I was living in Saudi Arabia before I came here and originally I'm from Pakistan. I enjoy experiencing different cultures but I felt London and the busy lifestyle weren’t for me.I knew Kent was a really good university for Psychology, it's in the top ten, and so I enrolled here. I didn't visit first - I just went with my gut!
I arrived in a taxi with my parents and it was really scary at first, I didn't know what I was doing or where I was going! But I followed the signs to Elliot college and there was a whole team of students saying 'Hi! Welcome to Kent! Do you need any help?' Two of them insisted on carrying my bags even though my parents were there to help! I didn't expect people to be so friendly. I found it really easy to make friends.
I love the variety. We'll have a seminar where we discuss the subject that is going to be covered in the lecture. Then it's straight off to the lecture where we get the substance of it, the actual knowledge, and the lecturer will discuss different studies that have been done. A few days later we'll be doing a workshop learning the techniques for analysing data and how to use the specialist software. Then we'll have the work, where we are put in to groups and given a topic. We have to plan and conduct a study and write a report, so there's a bit of everything.
I’m quite a hands-on person so I need to do something in order to learn it from it. Here, you get the theory and then you apply the theory. Psychology students all help in the Research Participation Scheme, where you take part in the studies that the final-year and postgrad students are doing. So, in your first two years here you learn about what happens and then in your final year you do it yourself.
Last year, I did forensic psychology, looking at criminals and the psychology of criminal behaviour. Our main lecturer was conducting research on gangs in South America, looking at the psychology of individuals within a gang and I thought that was so cool. Right now one of my lecturers is working here at the University two days a week and the rest of the week she works in a local prison as a practitioner, treating offenders.
We get a lot of support from the lecturers. With so many students you thin kthey won't have time to talk to you but you can just go and chat to them after lectures. They want to give you their time and teach you and that’s what I really appreciate.
The School holds informal talks once a fortnight, followed by a social get-together –it’s called Café Psychology. A lecturer will speak about an area they are researching and sometimes give demonstrations of the instruments they are using, like the EEG, for instance, which measures your brain waves.
The library is my favourite place on campus. I'm one of those people who won't work if I stay at home so I go to the library and really zone in and get it done. The labs are good too.
There are lots of social events. I like Canterbury. It's really cute because it’s quite small. You see everyone there – students, locals, tourists – and I like diversity because that’s what I grew up with. You hear a mixture of different languages being spoken.
I'm interested in mental illnesses - treatment and causes, and how they develop - so my dissertation next year will focus on that area. I would like to do further study so that I can work in psychology.
Wrap up warm! It gets cold here - especially if you've just come from Saudi Arabia!