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Nour Albaarini

Big Data Analytics - MSc

In 2011, halfway through his Computer Engineering studies, Nour left Syria with this family and fled to Jordan. After four years he was relocated to the UK through a resettlement programme. It had always been his dream to study in the UK. But with a language barrier and no entitlement to a student loan to cover his tuition fees, Nour began to lose hope. But despite the challenges he secured a place at BCU and went onto achieve a first-class degree. 

“Since I was a kid, I dreamt to come to the UK to study. I arrived with my family and had so many plans in my head. I reached the UK on the 27 January 2016 at 10am, I will never forget the exact time I entered my house for the first time.

I knew I was going to be facing lots of challenges, the main one being the language barrier. When I first came to the UK, I couldn’t speak any English which meant I couldn’t communicate with others and that was a very difficult period for me.

To overcome this, I studied English for nine to twelve hours and within four months I was able to speak English. I then completed the IELTS exam which I passed first time, meaning I could now apply to university. I joined BCU in September 2016 to study Computer Science. Through lots of focus and hard work I was able to achieve high grades.

Unfortunately, when I first began my studies, I was told that I was not eligible to get a loan for my tuition fees. Refugee action helped me find a solution to my tuition issue, and after speaking to BCU I was offered a three-year scholarship.   

My undergraduate degree in Computer Science allowed me to improve on my technical skills such as programming and Data structures, but also my general communication skills. This included meeting lots of new people, presenting in front of peers and team work. The Industry standard facilities at BCU are great! Back in Syria, almost 80 percent of the course was theory based and only 20 percent was practical, but the course at BCU has lots of practical elements. This has allowed me to feel more work ready – as practical experience is very welcomed in industry. Whenever I was struggling, staff would always offer support. They have made me who I am today.     

Completing my postgraduate course in Big Data Analytics MSc has allowed me to learn advanced techniques in artificial intelligence and programming. Through this course I have been able to meet new people from all around the world and learn about their experiences in industry. I also joined the BCU Arab Society as well as the Postgraduate Society, which allowed me to meet other people and hear their stories. I feel a part of the BCU community and my confidence has grown massively.

Of course, I do miss my friends from back home but I am very grateful to have been given the opportunity to study in the UK and begin my career. I am currently working on my dissertation for my MSc and I plan on starting my PhD in September. I love academia, my experience at BCU has built my love for teaching and becoming someone who can share their knowledge with others. I was inspired by many of my lecturers, which is why I am now a teaching-demonstrator in the CEBE faculty.        

I am grateful for the focus being put on education for Refugees. There has been an increase in awareness to the challenges, difficulties and achievements of refugees, which I think will help others in the same situation that I was.

To me, 'I AM BCU' means providing support to achieve the best version of yourself.  Whenever I was struggling there were people who supported me and helped me to work towards my degree. Most importantly, they have helped to make my dream come true. I am so happy to have chosen to study here and I am proud to be a part of I AM BCU.”    

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