Life at Middlesex Uni (Dubai Campus): Perspective of a transfer student – Kulsum Nasser

Hi Guys..

Thought we’d make write a post based on the life of a transfer student. Regardless of what stage you are in life right now, I am sure a lot can be learnt from this. Perhaps you may even get a review on Middlesex University ;).

Before I continue, I’d like to thank Kulsum Nasser for being a part of this and sharing her journey. If anyone is into some Poetry and Philosophy, do check out her blog on wordpress called “Itshumanfeelosophy” .. what a cool name that isn’t it?

A little bit about Kulsum’s background: She’s lived in Tanzania all her life and completed most of her education there. First of all, she did her IGCSE’s and then completed a UK based qualification provided by ABE (The Association of Business Executives). She achieved a Level 6 Graduate Diploma that’s equivalent to a University Degree.

How and why did she decide to go to Middlesex?

ABE is an excellent qualification to obtain as it does develop your problem solving, people and communication skills. However it is not a qualification that is widely recognised and hence may cause her difficulties when looking for a job. So she pursued a “Top up”,  which meant enrolling into the final year of an Honors Degree programme using the earned exemptions from ABE. Now she studies at Middlesex University in Dubai! Living the dream in a luxurious city I tell ya.

Lets talk about interests and passion!

We asked her what sparked her interest in Business and Management which is what she currently studies. She explained how she appreciated being given a chance to “create” rather than “calculate and theorise”. Much of her passion derives from her interest in creative arts and literature. She describes herself as being a hands on problem solver.

“The thought of creating and sustaining businesses just excited me. In my first semester at College, I developed a deep appreciation for Entrepreneurship and that’s what I want to major in”.

“I’m also really passionate about raising awareness on social causes, particularly matters on animal cruelty etc. I do intend to dedicate a portion of my professional life trying to make a change to underrated causes such as this one, and I realised that a dream would be worth nothing if I didn’t know how to actually manage, sustain and grow it”.

Adjusting within a new environment

University is hard anyway, especially the first few weeks because you are trying your best to adjust in this new place. It’s much more difficult when you have just moved into a new country. Kulsum told us how she arrived in Dubai, 5 hours before her induction. If I were you I’d skip that, just go to the beach y’know. But hats off to the dedication. She even explained how tough it was settling into a new environment where everyone had known each other because of completing the foundation years together.

Some differences in the academics( ABE vs BA)

“Professionals are known for being very direct, we focus on the problem at hand and how best and quickly we can solve it. As academics, I am now getting acquainted the main form of thinking which covers understanding the basis of why, what, and then how– which is fundamentally different than what I was used to”.

Overcoming problems

Kulsum’s professor has a part to play in making her feel comfortable and also shedding a few words of wisdom that have really helped her push through these problems. He said “As people, we crave two things. Acceptance and structure – lack of which can cause fear and unsettlement”. He also further explained to her how unfortunate it would be if we decided not pursue something just because of fear we associated with the unknown.

She listened to the words of her professor and decided to step outside her comfort zone. She made sure she communicated and found out information that she needed. The motto is simple, if you don’t ask, you won’t get it.

What she likes about Middlesex University

Friendly people and a very diverse university.

“MDX is so beautifully diverse in terms of how many nationalities we have on campus, and I love how fast I’m mentally taken back home when I hear two people speaking Swahili; it’s incredible how appreciative I’ve become towards something that I once so easily took for granted”.

Three-fold advice for current students!

1. Adopt the you don’t ask, you don’t get policy

2. Keep reading ahead, and take initiative – Being new should not be an excuse!

3. Communicate with others – making new friends will make it easier and memorable

Some final words..

“I think that University plays a huge role in making us the people that we are. Therefore, the presence of purpose and self-appreciation throughout this journey is crucial. As a transfer, you do have to take initiative to make new friends, but not the expense of your morals and your beliefs. Finding friends with the same mindset as you is honestly so important, as they provide you with motivation throughout the year, and you become each other’s honest advisors and keep each other in check. Apart from that, I am already anticipating good days and bad days, and I keep telling myself that each and every day is a blessing and it brings me closer to what I really want to be doing, and I think that purpose is what keeps me going, even through tough days with 4 back to back classes and no break for Lunch!”

This brings us to the end of today’s post. Whether you are a transfer/international student yourself, or just a curious reader we hope Kulsum’s journey and advice has helped you. Even though you may not be able to directly relate to her, the main conclusion drawn from this is to achieve your dreams no matter how hard it may seem. We certainly have learnt a lot from her experience and taken inspiration from it that can be applied no matter where you are in life.

Thank you so much for reading..

Next post continues our look into WBS Alumnis; where are they now!

Arifa and Team.


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