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Syeda Aaliya Shehzadi

Syeda Aaliya Shehzadi

University of Antwerp, Belgium

Country of origin: Pakistan
Study course: PhD in Organic Chemistry

Why did you decide to study abroad?
I’d like to answer this question starting from this quote “travelling thousand miles is far better than studying thousand books.” I decided to study abroad mainly for two reasons, first, my field the Organic Chemistry: because of some limited lab conditions I wanted to get broader experience of study and research. Secondly, I wanted to explore and experience the culture in other parts of the world that I tried to find in the books. But, couldn’t get the original taste as much as you can when you are abroad, where you see all characters out of your books right in front of you. So it’s not just academic learning, but also learning of life.

What made you decide on this university?
To be honest this university was chosen for me through my Erasmus programme, but once I got there I found it to be an amazing place; the people, culture, food and working environment everything is amazing.

How is your experience of studying abroad?
For me, studying abroad is a life-changing experience. First of all by studying abroad you discover yourself and your own abilities. Living far from your home, family and friends initially doesn’t seem attractive, but once you do it, you find yourself in totally amazing situation. In this way, you manage all of your own life dealings: accommodation, food, driving, travelling making new friends etc. By studying abroad, you also learn your study programme in a different perspective. The education is different in different countries, so you learn with broader vision. The chance to learn new languages is a very attractive experience, as I am learning Dutch at the moment. Also career opportunities become double or triple because of your vast knowledge about local area and industries. Overall if you miss out on studying abroad, you are missing a lot in your life!

Why do you think others should not miss out on studying at your university
University of Antwerp is a really nice place to study, we have three main and three other campuses. This is a really young university – not only in the Europe but also in the Belgium. University of Antwerp is ranked 11 by Times Higher Education in ‘THE 150 Under 50’, a ranking of the world’s top 150 universities under 50 years of age. That’s proves how quickly the university is filling the gap between top ones. Also according to a recent report by the “Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD),” education in Belgium ranks third-best among the 35 OECD countries. This is due to highest level of pre-school participation, good teachers, and a broad and flexible higher education system. University regularly arranges open campus days where you can get all of the information regarding your study plans, and student career days where representatives from almost all industries take part, allowing students to meet them and get an idea for choosing their future job.