After initially studying Architecture at home in Egypt, Youssef has flourished since enrolling at UCLan academically, personally and socially. He admits some challenges and has relied on the support of his tutors at times, but overall Youssef has pushed himself and has added a lot to our University and is now reaping the rewards.
"I chose to study at UCLan for two main reasons. Firstly, the cost of living compared to some other, bigger city universities was a lot lower. Secondly, I was attracted to the city of Preston – the connection to other places (I can visit friends in Manchester), it is not cut off, the city is very student focussed and the UCLan branding can be seen everywhere.
When I first arrived in Preston it was late on a Sunday evening and everywhere was closed! It wasn’t a great start because it was my first time in the UK and I didn’t even know where to buy essentials, but my flatmates showed me around the city and I realised how beautiful it is.
Previously I had studied Architecture in Egypt and there were so many unnecessary modules, but here at UCLan even the smallest details are related to the course and will really benefit my working career later. The most enjoyable part of my Architecture course has been how we have to deal with different types of projects – this has been challenging but also rewarding because you learn to deal with different characteristics, problems and sites. The biggest challenge for me has been catching up to the same level as some of the students at the top of the class, but I have pushed myself and when I look back and see how far I have come already I know there will be a happy ending.
I have always perceived Tutors to be a little scary and distant from students, however that idea changed when I came here. I’ve met different Tutors with different styles, but the thing they all have in common is how understanding and thoughtful they are. I have faced many problems and my Tutors have always been supportive, not just academically but personally too. Recently I had a personal problem back home in Egypt and I was stressed and couldn’t focus, my Tutor realised I wasn’t myself and he helped me with one-on-one sessions. He gave his time, organised meetings for me and pushed me - to be honest without his help I wouldn’t have been able to submit my work.
On the Architecture course we have a field trip every year; last year it was Copenhagen and this year it is the Netherlands. It’s an opportunity to enjoy, learn, engage with tutors and see some of the world’s best architecture. There’s also a placement for every student in the final year, I’ve recently done 3 months at a firm in Lancaster and this will be beneficial for my CV. You can also, like me, visit the Careers department at UCLan who will help you develop your CV even further, this is a free service just like the sports centre where I spend a lot of time in the gym or playing badminton.
Away from my studies I like to socialise with friends in the local bars and clubs or whilst watching football. It’s so easy to make friends wherever you go. I live on campus in Whitendale Hall and it’s really good for a number of reasons – it’s near the library, it’s a great place to meet other students away from your course and they have events at Christmas, Halloween and random pizza nights! I have lots of memories here.
If you are thinking of enrolling at UCLan I would say you should take the chance if you have it – it’s an amazing experience! Overall Preston and UCLan has changed my personality and I am more mature. The friends and connections I have made, I will always remember. I’d certainly recommend coming here".
11 June 2019