My big move… (Part 2)

…to Edinburgh!

Read Part 1 over here.

My sister and I flew in to Glasgow to visit the Dumfries campus of University of Glasgow. I had emailed and arranged for a meeting with the programme administrator and the programme leader. We left the next morning to Dumfries – had no idea what was in store for us. It was nearly a 2-hour train ride from Glasgow city centre to the town of Dumfries. Or should I say the village of Dumfries. It was a completely isolated town/village,and there were literally 3 taxi guys who could take us from the station to the campus. Yep. We somehow managed to call one and reached the campus a tad bit late. The administrator welcomed us and started showing us around the campus building. Impressive. We sat with the programme leader and discussed the course and how likely was I to get into the tourism course with them. He was a nice old man, did not sugar coat anything and the conversation was honest and productive. The administrator then took us around the library and told us the accommodation was just a few minutes of walk. She also told us that this village was isolated and just to bring in some population, three universities opened their campuses together in Dumfries. She also told us how bad the weather got the previous year: they were all stuck in their homes because of the snow and this stopped classes for days before it got manageable to be outside. This made me think thow weird it was to move all their tourism-related programmes to this campus where no tourism existed!

On the way back I told my sister that this did not seem the place for me. And she agreed.

We had Edinburgh Napier University planned for day three, and had set up an appointment with the international officer at the Craiglockhart campus. We experienced a 30-minute delay in between as the train services to Edinburgh stopped due to a technical fault on the railway lines, and all the trains that were supposed to depart after us had been cancelled. At least we were lucky enough to have stopped half way into our journey. We caught the train again and naturally reached late. The officer himself was late at the campus, but was there before us. We met him in the rotunda, got a tour of the campus and got answers to the questions I had prepared. He was kind enough to invite me and my father for an alumni event they were hosting in Dubai, and I obviously accepted it. After leaving the university, we visited the Bainfield and Orwell university accommodation but unfortunately could not get a room tour as they were in full capacity. Anyhow, we were famished so went straight to Pizza Hut right opposite the Bainfield accommodation to have lunch. We then left for the train station, picked up our luggage, went to the airport and flew to London to our sister’s. 

Our next stop was the University of Winchester’s School of Art, which was around 2 hours away from my sister’s place. The MSc was in Art Curation and we had arranged to meet the coordinator and get a tour of the campus. It was pretty impressive, we got a chance to meet the programme leader as well to ask a few questions. The campus was located in a small, modern town and and was accessible to pretty much everything. However, the degree itself was not my top preference, so I left without feeling WOW-ed by it.

Although we were supposed to visit Loughborough University, who were offering MSc in Sports Marketing, we decided not to for the 5 hour train journey that was ahead of us. So a straight no to that!

We then spoke to our dad of all the options, and I decided that Edinburgh Napier was the best choice out of the three. My dad was still not convinced but agreed to attend the alumni event with me in Dubai, which we did. He spoke to the Dean of the Business School, the alumni coordinator and a few of the alumni and was FINALLY convinced to send me to Edinburgh Napier University to pursue my postgraduate degree!!! WOHOOOO!

And so from that day to this. I have been in Edinburgh since January 2019. I am done with my masters dissertation and will receive my results in July. I will be graduating soon, but not sure when it will be in this pandemic. Nonetheless, Alhamdulillah. I am so grateful to Allah for this experience and this time. I am going to cherish it and miss it. But now I am eagerly looking forward to what’s next and where will life take me from this point onwards.

I know the ending was rushed, but I had this draft saved since July 2019. 

Reblog: ‘The Truth About Travel and Homesickness’ by Phil’s Next Stop

“This clingy, nostalgia-inducing attachment shouldn’t be something to avoid or ignore. Accepting it as a building block of your perspective, a cornerstone to your identity, can help enrich the time you spend away from home.

 

Homesickness is inevitable; we all come from somewhere. It’s as certain as the color of your eyes and size of your feet. It stays with us because we know where we hail from and who awaits us back home.”

This is the only way I can share Phil’s post. I stumbled upon him a few weeks ago at work while searching for blogs that were not too technical, easy to read and somewhere I could find inspirtation for my own blog. In other words, blogs that are written concisely yet not too fancy.

This post speaks for all those living away from home. I myself can relate to each and every word of it. I also believe no one could have written it better than Phil.

Go ahead and read the entire post: https://philsnextstop.blog/2019/06/05/travel-and-homesickness/#comment-91

P.S. Phil, if you’re reading this: thank you!

My big move… (Part 1)

…to Edinburgh!

