If we go back a few years, I never imagined going to university; I always figured life would take me somewhere else. Sociology, one of my A levels, stimulated my fascination with how life works, recognising how society’s challenges affect my day-to-day life, as I impulsively chose my A levels, unsure of what I wanted to achieve in the future. During my two years of A-levels, however, the terms international relations and development never entered my mind until near the end of my secondary school. When I was undecided about which degree to pursue, a friend sat me down and asked me what I enjoyed doing, which I had never been asked before.
The first thing that came to me was ‘helping people.’ While it may sound cliché, it was the first thing that came to mind. After that, I looked for careers that were “professional” versions of helping people in vain, and surprisingly, the term “humanitarian” jumped out to me. Further study revealed that I could finally see myself doing that in the future, inspiring me to envision a university life.
In light of the fact that I never saw myself attending university until recently, my three-week experience at the university was a lot to take in. My university experience so far is similar to the sixth form, which has helped me become more independent and freer with my decisions. My hopes for what I will learn and achieve are that I will gain a new perspective on life and become more aware of the world around me, as it will help me see things from many perspectives and be free of prejudices and assumptions.
Given that I spent most of my vacations in Morocco, I had the unique opportunity to observe the stark differences between Morocco and England. From the perspective of Moroccan citizens and the challenges they experience daily. Memories of horrible interactions with youngsters searching through mountains of trash for food or selling simple items like tissue for money in chaotic traffic that I didn’t see in England shed perspective on things I took for granted.
The fact that my family lives in Morocco motivates me to work hard to be a part of developing countries’ growth. Understanding social and economic barriers in society allows me to comprehend the many factors contributing to poverty in people’s lives. Another intriguing aspect is the potential opportunity that this country may provide for me. I hope one day I can make a genuine, long-lasting difference in the lives of many individuals. The university provides me with the opportunity to interact with a diverse group of students to converse, discover and help me gain a new perspective of the world we live in.
Rita Oukriss, Year 1, BA (Hons), International Relations and Development.