Moustafa Abdelwahab, an Egypitian international student studying BEng Civil &  Structural Engineering

Moustafa Abdelwahab

Why did you decide to study at the University of Leeds?

There are many reasons why I chose The University of Leeds, starting with the University Ranking. At the time I was applying, the university was ranked amongst the top 100 universities worldwide and amongst the top 5 engineering schools in the UK. The university also had a very good graduate reputation which is in demand worldwide.

The second reason was the challenging nature of the courses which provided me with access to the most recent industrial practices. The course also included sufficient amount of theoretical and research focused knowledge that has allowed me to understand the thinking behind most aspects of civil and structural engineering, and this was something that helped me become competitive when applying for placements.

What has been the best aspect of studying on your course and at the University and why?

Since Childhood, I have enjoyed playing with Lego bricks and as I grew older, this hobby only grew bigger. Therefore, I came to realise that a structural engineering degree is the most suitable for me, as it would allow me to do my hobby for living after I graduate. After going through almost two years of my degree, I can say the best aspect is the challenging nature of the course. This is embedded in the teaching methodology, which pushes the students to seek knowledge and get a hands-on experience of most taught aspects through engineering group projects, modelling assignments and on-site construction modules which have helped broaden my understanding of the civil engineering field.

The best aspect of the university in general, is its union and the wide range of activities and societies they have to offer. During my 1st year, I was a hiking volunteer and a member of the Model United Nations Society. You just hope you have enough time to discover them all.

Tell us about some of the exciting projects you have completed so far?

I could speak all day about the various projects that we had, but the most noticeable are the Pavilion Design project, Sustainability Energy Scheme project and finally, the group Surveying Project. In the pavilion design project, I worked in a group of four to design all aspects of a pavilion in St. George’s Field wihch really allowed us to use our imagination in coming up with architectural concepts, structural details and use of various software packages to reach our design goals.

The Sustainability Energy Scheme project ran for the entire 1st year and it had the largest number of produced technical documents. The group project had the aim of designing an energy farm in any location in North Yorkshire with various requirements specified by the client of the project. I really liked this project as it had no limitations on what we could propose as a team and all of the documents we made the project feel more official, which added more to the challenging nature of the project and helped me to become more competent in writing technical reports.

Finally, the group surveying project was a hands-on experience of a class taught module. The entire first year civil went to Bircham Newton for one week and practised preparing the surveying side of multiple projects using some of the modern surveying equipment typically used in the industry.

What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?

Having visited multiple cities in the UK, I can say Leeds is one of the most tailored cities for best student experience. From its nightlife, restaurants, cafes and malls etc. to its location in the heart of West Yorkshire, which makes it perfect for traveling to nearby historical cities such as York or Sheffield and its location close to National Parks for Hiking or climbing.

I have definitely enjoyed the Hiking Activities arranged by the Students’ Union and I look forward to trying more activities in the time I have left in Leeds.

What are your ambitions for the future?

When I first joined Leeds University, I planned to graduate and follow a career as Chartered Structural Engineer. Then I got accepted into the UGRLs Program. This offered me a whole new path into research. Therefore, my plans might change in the next couple of years but I am confident I will find an exclusive opportunity provided by the university in whichever path I choose. For now I aim to follow a research path for a few years, then enter the structural engineering market and work towards becoming a chartered engineer.

What experiences at Leeds do you think will help you in your future career?

The intensive projects and assignments which are tailored at an ever-changing market is what I believe will make me ready to pursue a career in whatever field I choose. These projects have given me direct technical knowledge and I have developed essential skills such as self-dependence, self-motivation, being able to work, communication and the ability to progress effectively in a large group with different backgrounds.

What would you say to students coming to do the same course?

Well done for getting accepted to this great course and look forward to the best time of your life. The key to succeeding in an engineering degree is to find to find the right study-enjoyment balance that suits you and your level of studies.

From experience, I would advise any student passionate about reaching somewhere special in his/her future career is to make really good use of the various opportunities provided by the Engineering Department and the School of Civil Engineering, you never know which opportunity will be the one that makes you shine!

Finally, follow your passion and let it drive you somewhere special!