such that I would get home really late, or early, whatever you think 4 am is and it would be impossible to prepare food at that hour. This is where the Surrey Shop was a blessing. Always had fresh salads and delicious sandwiches which would be a good reason to step away from the books for a quick break.

I spent a lot of time in the individual study and group discussion areas. Booking a group room was literally one click away and me and my group made the most of it.

And then came the exams…umm, let’s just skip that part!!

Term 2 is about to begin, which means I’m half way through already! Time really did fly. I remember the orientation week as if it was just yesterday. Surely a great experience so far and am excited to see what the coming months have to offer! If you are looking to start your bachelors/masters degree this September and still unsure, University of Surrey has to be it!

I would love to hear your feedback on my blogs and if there is anything you want me to write about, write in the comments below!

PS: to see what’s happening in and around Surrey, and what I get up to, follow me on Instagram:bazzmaniac

Winter, rain and a changed me!

 

Hello Surrey’s blog readers! Hope you’re all keeping warm in this cold. I’m having a great time here at Surrey, trying my best to negotiate with this weather which I am told will get even colder. I wanted to share my thoughts on winter, and rain in specific, and how it has made me more organized.

If you remember, I have always lived in extremely hot cities with temperature in summers touching 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit) and my iPhone showing 0% chance of rain most of my life! It’s not the same here. Adjusting to the local weather has been slightly challenging. Not because I don’t enjoy the cool weather or rain but because I keep forgetting to carry my umbrella. I would only remember forgetting my umbrella when the first drops would pour and I’d be on campus or if I’m lucky just when I would be getting on the bus from Manor Park.

It may be strange for many of you but spending most of my life in the Middle East, we only use the weather app on our phones to check if the temperature reads as hot as it feels outside. In the beginning here in Surrey, I wouldn’t check the weather before stepping out but soon learnt my lesson as it rains most days. Don’t get me wrong, I do like rain especially because we get much less of it in our side of the world but not when it rains most days, and it feels like it does the most when I forget to carry an umbrella!

That’s how beautiful the University looks when it’s raining!

University of Surrey is in the city called Guildford and the weather here varies between 7 and 15 degrees during year-end which is not bad. It’s a still good walk around this beautiful city but it gets tough with the wind. And believe me it gets quite windy at times, especially when you’re walking home from the library at 3 am after working on an assignment to submit the next morning and the wind speed feels like 35 mph, it’s not a good feeling!

As I said earlier, this weather has helped (read forced) me to become a more organized and better planned person – one who checks and rechecks the weather and is prepared with an umbrella, gloves and what not, at all times!

Although I experienced it briefly here, autumn was fantastic and my favourite. I didn’t want it to end. The trees and their fallen leaves were something not to miss and I could not get tired of photographing them. This picture I took will give you a good idea; the colours make it look so pretty.

Autumn

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” – Albert Camus.

The holiday season is now coming up and I know a lot of us are planning short trips; I am too and will tell you all about it when I am back! Stay safe every one, and be mindful of the weather!

Happy Holidays!

 

PS: to see what’s happening in Surrey, feel free to follow me on Instagram: www.instagram.com/bazzmaniac

My Journey to Surrey

 

 

Hello everyone. My name is Basim Abdullah and I am a Finance and Accounting Masters student at the Surrey Business School. I have been in contact with a lot of you directly but would like to stay connected through my blogs as well. I’m a very happy going Pakistani student here not just to study but make more friends, explore and experience this side of the world.

A bit about me, I was born, raised and did most of my studying in the desert (Saudi Arabia!). I never really lived in my parents’ home country, Pakistan where we would only visit during summer vacations which was always exciting for me, a lot of new people to meet and fun things to do but at the same time it can be quite surprising too, as they say expect the unexpected in Pakistan. I found myself closer to the Saudi culture and traditions- and I have to mention the food too – have to mention the shawarma here!

Living in Riyadh, the capital was great. All about fast cars, tall – very tall buildings, lots of food and a lot of heat. There came a time when I wanted to experience life outside of Saudi, Pakistan seemed like a good option and I decided to move there to start my accounting life. Living there for 3 years was a learning curve, an experience I will never forget. I lived in Karachi, enjoyed getting used to planning for the unexpected!

I worked a little bit in the tourism industry gaining practical experience in accounting but I was also waiting to graduate from Oxford Brooke’s after which another exciting journey was to begin – start my masters! The process of selecting the right school which fits well with my future plans but is also fun to spend a year or so in, was not easy. It became even tougher when I penciled my requirements and considerations, had to look out for a school that offers the most concrete accounting courses, has a good rating from previous students, doesn’t cost my parents their entire life’s worth of savings and the environment it offers to its students and my list can go on and on and on. I also wanted to be close to London, but not in London. Maybe I was being too specific or too picky but I remember spending hours and hours reading the reviews about the various universities, their blogs, rankings and looking for graduates that are happy and those that weren’t. During my hunt I came across University of Surrey, it blended everything in for me quite well. After all my research and while applying for my program, I had a feeling that this would be the right match – the place where I want to be for a good twelve months. And London’s just 30 minutes away!

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You can see my Surrey Business School in the background!

I can’t express the feelings I had the day I received my offer letter from the University in this blog. I just couldn’t wait to travel 7000 km and start school again (no it wasn’t just for accounting). Once that was settled, another important decision for me was to decide on my accommodation and my preference was to not live inside the campus. Manor Park was my decision and it’s a really good place to live in. Everything’s so close from here, even by walk. University is just 18 minutes and our favorite Tesco is just a lazy ten minute walk away. Oh and my favorite place, the Surrey Sports Park is literally about five minutes from Manor Park!

This is the best time to be in this University. It was awarded University of the Year recently and being a student, I really can’t ask for anything else. Simply put, I feel I am living my life well, making new friends and enjoying my time in a great university! I’ve been here for about two months, and am looking forward to the next year which should be great fun and very exciting. I will keep you all posted on my adventures here – please keep an eye out for my blogs.

Have a good day!

Basim.

 

PS: to see what’s happening in Surrey, feel free to follow me on Instagram: www.instagram.com/bazzmaniac

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