Image of a male undergraduate student standing in a laboratory. He is wearing a white lab coat with a yellow collar over a purple hoody. He is also wearing blue gloves and holding a piece of equipment. He is looking directly at the camera and smiling.

Jordan Ramcharita

Why did you choose the University of Leeds?

I first chose the University of Leeds because when I compared all of the Biotechnology programmes this one was the only one which offered the with Enterprise option and this really interested me as I love the business side to the subject as well as the science. Secondly, the University of Leeds offers a year in enterprise where 4 students are given the opportunity to work on a potential business idea of theirs for a year and they will be given funding and mentors along the process. Leeds is a very renowned school in the research department of science and a leading innovator in the entrepreneurial field so this combination is what made me choose Leeds University.

What are the top 3 best things you have experienced the University of Leeds?

I would say the first thing is the campus itself, so open and green it really is nice just to be there especially on a sunny day you can just sit in the grass in one of the many green spaces, rabbits can be seen as well as ducks, the whole aesthetic of the campus is just brilliant. Secondly, the support you receive from tutors and professors is so warm and encouraging. Once you ask questions and show initiative the professors are more than happy to help you with a query in the current topic or topics outside of the current curriculum if something just piques your interest. Thirdly the facilities on offer such as the 4 libraries, computer clusters, and the university union are just incredible. The library usually has most of the books you would require for your course well at least in my case it did and so many books that would help to further your understanding. Having access to burrow laptops and use the computer cluster all tie together into Leeds’s modern and student-friendly University.

What are your favourite 3 things about city of Leeds?

What are the best events/places you have visited in the city? One of my favourite things about the city is the fact that there’s something for everyone. Diverse activities such as theatre, dance, clubbing, gigs, festivals and also the cuisine are very diverse with foods from literally all around the world. Secondly, I like how easy it is to access the city it is compact enough to walk around, and the bus system is quite efficient or one can even use Uber to get around so makes it easy to come and go as you please. Lastly, I like how Leeds is a city but also has so many open green spaces so it doesn’t have that congested feel to it but rather a nice open airy atmosphere, and it is so close to so many nature hotspots such as the Yorkshire coast, Yorkshire Moors, and the dales.

What have been your favourite modules on your course? What did you do in it and what did you learn?

My favourite modules so far have been my Lab module and the Social Enterprise modules. In the lab module, we basically do practical work applying what we learned in class to the lab room. So for instance, if we learned about the different types of staining techniques for bacteria in one module, we would actually stain bacteria in the lab module and this really helps to reinforce concepts that you learned because you are seeing it hands-on working in real life. Social enterprises have taught me that business is not only about making money but giving back as well. I am a big believer in giving back to the community and social enterprises teaches you about driving the profits of your business back into a social venture to help humanity and it is that showing compassion to one another which I really liked.

What have been your top 3 practical elements on your course? What did you do on them? What did you enjoy about them?  (e.g lab work, experiments, field trip, field work).

The first top practical element has to be actually applying concepts which we learned in the lectures into the lab. One thing is hearing someone explain something, but seeing how it does so in real life further reinforces the concept and helps you to understand even better. Secondly, we sometimes have to design experiments in order to achieve a specific aim, within this design, it usually incorporates multiple topics which we have earned within a few weeks to further cement everything and brings an element of cohesion into course seeing how multiple topics overlap and complement each other. Lastly, on my course, my tutor has to be one of the best practical elements. Because my tutor works in the field of biology he is able to help me understand the topics more thoroughly in a very informal and friendly way. This makes me feel that any time I don’t understand something there is someone who I am confident will always be able to point me in the right directions, and this not only applies to not understanding theory but general advice on university such as who I should contact etc.

What has been your favourite experiment or project you have worked? What did you do?

My favourite project so far was running a virtual business in my enterprise class. You basically have to run a business with a team of class mates given simulated resources such as money and buildings. It really helped to tie in all the aspects of starting an enterprise which we learned about in class making it seem really cohesive. It was really difficult at first but me and my team were able to get better with time as we learned to apply the concepts which we had learned in class.

What societies have you joined? What have type of social events have you enjoyed the most?

I have joined the Bhangra society which is a type of Indian dance, the spoken word society which focuses on poetry and the spoken word as its name suggests and Get out Get Active society which encourages people to come on walks out in nature. My favourite social event so far has been open mic nights held by various pubs or societies, it is a chance for people to voice their perspective on certain issues which they find important and I really like hearing the emotions that some people pour into their pieces it really is moving sometimes.

My absolute favourite thing about the university is the fantastic Leeds University Union. I really love it with a selection of bars to choose from and even a club in the union coupled with restaurants and coffee shop even a grocery and a lot of space to hang out, the union is by far my favourite thing about the university. The university has gifted me many opportunities and many potential opportunities. For instance many workshops are available to help with essay writing, which I was quite bad at…and even ones to improve critical thinking. One opportunity I really hope to make use of is the Year in Enterprise which is a year in between second and third where the university gives you an incubator in which you can develop a business idea and hopefully turn it into a business one day.

The best thing about my course must be the support I receive, as mentioned above, really is invaluable. Outside of studies I am involved in a number of clubs such as hiking, spoken word and bhangra which I thoroughly enjoy. I also go to the gym, play some sports socially and hang out with my friends and enjoy the nightlife sometimes (which by the way is great). The best thing about Leeds as a city is the fact that there’s something to peak everyone’s interest from the theatre to mini golf to a wide selection of coffee shops bars and restaurants, I do not think you should find yourself bored in Leeds and my favourite place is Leeds university union.

What do you plan to do after your degree? How has your degree/the faculty helped you with your career ambitions? (e.g. Phd/Research, graduate scheme, internships)

I have not really put much thought into what I want to do after my degree, but I really would like to be in the steps towards opening a business, and the university has a great business start-up support in the Spark Team which helps student bring out potential in their business idea and puts them on the right path to bring an idea to market.

Are there any significant differences between studying at Leeds and your home country?

At Leeds I would say there is a lot more opportunities to get practical exposure into the field of your choice whether it be through internships or shadowing professors. There are also a lot of facilities on offer that my home country may not necessarily have as it is not as well off financially, so  there are more libraries and computer clusters available which makes it a little more convenient for a student.

How did you feel when you first arrived compared to how you feel now?

Felt very excited but overwhelmed when I first arrived because of the struggles of making new friends and adjusting to a new culture. But Leeds has been really great at helping to alleviate the problem as they have lots of socials for the international students to meet and mix and then have taster sessions of what the British culture is like.

What culture shock have you face coming to Leeds? How did you overcome it?

Didn’t really get any major culture shocks but the weather shock was a serious one. I had never really experienced seasons so the winter was pretty harsh. However I grew to appreciate the changing season as with the change comes different things like different foods and clothes. It also make me appreciate the sun more as you cannot do the same things in summer that you can do in winter such as sit outside on the grass.