I won’t apologise for not writing in the last three months, but I had certainly not forgotten about my blog this time. My master’s kept me busy with assignments and submissions – mainly due to procrastination – and so did my part-time work as a dental clinic receptionist on the weekends.

To be honest, the move did not come so easy to me. I had to take a decision for myself to either pursue higher education for better career opportunities or just do with my then-current state of joblessness. (I wasn’t jobless per say, I was running my small calligraphy business and had good amount of work every month to keep me busy). I was pretty confident that I wanted to build a career in the field of Tourism and so began my research. I was sure I did not want to move to USA, Canada and Australia because 1) they are too far, and 2) I wasn’t ready to completely isolate myself from my family. I still researched for courses in those countries, but did not find a course that appealed to me.

Actually, from the beginning I knew I wanted to either go to Scotland or Wales or some place in England not close to my sister’s place in Surrey (am I a bad sister?). Europe was also on the cards, more specifically the Nordic and Scandinavian side. I found a lot of courses in UK which were tourism related, many of them in Scotland. Therefore, I narrowed my research to Scotland and a few universities in England.

In between all of this convincing my dad for letting me study tourism was the most difficult part of the process. My second eldest sister backed me up and agreed to convince our dad with me. I am not a confident person in front of my dad so convincing him was a moment of victory! I really don’t know if I put up a strong argument for him to send me to the UK to study tourism, but he finally agreed. At this point I had shortlisted 4 universities in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Winchester and Loughborough – two courses related to tourism marketing/management, one in sports marketing and one in curation. The one in Edinburgh also did January intakes, while the rest did September intakes only. It was already too late for me to apply for the September 2018 intakes: choices of January 2019 or September 2019 were the only remaining options.

My father and I agreed that I visit these universities in October 2018 and meet course coordinators to finalise one. And with that, my other sister and I flew to Glasgow to visit the first campus of University of Glasgow.

End of Part 1. To be continued in Part 2. 

 

Fast forward 5 years…

Gosh, I am horrible at making commitments! Made one 5 years ago that I’ll keep running this blog, but naaa-ah. Didn’t happen. Instead these are how my 5 years went by…

  1. Getting my calligraphy business up and running (go check it out on Instagram) and providing my services to a tonne of high end clients – Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Tanagra, GQ Middle East, The Dubai Mall – you name it!
  2. Doing 10 months of a proper full time, administration job (totally unrelated to my undergraduate degree in Marketing, but had a hell of a good time with my colleagues!) and not just random internships.
  3. Working as General Secretary for Pakistan Youth Forum (PYF, a non-profit youth organization for Pakistani students in the UAE) for 2 YEARS!
  4. Getting fit – going to the gym 5 times a week (ACHIEVEMENT!)
  5. Two of my sisters got married
  6. Addition of 2 boys (my nephews) in the Tariq household – we ladies are getting outnumbered. Women to men ratio (including brother-in-laws) – 7:7
  7. Performing Umrah in 2017 – thrice 🙂
  8. Performing Hajj in 2017 😀 Alhamdulillah!

And my current situation looks like this…

  1. Moved to Edinburgh, Scotland in January of this year to pursue a Masters degree in International Tourism Marketing at Edinburgh Napier University (WHAAAAAAAA?! There will be an entire post dedicated to this, promise!)
  2. Serving as an Advisor to PYF
  3. Becoming Associate Editor of a youth digest for Pakistani students – it’s still in its planning phase…
  4. Learning Spanish – Vamos Anam!
  5. Learning cycling (yes, I have never cycled for roughly 20 years except as a kid with training wheels on it)
  6. Being super, SUPER single! 

Yup, that’s pretty much my past and present situation analysis in 14 bullet points.

There is absolutely so much to write about, so much to do, and I wish and hope and pray that I am a regular on my own blog. I am a devoted journaller (is that even a word?) offline and I just love the entire process of collecting anything and everything on a trip, taking photos, printing them and sticking them in my dedicated journal notebook. I have a very fancy collection of high quality notebooks and pens and all kinds of stationery (hoarder alert!) which I mostly like to collect (guilty!). But I do write – a lot of it consists of brain dump and writing to clear my head.

Anyway, back to this blog. Just rediscovering this baby of mine is getting me all excited thinking the sort of things I can write about. So here’s me not promising, but hoping to making this another place to channel my life’s happenings – the mishappenings are for my dedicated offline ranting journal – and stories.

So hopefully, till next time. Whenever that is 🙂

All Things Anam

At the end of my Pentland Hills hike, near to Balerno