Date published: March 16, 2018
One World Week: Kariem Reda
One World Week is a week-long celebration of different cultures.
As part of One World Week, we've asked some of our students to write us a guest blog post about where they’re from, their culture and their experiences at Salford.
Today we're featuring a blog post from Kariem, a student from Egypt.
My name is Kariem Reda, I did a Masters degree in Biotechnology back in 2015 and now I’m studying a Masters in Business and Global Management - so I have loads of free time. I am from Cairo, the city that never sleeps. Egypt is such a marvellous place; its history and wonders make it a huge attraction for tourists, but that’s ancient Egypt, modern Egypt is busy and so full of life. You can go out at two in the morning and you’ll still find shops open, with people everywhere. The photo below is from my latest visit in February, and yes - that was taken at 2:30am of people waiting for their restaurant reservations.
Choosing to study abroad was a tough decision as it would mark the first time I’d been away from my parents and friends - and also my first time in a foreign country. The first day I arrived in the UK was on a Sunday afternoon and, to my surprise, all the shops were closed. Initially, I was convinced Salford was a ghost town (probably because I’m used to Egypt’s Friday - Saturday weekend), but right away I met a lovely lady at the University called Hannah that guided me through that first day. The day after I went to Uni and found out about the welcome week events, which was a great experience to meet new friends who would join me to discover the city later on.
The UK’s education system is quite different to Egypt’s, here it’s more engaging, requires you to critically think and evaluate the information given, while in Egypt it is mostly about memorising. I’ve got to admit that writing my first report here wasn’t an easy task, but with the help of lecturers, library staff, AskUs desk and - of course - my friends, I was able to get it done.
The UK’s weather… where to start? It’s different as well. Egypt is constantly sunny and warm, with the coldest night in winter being a ridiculous 14¿C - which is more like summer here. One thing that is really hard to get used to, and still is after all these years, is the rain and cloudy skies.
One of the best things about Manchester is its people. People here are really friendly and helpful, with many going the extra mile to help you, especially the staff here at Salford University. I’ve had nothing but friendly smiles so far, which has made it the best experience I’ve had in any country.
Moving from a foreign country to the UK, you’re bound to face a cultural difference - one I chose to overcome by joining different events, groups and societies at the university (International Café, every Thursday 6-8 pm - I’m looking at you). These were all great ways to broaden my knowledge of different cultures and habits, with some of them being surprisingly similar to Egypt. Coming to Salford has let me make friends all over the world.
To make the most of my experience here at Salford, I involved myself with quite a lot of activities and social events to develop my people skills, which later helped me become a student rep for my Masters class, the school rep, student life host and now a student ambassador. Interacting with people from all these different cultures, backgrounds, faiths and languages has helped shape my personality and character in a way that makes me proud of the person I’ve become.
Back home I play table tennis all the time, so I joined the table tennis club here at the University, but I didn’t want to stop there - so I tried all manner of new sports that I didn’t (well, couldn’t) have done in Egypt. I went snowboarding and kayaking, did archery, martial arts, dancing and badminton - I enjoyed all of them. Snowboarding was definitely a favourite, as we don’t have snow in Egypt, so it was my first time to see the stuff (the photo below was taken at Chill Factore).
My experience in the UK has been absolutely great (not you, rain), and I can’t wait to discover some new places and travel even more. Manchester has been - and always will be - my home away from home. Happy One World Week everyone!