Youssef Ramadan, an Egyptian international student studying Mechanical Engineering

Youssef Ramadan

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

Being an international student, my choice of university was heavily based on rankings. When I was applying, the University of Leeds was generally ranked in the top 5 for mechanical engineering in the UK and top 100 in the world. That, as well as its being a Russell Group University made Leeds a very attractive option.

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

In terms of the course, the best aspect has been the practical experience that I gained, alongside the theory. This is especially true now, in second year, as the lab experiments reinforce my comprehension of some theoretical concepts which I struggled to understand otherwise. When it comes to studying at the university, I find that the wide range of options provided under the “broadening” scheme has really allowed me to expand beyond academics. Though as a mechanical engineer I do not get to choose discovery modules, I was still able to practice Spanish via language exchange partners, study in Germany during the summer, volunteer as an intercultural ambassador and even take part in engineering outreach by running activities at a nearby school.

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

In first year we were divided into teams and had to design and build rubber band powered buggies. While designing and building the buggy was quite fun, it was the race which took place towards the end of January, that was the most exciting part by far. Though we had theoretical approximations for the buggy’s supposed behaviour, the reality was that anything could happen, and it took hours of testing and familiarising ourselves with how our buggy worked to ensure that we knew how to set it up and let it go during the race. On the day of the race everyone was excited as a higher ranking meant a higher grade. As other people were stressing out, my team and I prepared our buggy just like we had during the trial runs. By the end of the day we had received a prize for achieving 2nd place out of 27 teams. If there was one thing we learned, it was that consistency always matters the most, as some buggies, though faster than ours, broke down halfway through the race.

What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?

Leeds is quite a self-contained city. Depending on where you end up living, you’ll either enjoy the comfort of being 2 minutes away from the main campus, making you less likely to miss 9 am lectures, or near the city centre, which saves you having to walk back for 15 minutes with bags full of groceries! There are lots of things constantly going on and it can almost be painful to choose one activity at the expense of another. There are also many restaurants, shops, cinemas, museums, and much more!

What are your ambitions for the future?

I wish to become a chartered engineer and work as an engineering consultant within the renewable energy sector.

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

I think that other than the exciting academic projects that I’ve taken part in, my current involvement in the Enactus society’s student-led energy consultancy is one of the things that will help me most in my future career. While we’re not geared towards renewable energy, the commercial exposure that I’m getting as well as the technical skills that I’m developing from the project will be very relevant to the jobs that I will apply for in the future.

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

Two words really; get involved. Focus on your assignments but also don’t miss out on the many opportunities offered by the university and the student union as it would really be a shame if you reached the end of your degree without having tried new things. Not only will you really enjoy whatever you do and meet amazing people, your involvement will also set you apart from other candidates once you start applying for jobs, as you’ll have more than just a degree from a prestigious university.