How my degree enabled me to build a car

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By Abdul-Azeez, BEng Aerospace Engineering

UWE Bristol graduate, Abdul-Azeez, tells us about his experience as a visually impaired, international student studying Aerospace Engineering in the UK. He shares what influenced his decision to study at UWE Bristol, the support he received, and how his degree enabled him to build a car.

Studying in Bristol

I always knew I wanted to study in the UK. Universities here have mastered the art of teaching while encouraging independent thinking. They point you in the right direction so you can conduct your own research, with a healthy balance between theoretical and practical teaching. There’s a perfect balance of academic experiences, and non-academic experiences. A lot of focus is put on lifestyle too, and you’re encouraged to take part in sports and other extra-curricular activities.

“The decision to choose UWE Bristol was a relatively easy one for me. I knew of the industrial links that Bristol had – that I’d be in a city where I could immerse myself in aerospace engineering beyond the equations. There were career fairs, field trips, placements – endless opportunities to expand my prospects.”

UWE Bristol really leverage their industrial links and create space for their students within these opportunities. It provided a huge learning experience, particularly for engineering students where theoretical knowledge is strengthened through industry insight.

There was also a huge cluster of international students which made me feel at home – even on my course there were other Nigerians, so at no point did I feel alone. The lecturers were also from all around the globe, which gave the feeling of world-class teaching.

As for Bristol, my first impression was that it’s such a great city to just ‘be’ in regardless of being a student. There’s lots to explore, a huge history and huge atmosphere around it. Plus, the people are so welcoming, and UWE Bristol as a base provides a safe space; a ‘home away from home’.

Studying abroad with a visual impairment

My experience of going to university as a visually impaired student couldn’t have been handled better than it was at UWE Bristol. The support I received was fantastic from the very start. My experience began with a meeting with the Disability Service, my lecturers and teaching staff, and my family. This helped us to flesh out the course together and plan what I’d need so I was ready to face everything the course would throw my way.

UWE Bristol made sure I’d understand and be able to take part in everything, adapting the course programme to suit my particular needs. I experienced first-hand how they shaped the course to a student, not vice versa – everything felt tailor-made.

“My biggest passion is being able to live a full and functional life with my disability, to get involved with any sporting activity, and whichever profession I want. UWE Bristol really fed into that; they made adjustments throughout the entire experience, so all opportunities were available to me.”

Support is embedded in the culture at UWE Bristol; everyone I worked with showed enthusiasm and wanted to face every challenge head on, while coming together to ensure everyone felt positive about their studies.

My pandemic project – building a car

In 2020 when faced with a global pandemic and a potentially limitless period of isolation, I decided to use the engineering skills I’d learned at UWE Bristol to start on a project of my own; a project that I had long dreamed about. I was going to build a car.

Although a scary prospect, I decided to go for it.

“Without the encouragement I had at UWE Bristol, I wouldn’t have had an ounce of the confidence I needed to take the project on.”

UWE Bristol teaches you to aim high. In our third year we each conducted an individual project – I chose to build an aircraft. I found that you don’t know how much strength and drive you have until you try something new. The experience changed my mindset, and I was awarded best individual project by the university. This gave me such a confident boost that I knew I could apply my knowledge and tackle the build of a car.

How UWE Bristol changed my life

I always wanted to work in aviation, so earning a degree in Aerospace Engineering was something I’d aspired to for years. Completing my degree solidified this plan – it confirmed that aviation was my calling and narrowed my field of interest by highlighting the aspects I most enjoyed.

UWE Bristol prepared me for my career, giving me analytical, project management and problem-solving skills to assist with theory as well as the practical skills that formed the building blocks of my studies. Putting the theory into practice taught me how to apply my knowledge of aerospace engineering principles to other avenues, opening a multitude of industry doors for me to consider.

“There’s a real collaborative spirit at UWE Bristol. They support students in exploring the best of their potential, making them feel excited to learn.”

