Variety meets quality

Variety meets quality

F ive years ago, I left Chikhli, Buldhana, Maharastra in India for a small, rural town in Scotland. Leaving my friends and family was a difficult decision but I knew I had to move overseas if I wanted to develop my career in textile engineering.

It turned out that I made the right decision as I have graduated and gained a PhD in Textiles from Heriot-Watt University, Scotland.

I looked at a few different universities across the UK but Heriot-Watt University stood out from the many. The School of Textiles and Design, based in Galashiels on the Scottish borders, is the second oldest academic textile institution in the world, dating back to 1883. It has a reputation as one of the world’s leading educational and research institutions. It also has close links with global fashion designers including Eley Kishimoto and Peter Scott knitwear, as well as respected fashion icons such as Kim Winsor and Bernat Klein.

I am originally from Gujarat in India and I’ve also lived in Uttarpradesh and Maharashtra. So it was a daunting experience as I had never even visited the UK before, but everyone I met was very friendly and welcoming. I moved into Halls of Residence, a short walk from the campus, and quickly met plenty of people from similar backgrounds as mine, who were perhaps feeling nervous about the prospect of moving and studying away from home.  My flat mates were also from overseas and we got on really well. We’re now close friends and still keep in touch.
The campus recently underwent a multi-million pound refurbishment, so it’s a modern and spacious environment with excellent facilities. The town is also well-known for its rich heritage within the textiles trade, with local mills manufacturing quality fabrics such as tweed and cashmere.

I have thoroughly enjoyed studying at Heriot-Watt, where I had so many different topics to choose from. The school uses unique technologies and innovative techniques that I haven’t come across at other universities, such as a physical and chemical testing laboratory, nano-fibre electro-spinning facility and plasma coater.  My area of research was to develop nano, smart and functional fibres by electro-spinning and melt extrusion spinning. Electro-spinning is a unique technique that uses electrical charge to draw very fine fibres from liquid. 

Apart from an environment that enthuses on to focus on studies, Heriot-Watt has numerous extra curriculum activities and societies to join in. I was a student representative, which was a great experience enabling me to meet and interact with other students outside my specific area of study.  

The weather in Scotland is pretty unpredictable, but I never let that stop me from taking advantage of the many walks in the picturesque countryside. Galashiels and the neighbouring towns also hold regular community festivals that are worth visiting. It’s a good way to meet people and become familiar with local food and culture.

I think the area has a lot of social, cultural and leisure opportunities, as it is only a short drive away from Edinburgh and Glasgow. I still live in Galashiels with my wife and daughter, where I’m pursuing a career within my field of study.

Heriot-Watt has a lot to offer to international students both academically and socially. With thousands of overseas students studying there, Heriot-Watt provides a strong support network to ensure that everyone integrates well into university life and the area they live in. Along with my PhD, I have gained valuable life experience and made life-long friends.

Heriot-Watt is an international university with campuses in Edinburgh, Orkney and Dubai. It is also investing £35 million in a new campus in Malaysia.
Thousands of students from more than 150 countries choose to study at Heriot-Watt specialising in a wide range of disciplines. It holds specialisations in science, technology, engineering, business and design, with a particular focus on developing solutions to global issues, such as climate change and renewable energy.

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