Youssef Ramadan

Hi!

I’m Youssef, a fourth year Mechanical Engineering student, currently on my placement year. While I am Egyptian, I was born and raised in Bahrain, a small island in the middle east. I moved around quite a lot before going to university, starting with the Lycée Français MLF de Bahreïn (French school in Bahrain), then the British School of Bahrain ([I]GCSEs), and finally, Bahrain School (IB).

Being an international student, my choice of university was heavily based on rankings. At the time when I was applying, the University of Leeds was generally ranked in the top 5 for mechanical engineering in the UK, and top 100 in the world. That, as well as its being a Russell Group University made Leeds a very attractive option.

I have greatly enjoyed my university experience. With on-campus events ranging from society give-it-a-go events to comedy nights, and having access to a wide range of facilities such as the student union (one of the largest in the UK) and the Edge Sports Centre full of high quality equipment, I have, so far, had a very enjoyable university experience. My favourite thing about the university has to be the diversity of its student body. Every day, I get to meet and interact with amazing people coming from hugely diverse backgrounds, who expand my knowledge of the world and make the university feel even more welcoming.

When it comes to studying at the university, I find that the wide range of options provided under the “broadening” scheme have really allowed me to expand beyond academics. I was still able to practice Spanish via language exchange partners, study in Germany during the summer, volunteer as an intercultural ambassador and even take part in an engineering outreach programme which ran activities at a nearby school.

In terms of the course, the best aspect has been the practical experience that I got alongside the theory. Lab experiments reinforce my comprehension of some theoretical concepts, which I struggled to understand otherwise. In first year we were divided into teams and had to design and build rubber band powered buggies. While designing and building the buggy was quite fun, it was the race that took place towards the end of January, which was the most exciting part by far. Though we had theoretical approximations for the buggy’s supposed behaviour, the reality was that anything could happen, and it took hours of testing to familiarize ourselves with how our buggy worked to ensure that we knew how to set it up and let it go during the race. On the day of the race everyone was excited as a higher ranking meant a higher grade. As people were stressing out, my team and I just prepared our buggy like we did during the trial runs. By the end of the day we received our prize for achieving 2nd place out of 27 teams. If there was one thing we learned, it was that consistency always matters the most, as some buggies though faster than ours, occasionally broke down halfway through the race.

In my free time, I enjoy playing football, going out with friends, reading, practicing languages, etc… What I like most about Leeds is that it is quite a self-contained city, and thus, everything is within walking distance.

Depending on where you end up living, you’ll either enjoy the comfort of being 2 minutes away from the main campus, making you less likely to miss 9am lectures, or near the city centre, which saves you having to walk back for 15 minutes with bags full of groceries! Additionally, there are lots of things constantly going on and it can almost be painful to choose one activity at the expense of another. There are also many restaurants, shops, cinemas, museums, and much more!

In first year, I lived in an accommodation called Central Living Village, which was provided through the university. It was located quite close to the city centre which made grocery shopping and going out much easier. This year however, I share a house with three of my course mates. What I like about the house is that it is quite close to University, making attending 9 am lectures and any non-academic related on-campus events (at the union for example) much easier.

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