University of Newcastle student Ashraf Abdelbaky has been named as a finalist in the highly competitive NSW Government’s International Student Award for his efforts in community engagement.

We caught up with Ashraf to understand more about his time at UON.

You have come to the University of Newcastle from Egypt to undertake your PhD in English Literature. What motivated this decision?

I found my supervisors who are experts in my field of interest at the University of Newcastle. Besides, I was looking to come to Australia and I found UON as a prestigious university in a quiet city.

When did you become interested in the humanities?

My Dad was always encouraging me to learn English. It is a privilege in my country to pursue a degree in English or languages in general. When I was in high school, I was looking forward to joining the English department like my sister. After graduation, I got a position as a teaching assistant at the university due to my high grades.

You’ve established and continue to run a number of community and social groups, can you tell us how these groups are benefiting other students?

As a founder and president of Newcastle Arab Students Society (NASS), we have been participating in the cultural events at the University, such as Harmony Day and Multicultural Awakening Festival. We have also organised three workshops about Arab culture that received appreciation by UON students.

As the president of University of Newcastle Islamic Society (UNIS), we have been organising weekly lectures for the Muslim students on campus, Islamic awareness day, and Eid picnics to the students as well as the Muslim community in Newcastle. Above all, I have organised the highly successful Multicultural Ramadan Iftars in 2016 and 2017 in cooperation with different societies and community organisations.

What are your work/academic plans once you’ve completed your PhD?

After completing my PhD, I wish to be a lecturer at the university and I wish to continue my post-doctoral to be an academician.

What aspects of living in Newcastle do you enjoy?

I like the environment. The city is quiet and it has charming beaches. Having close friends (especially in the Muslim community) helps me to settle down and enjoy Newcastle too.

How has your experience been at the University of Newcastle?

I like the way my supervisors communicate with me. They always support and guide me with knowledge. I also like the campus and having many international friends. Staff are very friendly and there is flexibility in the system.

For more information about the International Student Awards visit - http://www.study.sydney/english/news-and-stories/news/2017/09/07/2017-international-student-award-finalists-2/

Where will NEW take you?

Image of Ashraf

Ashraf Abdelbaky

University of Newcastle student Ashraf Abdelbaky is a finalist in the highly competitive NSW Government’s International Student Award.

After completing my PhD, I wish to be a lecturer at the university and I wish to continue my post-doctoral to be an academician.