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Tarek Omran

Tarek Omran

University of Turku, Finland

Country of origin: Egypt
Study course: PhD in Biomaterials Science

Why did you decide to study abroad?
Let me begin by explaining why study further and then explain why abroad. I decided to pursue my postgraduate studies in the field of Dentistry, because simply becoming a dentist was not enough! PROBLEM? There is a hefty amount of complexities when it comes to “long-lasting” or “trouble-free” dentistry. We all know it, and you probably felt it too when visiting your dentist! That is simply a result of “knowledge-gaps” that exist in our textbooks. These empty spaces in dental sciences ought to be filled. SOLUTION? Become a researcher and hope to add a few lines to our textbooks. Hence, taking on this path in the research field was an objective from the get-go.

So why abroad?

There is a quote that has inspired me for many years – “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch. When you deeply think about it, it seems true. Therefore, I aimed to embark on this journey of knowledge abroad for two reasons. First, to learn novel scientific ideas from the source and help contribute to its development. Second, to make sure I am indulged in a completely foreign environment – surrounded by (literally) different everything and anything. Different culture, different climate (I am ice-swimming in winters now!) and maybe not so different people (apparently we are all the same!). By doing that, I was confident to expand my learning in both scientific and personal aspects.

What made you decide on this university?
It was not a mere decision per se. I believe coming to the University of Turku was destiny. Ever since my undergrad studies, I have been reading extra curricular research papers. So I was unintentionally acquainted with innovative research that originated (or was developed at) the University of Turku. The funny thing is, I never payed attention to the source of those interesting researches. So when I my teacher casually advised me  to visit the University of Turku and experience the research field, it all made sense.

How is your experience of studying abroad?
Experiencing a differing educational approach is rewarding on many levels and certainly helps you develop rapidly in your field. In my opinion the city you end up going to really matters! Turku, for instance, is captivating! First, it is a fully-fledged student city; there are about 40,000 students studying at the six institutions of higher education in Turku, and just about every fourth person you meet is actually a student or an expert working at one of the universities. Secondly, although quite small and cosy, it still has everything a large metropolitan city has to offer: theaters, shopping malls, various restaurants and international cuisines (including the best Indian restaurant in Finland), many sport clubs and fitness centers, all year round events, and even, a beautiful Cathedral. All that within cycling or even walking distance. Nonetheless, experiencing the beautiful white snow and the mesmerizing Northern Lights were two things successfully crossed off my bucket list. The long Sunny days of 20 hours or more are definitely something I am happy to have experienced.

Why do you think others should not miss out on studying at your university
With 5,000 publications per year, the University of Turku [UTU] ranks among the top 1% of university (QS University World Ranking). Also according to THE World University Ranking, UTU is the most international university in Finland, having students from over 100 countries. The university offers over 130 subjects, from 7 main faculties. Whether it is Humanities, Education, Natural sciences or Economics, the UTU will accommodate almost everyone’s interests. On top of that, UTU is a university for entrepreneurship. If you are an innovator or have an entrepreneurial mindset, then you should know that the UTU offers innovation services and provides a dedicated platform for start-ups and spin-offs emerging from research (and its on the house 😉 ). Nevertheless, the relaxed studying environment and state-of-the-art facilities make it the perfect studying destination for anyone willing to have an unforgettable learning experience.