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Student Profile: Safiya Ali

Course: SA

MPhil/PhD Politics and International Studies

How did you find out about Warwick?

I saw a notice about the Yesu Persaud Centre for Caribbean Studies on Facebook. It prompted me to look at what Warwick had to offer for PhD programmes and research interests connected to the Caribbean.

Did you consider applying anywhere else? What made you choose Warwick?

I looked at Edinburgh and Glasgow because I did my Masters in Edinburgh and loved those cities. My friends and siblings studied in many different countries so that was not a factor in choosing my PhD university.

I made contact with a supervisor who was very responsive and encouraging. The research areas were diverse and there were many international focusses which suited my background and research interests. The university itself also provided information easily through the website and email, so it seemed like it would be a good choice for a long term research environment.

How did you find the application process?

I applied online. The system was clear and easy to use. There was a lot of information to also help with the visa application process so I did not have to get assistance.

How was your arrival? What were your first impressions of campus?

Arrival and orientation went exactly according to the Welcome Warwick emails and instructions. I was able to complete registration and collect my BRP and ID card fairly quickly. I think the university information and emails for an international student are excellent and I really felt prepared to arrive on campus.

The university was obviously very busy in that arrival weekend, but I was impressed with the organization and efficiency of all the registration processes. My first view was of the piazza area and it seemed like a welcoming space for a campus.

What is the best thing about being a student at Warwick?

It is a really diverse student population with so many activities and societies. You can find your niche and like-minded people even if you’re not from the UK and don't know anyone. I like the emphasis on student welfare, which is sometimes an overlooked aspect of the university experience even though it impacts student lives and performance.

How is your accommodation?

I got allocated off campus accommodation in a very conveniently located area of Coventry City Centre. It is fairly new and comfortable.

Have you joined any clubs or societies?

I joined the Islamic Society and participated in some of the welcome week activities and also term time socials and educational events. It was good to have contact with a variety of people, international and local students, who are outside the department.

Have you had chance to travel at all during your studies?

I have not traveled to Europe yet while I’ve been at Warwick. It is part of my plans but as I am in a long term programme I have time! I have visited London, Oxford and Cornwall and plan to continue making similar trips.

What makes you happiest about being a student at Warwick?

Open green spaces. If I have to live inland (having always lived on a island or along a coast), it helps that campus is not a cramped collection of tall buildings.

What do you plan to do when you graduate?

I came into the PhD with prior experience so I hope to continue to work in my field, which might be for international organizations or governments. Or continue in academia if I have the opportunity.

Do you have any advice for anyone considering studying at Warwick?

Look at the research interests of professors and even current PhD students to figure out what most connects with your area. Make contact with someone, or several people that share your interests. Their responses will help you decide or clarify what you want to research or how your proposal might fit into research interests in your department. Making a connection beforehand will help with your arrival and commencement of your studies.