They encouraged us to make ourselves at home and allowed us to discover as much as we wanted to. We could go at our own pace and were given all the resources for personal development – the choice was ours to take. It’s a younger university, so there’s an abundance of fresh ideas and teaching staff aren’t afraid to do things differently.

“Seeing how the university has grown over the years and at such a fast pace has been a positive experience – any student would benefit by studying here and I’m proud to be a UWE Bristol graduate.”

How running 27 miles helped UWE Bristol student, Chloe, raise awareness of student mental health.

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By Chloe, BA (Hons) Creative and Professional Writing

Student Chloe, talks about what inspired her to run 27 miles for the charity, Mind. She shares how this has helped her to become more aware of her own mental health and how she hopes to inspire other students to talk about mental health and find their own coping strategies. Keep reading to find out more.

Continue reading “How running 27 miles helped UWE Bristol student, Chloe, raise awareness of student mental health.”

How being in the right learning environment is helping me to thrive.

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by Chloe, BA (Hons) Creative and Professional Writing

Delights on campus

Moving to a new city and starting a new chapter at university is by far one of the most exciting things I have ever done. There is so much exploring to do in Bristol, from the Clifton Suspension Bridge to Millennium Square, not to mention all of the amazing independent businesses and quirky stalls in the popular markets. However, it never occurred to me that there were so many hidden gems on the UWE Bristol campus itself!

As well as having quick and convenient bus links to and from the city centre, amazing resource centres and helpful career hubs, Frenchay Campus boasts some beautiful spaces to work and chill with your friends. Due to the fact there is so much choice, there is always somewhere you can go.

Whether you prefer somewhere that you can have a bite to eat or somewhere quieter, there is no doubt that you can find it on campus.


Frenchay Campus library

One of my favourite places to study is the library, which has a range of zones over five floors! Each level has a different purpose which means you can study in a variety of environments, allowing you to find a space perfect for you.

From Help Zones (Level 2), Quiet Study (Level 3) to the main Study Zone (Level 4), to silent Study (Level 5) you can find the perfect spot to work on assignments and research.

You can also book study spaces and individual study rooms which are so useful if you have a group project and want your own room, or even if you have a conference.

The Library Lounge on Level 4 gives you the chance to buy drinks and have a quick break in between sessions, which is a huge bonus to keep yourself refreshed and stay focussed.

For me the library has been somewhere that I have used most frequently since joining UWE Bristol because you can stay focussed in any zone that makes you feel comfortable – plus the staff in the help pods are so helpful and approachable.


I think that having such a good environment to use and enjoy, with so much choice, has enhanced the way I look at studying and means that me and my friends can use each zone depending on how we feel when we come in.

Business school booths and the Atrium cafe

Talking of places that you can get a bite to eat, another one of my favourite places on the UWE Bristol Frenchay Campus is the beautiful Business School.

This is one of the newest builds on campus and one of the most gorgeous buildings inside and out! It has such a modern feel and the Atrium Café on the ground floor is a great place to just hang out even if you haven’t come for a lecture or self-study. The food on offer is really tasty, quick and healthy – no wonder it’s such a popular spot!

As well as this, X block as it’s more commonly known, flaunts teaching and office spaces and booths over seven floors, so there is more than enough space to find a spot.

The Students’ Union

Now the real community hub of UWE Bristol is the Students Union! This is where students hang out, go to events and a hot spot for food and drink. There is always something being run either at the SU building or online, meaning there is never a dull moment. UWE Bristol wouldn’t be complete without the SU – it’s all part of the experience!

The SU team run so many competitions where you can win some ace prizes and connect with new people. It is a great place to mingle and I met some students there that are now still close friends.

It’s good to have somewhere that isn’t study related where you can chill out and just have a break.


The variety on Frenchay Campus at UWE Bristol is something that has made my experience at UWE Bristol both productive and fun. The choice is unbelievable and there is always somewhere to go that has exactly the vibe you want. Being comfortable and confident is so easy when there are so many options to hang out and I think that’s what is so unique about UWE Bristol – we aren’t just a university, we are a community.

Find out more about campus life.

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