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Anas Awwad didn't get the opportunity to embark on his PhD until he was 46 - but he made up for lost time. It was Anas's dream to do a PhD in the UK, and some dreams are worth waiting for. 

At Reading, his research focused on Second Language Acquisition. He explored the effects of cognitive task complexity on second language speech performance within a Task-Based Language Teaching approach. 

"I was attracted to Reading by the global reputation of the Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics, and the University in general - as well as the high rate of student satisfaction and the positive reviews."

An inspiring environment

Anas was inspired by the supportive environment he found at Reading, especially his supervisor who "believed in me (more than myself) from the first day to the last day. She inspired and encouraged me to excel and achieve high."

Anas also appreciated the opportunities the Department offered him in helping with teaching, mentoring, and marking. He enjoyed participating in 13 conferences as a presenter and seven conferences as a helper during his studies.

Along with the challenges that come with embarking on study at PhD level, Anas worked hard to fill the gap between the academic skills he had upon arrival and the level of skills needed to successfully progress his PhD study. His greatest achievement was managing to complete his PhD, which included doing seven taught modules and two research studies, within only three years.

"What made this a great milestone was that during this period, I was doing several part-time roles on campus, attended a three-month CELTA course off-campus, got published, and not to mention raising a family with three children."

Staying motivated

Anas advises PhD students to believe in themselves and stay highly motivated during this long journey. He also reminds them that:

"You don't have to be genius to do a PhD. You only need to work hard but smartly and stay focused. My final words to any potential student at PhD level: 'Do to learn rather than learn to do'."

Anas hopes to progress to a future academic career and grow as a lecturer and researcher. "I have an ambitious research plan to extend my research interest to areas of cognitive linguistics, language testing, teacher training and TESOL. This vision, combined with the research networks I have established and my collaboration with key researchers in my area, is likely to result in world-class and high-impact research."

Today, Anas is an assistant professor in English Language and Applied Linguistics at a university in Jordan, proving that it's never too late to follow your ambitions.

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