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Hanady Almahmood

PhD in Civil and Structural Engineering

After completing a BA in Civil Engineering and a Master's in Structural Engineering in Jordan, Hanady spent four years teaching as a lecturer, before making the journey to the UK to complete her PhD at Bradford.

I decided to do a PhD to progress my career

“I felt like I wasn’t progressing in my career as a lecturer, and wanted to do something different. Based on my previous studies and experience, doing a PhD in Civil and Structural Engineering felt like a natural progression.

"It was also one of Mum’s last wishes, and she always encouraged me to do more. She passed away while I was doing my PhD, but I know she would be really proud of what I’ve achieved.

“I wanted to study at a university that was highly regarded in the engineering community, and the University of Bradford was recommended time and time again.

"The course supervisor is also well known as being one of the top people in the engineering field, so that helped make my decision to study here an easy one."

Getting to the UK was stress-free

“I found coming over to the UK very easy thanks to the help and advice I received from the team at the University, who were all so helpful.

"I asked them so many questions about visas and accommodation before I came, and they always answered them quickly, which made the whole process really simple.”

I felt welcome as soon as I arrived

“The team at Bradford were so welcoming when I arrived, and helped me settle in brilliantly. I’m a Muslim and was quite worried about coming over, but there was no need to be. All the worries my family and I had about me coming here disappeared as soon as I arrived, and I felt safe and welcome immediately.

“The team at Bradford helped to arrange student accommodation for me, and with their constant support it only took me two weeks to feel really settled here.

“Bradford is a really friendly, multicultural and inclusive city with much lower living costs than many other UK cities, and the University is such a great place to complete a PhD.”

An exterior shot of the Richmond Building

I adapted to studying in the UK quickly

“I was nervous about adapting to studying in the UK before I came, but my supervisor was fantastic and made it easy. He guided me through the whole process and taught me everything I needed to know.

"We also had weekly meetings so he could check my progress and provide constant guidance, which was invaluable.”

The laboratory technicians made my research possible

“The Civil Engineering laboratory is fantastic. I did research on reinforcements in buildings and wanted to develop a non-corrosive composite reinforcement, but to do this, I had to create and test several five-metre-long specimens.

"Most laboratories wouldn’t be able to accommodate tests on samples of this size, but it was no problem at Bradford. It is definitely one of the best, most well-equipped laboratories I have worked in, and it had all the machines and equipment I needed to conduct my tests.

“The laboratory technicians are really helpful too, and were always on hand to help me conduct my research and ensure I was safe. They made everything I wanted to do possible and were instrumental in making my research a success.”

Students working in a Civil and Structural Engineering Lab

I’ve made friends from all over the world

"People had recommended joining university societies to make friends, but I was too busy doing my PhD, so I didn’t get time. However, the University organised monthly trips to help international students get to know the UK better, and I went on several, which were all fantastic. I got to see some brilliant sights and made some great friends.

"I now have friends from France, Japan, England, Pakistan, Romania, Libya, Syria, Poland and Jamaica, so I would highly recommend these trips to students who are looking to get to know other people and see more of the UK."

A landscape in the Lake District

Photo credit: Stephen Hobson

I received support when I needed it

“I lost my Mum while I was studying, so I accessed the University’s counselling services and had several counselling sessions, which really helped me to come to terms with my loss.

"If you need help it is always available, and the University will provide you with all the support you need.”

My PhD has opened up so many doors

“After completing my PhD I worked at the University of Bradford as a Post-Doctoral Researcher.

“I am now planning to go into lecturing again, but alongside that I will also continue to develop my PhD research.

“I have had one of my research papers published, and am currently working on two others on different topics. I hope that one day my research will be instrumental in helping to develop a new composite reinforcement that stops buildings being damaged by corrosion.

“Without the support from everybody at the University I couldn’t have done any of these things, and I credit them with enabling me to gain the skills I need to pursue an exciting career in research and academia.”

Hanady Almahmood in an engineering lab