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Ili Nadira Shaharuddin

What appealed to you about Northumbria University / studying in Newcastle?

Deciding to come to the UK was a defining moment in my life. It was such a big challenge for a Muslim girl to move to a very different country. Yet the course I am studying was a dream I could not compromise, and Northumbria University was the right place to make my dream real.

I decided to study in Northumbria because I heard that it was a beautiful and safe city as well as a great place to study. I always wanted to go to a university with a campus located in the City Centre and Northumbria has it. You’ve got a great university with an internationally famous reputation as well as shopping, nightlife and culture right on your doorstep. It also offers great courses and it is a great place to study and it is a good university with high academic standards.

What was it about the course / subject area that particularly appealed?

The best thing about my degree is how it relates to everyday life, finding out how diseases that affect us actually work and also getting the opportunity to do dissections in the final year.

What qualifications did you have?

HELP American Degree Program (ADP).  I applied through UCAS.

How did you feel during your first week at Northumbria?

The first week is the most difficult - after that it gets easier.

What do you like most about the course?

Science is enormously exciting. It is about life and creativity and about finding ways and inventing solutions to make the world we live in a better place. I believe biotechnology is an exciting choice, offering unlimited opportunities. Imagine the power of being involved in research that brings about the life enhancing innovations. With the teaching methods, we learn in a fun way which makes it easier to understand.

Can you give an example of a piece of work you’ve been involved with recently?

Currently, I am working on my final year project which I have chosen the topic on Biochemistry. It involves researching the pure protein and DNA for the project. This is not an easy practical, but it is really fun and I enjoy doing it with the help of the tutors and using the facilities.

How do you get on with your tutors?

The tutors are amazing; they are good and are generally experts in their field. They are enthusiastic about their subjects. They are really helpful and nice. If you don’t get into something, you should just have to ask and they will explain the whole thing back to you immediately. You won’t have to look far to find a smiling face and people ready to help.

Do you have the opportunity for any work placements during your course?

My course does offer placement opportunities, however, I missed the placement year as I was a direct entry into my final year degree as I am a transferred student from Malaysia.

What are the best things about Newcastle?

I love shopping and when I'm not studying I like to listen to music and chill out with friends. The city itself is brilliant, the Geordies are very friendly people and moving away from home gave me the independence I needed. The social life is fantastic - I would say it is the best in the UK.

There's such an amazing range of societies and clubs at university, I’d guarantee anyone that they could find something that suits them!

What’s your accommodation like?

For the first month staying in the UK, I lived in Sunderland because I could not find a place in Newcastle because there are loads of students arriving at the same time. A month after, I just found the perfect place for me to live which is right in the middle of Newcastle City Centre. It is just 5-10 minutes journey by the bus and 15 minutes walk to the university. I am staying alone in a studio apartment because it provides me with more privacy. The fancy restaurants, the bars, the mall, the cinema is just on our door step. It’s really fun when everything is close to you.

What would you like to do when you graduate?

Once I complete the course here, it will make it easier to find job/career because the degree can be used all over the world. The programme helped to change the way I think. It taught me how to work in teams and learn to work with people from different countries and learn to communicate with one another.

Have you used Student Services during your course?

Yeah, the International Student Advisors made everything seem simple and easy for me. They are very helpful in helping out in my assessment on how to do it the right way (properly) how to use this and that, how to use the right method for the essays etc.

The Careers Service has been fantastic, everyone is really helpful. They help out a lot when you need it. They’re friendly and always willing to help.

Do you have any advice for anyone applying for your course, or for university in general?

My advice – come with an open mind, your life will be changed forever!! It’s always a challenge to adapt to a new environment and culture. Just be open minded and allow yourself to be part of the culture. You’ll definitely come out with a different look at people, and certainly gain so much more than just an education.

My experience at university has been superb so far as the tutors and lectures are very helpful and the facilities such as the lab and the library are well equipped with very good IT and internet facilities. The university staff is friendly and the clubs and societies are good.

I would recommend Northumbria University to all prospective students as it offers great courses and is a great place to study.  Northumbria is loaded with things to do, restaurants, cinemas, shopping malls, museums and many places close to the city to explore. There are fantastic labs on campus and I'm learning not just theory, but practical skills that will help me in my career.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria?

Northumbria is AWESOME! OR Simply the Best!

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