International student Amani embraced the supportive community at Reading and created strong foundations for her future research.
Amani made the decision to return to education after a successful career in her home country of Kuwait. She chose to study MA Fine Art at Reading and explore traditional Al-Sadu weaving practices in a creative environment. Thanks to the support she received, she is now expanding her research further in her PhD at Reading.
A return to education
Amani always knew she wanted to return to education but made the decision to wait until the time was right in her career.
“Before coming to Reading to study for my master’s, I worked as a teacher, headmaster, supervisor, and art mentor. I was given an excellent opportunity to continue my studies through a sponsored scholarship through my job.”
Similarly to other international students, Amani didn’t have the opportunity to visit the university campus before choosing where she studied. She made her decision to study at Reading after researching the University and School online.
“As an international student, the information I learned from the website made Reading my only choice - being able to see examples of the student experience, their work, and the excellent facilities.”
Amani found the School of Art and the University a fantastic place for an international student to study and was encouraged to embrace the creative and collaborative environment within the School. She found that working with students from all over the globe really helped with developing her ideas and creating her work.
“The School was very collaborative; it was great to have such a diverse group of international students. We worked together a lot, especially in the exhibition of our work. The diversity of other students helped with brainstorming and the development of my work”
Amani was given the opportunity to have her work seen externally, building her brand both in the UK and internationally.
“We had the chance to exhibit our work in spaces both inside and outside the University. These opportunities allowed us to understand how to think of our work in different spaces, especially those we are not familiar with. We also had opportunities to collaborate on how best to utilise the spaces and the use of different mediums such as light and the space itself.”
Take the next step
At Reading, Amani was continually supported and encouraged to explore her creative interests, which prompted her to look toward starting a PhD. Reading was the first choice for Amani due to the friendly, collaborative, and supportive learning environment she experienced at the School of Art while studying for her master’s.
“The staff were very generous and friendly, they helped me on the right creative path and improved my critical thinking”
Amani’s PhD is focused on continuing her research exploring intangible cultural heritage for Al-Sadu values, and how it affects children’s sense of belonging and identity.
“I aim to use my art-based research background in Al-Sadu weaving and concentrate on children's art and drawings, analysing their art and combing this with my research. I am interested in how children are affected or influenced by Al-Sadu and how this influence may change their way of acting in life.”
Excellent pastoral care
Amani thoroughly recommends the University of Reading as an excellent place for international students to study thanks to her experience in such a supportive and nurturing environment.
“It is an amazing place; I love the green campus. There are always different activities going on at the University, you really get the feeling the University cares about the students. It is a very social and engaging place to study. This really helped me not to get homesick.”