'The best week of my academic career so far'

Amrah Qureshi is a student at the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) in Pakistan, studying a Master's in Environmental Sciences. She attended the ACU Summer School 2017, held at Bath Spa University in the UK, in August 2017. We spoke to Amrah to find out how attending the Summer School has had a positive impact on her. 

Amrah Qureshi Summer School 2017

Amrah Qureshi (on the right) at the ACU Summer School 2017 final dinner and awards presentation

What made you decide to attend the Summer School?

I still remember the day when I got an email subjected 'ACU Commonwealth Summer School' and in no time I knew that I was going to be a part of this incredible event in 2017. Considering that our environment is boundless and so are its dimensions, Environmental Arts and Humanities is one such concept that I was eager to explore.

Moreover, a constant aspiration to participate in interactive events and programmes motivated me to apply. And of course, sightseeing British culture and beauty while learning about current environmental concerns was inviting.

Why do you think it’s important for students to take advantage of international opportunities during their studies?

Educational exchange events are indeed important for networking, polishing skills, and documenting your talent. Getting introduced to different cultures, histories and people’s mind sets from around the world deepen one’s knowledge and is quite interesting. Moreover, travelling makes you learn and experience things that you will cherish for a lifetime. The more you acquire interactive opportunities at your student stage, the more self-confident you will be in your career.

The best part about getting involved at such events is realising that learning is not bound by geographic or multicultural differences. I suggest that you should never be too afraid to enter any career-advancement opportunity that knocks at your door, no matter how unapproachable you think it is, and you will thank yourself later – as I just did!

What did you learn from travelling to a new country and meeting delegates of different nationalities?

Besides literary exposure, I consider this Summer School was a great opportunity to interact with people from a diverse mix of cultural and educational backgrounds, and gain personal and professional development. From Bath’s scenic beauty and heritage-rich sites to its astounding outskirts, I found England and its locals quite alluring.

A bunch of delegates from around the globe, all aimed at creating greener narratives with a variety of perspectives and inspiring thoughts made me learn a lot about my subject in an artistic and creative way. ‘World-café’ style discussion (an activity during SS) with international delegates was extremely engaging and knowledgeable about customs and beliefs around the world. I literally discovered myself by stepping out of my comfort zone in this one particular week!

How will you share the knowledge and skills gained at the Summer School now you’re back in your home country?

With motivation to draw insights on anthropogenically induced climate change through the environmental arts and humanities, I intend to communicate the concept whenever I'm given an opportunity to. I am now also well-informed of Commonwealth and Chevening scholarship opportunities that would be of great assistance in pursuing higher studies or guiding others around me.

Research-oriented sessions and workshops at the Summer School have improved my vision and approach towards conducting and documenting my current research. Being an expat there made me respect the opinions of others and be more patient towards conflicting views, which I believe is a worthy gain. I’m already onto spreading the knowledge and experience gained in the UK among my peerss, be it cultural, historical, or academic.

Has the Summer School had an effect on your future plans – and if so, how?

I must admit that this has been the best week of my entire academic career so far, the comprehensive approach, productive conversations with international delegates and excursions enlightened me in many ways. I consider it just the beginning of a successful academic journey, which I plan to extend further by looking out for more fellowship programmes, as this one has set my path towards a more focussed professional life. I now aspire to represent Pakistan at more prestigious forums worldwide. Moreover, I will always be gratified to The ACU, Bath Spa University, and my institute NUST for letting me inculcate the acquired skills and strive for a successful career.

ACU Internationalisation CommunityThe  ACU Summer School is just one way in which the ACU supports academic mobility across the Commonwealth and beyond. Each year, it brings together around 40 students – who are either final year undergraduates or postgraduates – for a week of interactive study, including workshops, field trips and group project work.

The Summer School is hosted by a different ACU member institution each year, selected through a competitive tendering process, and based around a different theme. Next year's Summer School will take place at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, centred on 'Designing and creating sustainable communites'. Read more or email summerschool@acu.ac.uk 

Last modified on 12/12/2017
Tags: students, scholarships, ACU Internationalisation Community, Internationalisation