Biology international student at University of Leeds

Nazatul Awang Abd Ghani

5 reasons why choosing Leeds was the best decision

1. You’ll make loads of friends from all over the world and it’s so friendly and social!

I chose the University of Leeds because it is well known for having a really student-friendly and international-student-friendly environment. Plus, Leeds has plenty of societies to join and gain experience, from sports to art-based activities so you can get your heads off academic things for a while and do something different. Moreover, it was also ranked in the top 30 University at Times Ranking in 2014 (now it’s the world’s best university for 2017!).

The student union has also a nice vibe. You can just grab a seat at one of the sofas, sit alone and not feel awkward at all, perfect environment especially for someone who is a bit shy and awkward like me. University of Leeds is also only 5 minutes walk to the city centre, and have a lot of affordable private and student accommodations near University area.

2. You can tailor your course to your interests and learn subjects outside of your course

I surveyed module choices and compared them with other Universities but I felt like the University of Leeds offered the most interesting modules. We were also given the opportunity to take at 2 discovery modules a year, from something outside of Biology which gave me a great insight as to what other courses have to offer and gave people flexibility just in case you want to change your mind. But from my experience, from taking a non-science based module, I fell in love with my course even more!

There were lots of laboratories and hands-on practicals in interesting and relevant topics and the lecturers were helpful and approachable. One module in my second year had a field trip to a farm which was really fun despite the freezing weather. We learnt a lot, met some friendly and passionate people, they answered our questions professionally and patiently (because we asked quite a lot of questions after the tour). The University of Leeds also has a lecture capture system for Biology, hence if I missed a lecture or for revision purpose, they’re really quite useful.

3. You will have everything you need for your student life

24-hours access to computer clusters, easy access to literatures and e-books available online, and wide range of journals and articles in the library. Again, helpful demonstrators, lecturers, tutors, and international-student-friendly. Plus, it’s undeniably a pretty campus – THE BEST especially during Autumn. It is really convenient location-wise, close to city centre only 5 minutes walk. Varieties of café are available in campus for daily caffeine dose.

Not only that, the Refectory has marvellous food choices (pasta/noodles/fish and chips) and you can get a full stomach for just under £5. It’s easy to make new friends, the ‘Give-it-a-Go’s organised by societies under the Student Union also offer wide varieties of sports or events to attend to – from barista training to kick boxing.

4. You will feel included as an international student 

My tutor helped me improved my writing and speaking skills with a one-to-one session/by helping to read my essay and offers feedback before I hand in the final version. In addition, there is an International Student Society under Faculty of Biological Sciences so you can update any of the staff members or talk to them about any of your problems or just simply hang out and enjoy free lunch!

5. You will be supported – help is always at hand

Continuous essays and literature reviews will stress you out if you keep it to the last minute, so try to do the work once it’s given. Plus, it will benefit you in terms of your reading and writing skills – you can get first class marks in your exam from the extra readings you’ve already done for your assignment! You can also ask for help or better, offer help. You are not the only person who is struggling and there are a lot of help available if you need one, or you can be the one offering help to people in need simply by volunteering to be one.