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Best Decision of my Life: Pursuing my PhD at Manchester Met

A guest post by Halima, a linguistics PhD student at Manchester Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom.

I’m Halima, a final year PhD student at Manchester Metropolitan University. I began my journey in September 2017, and all I can say is that it was the best decision I’ve ever made in my life.

Pursuing my PhD within the linguistics department has not only given me the opportunity to research a topic that I am passionate about, but also provided me with the guidance of an expert (my supervisor) in the field. 

The overall experience that I am having at Manchester Met is exceptionally promising and positive. Right from the moment my feet touched Manchester Met premises, I felt at home; I could see the harmony and feel the support provided by the staff. 

I can still recall the time when I had to register at the University. I was on my own and feeling a bit frustrated with the whole process. This is because I not only come from a totally different culture and speak a different language, but I also come from a different university operational system. 

My first impression was that the university staff were lovely and friendly. They were very welcoming, patient and helpful. I cannot emphasize this enough - this is something I’ve experienced continuously throughout the years I’ve been studying at Manchester Met.

Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University are my First Paths of Adventure

I’ve never been to or lived in any European country prior to coming to the United Kingdom. Therefore, coming to Manchester has been my first adventurous trip. I feel at home in Manchester and it will always have a special place in my heart. 

I’ve encountered (and in most cases became friends with) many people from all over the world. Manchester’s vibrant and multicultural spirit allowed me to widen my cultural sensitivity. It taught me to approach different people with absolute inclusivity, and therefore, learn more and more about different cultural and social practices that I was unaware of in the past.

Being referred to as the cradle of the industrial revolution, I come to see Manchester not only as a place to live, but also as a place that is marked in human history. I started by visiting museums and different historical places; then I went to leisure centers and shopping malls. Simply put, in Manchester, there is always something for everyone. 

Attending the University is a unique adventure in itself as I came to know and got introduced to different courses and different fields of research, thus widening the scope of my own research. Through getting involved in different discussions with people coming from different fields, I was also able to see the various implications my own research has in real life.

Manchester Metropolitan University Aids my Self and Professional Development

After joining Manchester Metropolitan University officially as a PhD candidate, I attended many free workshops that I found on Skillsforge (a University platform where you can track your progress). 

The workshops’ aims and goals are different yet linked. They vary from developing “knowledge and intellectual abilities” to improving “engagement influence and impact”. Attending these different workshops has been a great opportunity that provided me with the support I needed to do my research, organize it, and present it to different audiences. 

Throughout the three years I have been at Manchester Met, I have acquired different skills. Those worth mentioning are time management, self/emotional management, and communication skills.

Interestingly, the University also provides inclusive work opportunities through jobs4student services. My top tip is that flexibility is at the core of being able to take advantage of these work opportunities. As the nature of my course requires flexible working, I have been managing studying and earning money to a schedule that is convenient for me. 

Through getting involved in roles advertised by jobs4students, I had the opportunity to learn and develop specialist skills that I could bring to the workplace, therefore aiding both my personal and professional development. Moreover, the University appreciates and supports the employment of international students. 

My biggest fear before undertaking the UK’s highest degree level (PhD) was the failure to communicate with the people around me. Nonetheless, my language proficiency has not been an issue. Jobs4students provided me with the chance to practice my English (while undertaking different roles) with native and non-native speakers. I thus became more confident in my language proficiency.

Jobs4students also advertises roles requiring multilingual translators/interpreters, language competition judges, language facilitators and content producers. I therefore had the chance to help with both Arabic and French languages. 

Finally, the frequent personal contact I am having with my supervisors is promoting not only my academic voice but also my personal growth. Attending regular meetings with my supervisors has proven beneficial, as the amount of knowledge I am getting is exceptionally valuable. I have been learning from their experience in academia and therefore learning to find my own academic voice. 

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About the author

Halima is a final-year PhD student of linguistics at Manchester Metropolitan University. Manchester, United Kingdom, is the first European city that she’s lived in and represents the beginning of her study abroad adventure. The support and guidance she’s received from the faculty and staff at Manchester Metropolitan University are aiding her self and professional development, and helping her to find her own academic voice.

Last update: 14 Dec 2020

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