Nabeel Ismaeel

Nabeel Ismaeel

Prior to attending University, I had been always been interested by both Business Studies and Economics and studied both subjects at A-level. However, from initial research I founded that Universities incorporate a lot of maths into economics at degree level, therefore, I decided on opting for International Business Studies as it had key elements of macroeconomics and also focused on larger businesses, which is an area within the field of business I always preferred.

Additionally, the Middle East was always a fascinating region for me as the culture and language was very intriguing and I always fancied myself living abroad one day. After speaking with various career advisors at my sixth form who highlighted the importance of being bilingual in today’s society, I started assessing the possibility of studying Arabic. Thus, I found myself in a dilemma as I thoroughly enjoyed business studies and at the same time I was captivated by the idea of going down the language root. I then looked at possible universities where I could combine the two subjects and found that the majority of higher education institutions are very rigid in their degree specifications and didn’t offer the combination I was looking for. This for me, highlights the beauty of Leeds and why I ultimately decided to apply. Leeds offers a huge range of joint honours programmes and allows you to tailor your degree to your key passions and for this reason I have really enjoyed my four years here. Leeds also is a campus university within a city, meaning everything is laid out together and at the same time you’re in the heart of the city.

Education at Leeds has been at the highest of levels, within both the Business School and the School of Languages, Cultures and Society. Tutors are very punctual in responding to emails and provide all the support you need for completing assignments and achieving the best grades in examinations. Furthermore, staff always organise guest lectures, careers fairs and extra study sessions to guide you throughout your academic life and prepare you for the future.

In comparison to other universities which teach Arabic and send students off abroad in their third year, Leeds organise the year abroad for the second year which proves to be extremely beneficial in numerous ways. Firstly, in order for one’s language skills to improve, it is necessary to immerse oneself in the country where that language is spoken and doing it in the second year allows students to increase their language skills quicker. Secondly, as the first year and the year abroad doesn’t go towards the classification, going abroad prior to the final two years lifts a lot of stress as you’re not in between the years which count towards your degree and allows you to maintain the momentum from third to fourth year. For my year abroad, I was in Fes in Morocco and it proved to be the best year of my academic life. Morocco significantly improved my Arabic speaking skills and provided me with vital life experiences of living independently in a foreign country and boosted my confidence when conversing in Arabic. It was also very cheap and the weather was beautiful the whole year, which made a change to life in the North or England! In all honesty it was the best part of my degree.

I am currently in my final year of my undergraduate studies and these four years have been an incredible adventure and a learning curve. I am definitely going to miss Leeds as a city and the University and I hope to keep in touch with some of my lecturers as they have played an important role in teaching me one of the world’s most beautiful languages. Looking ahead, I hope to work abroad in Qatar or Saudi Arabia within the field of financial sales, where my language skills and knowledge of business that I have gained from Leeds will aid me greatly. I am also contemplating with the idea of attending Medina University in Saudi Arabia where I will study Arabic in further depth. Overall, wherever life takes me in the future, I will be forever grateful for the teaching and support I have received from the University of Leeds.

For anyone who’s looking to apply to Leeds or University in general, I would advise them to have a keen passion in what you’re going to study as it will be the dominant subject for the next three to four years. Anyone who’s looking to study a language, it is vital that they are passionate about the Arabic Language and Arab culture in general and remember a language cannot be learnt solely in a classroom, you have to spend a lot of your own time in reading. I believe this applies to any language not just Arabic. My last piece of advice is to work hard! As much as university is about building friendships and living independently, don’t forget why you’re applying and what the purpose of undertaking higher education is.