Suhaib Aslam is a Technology and Liberal Arts & Sciences (ATLAS) bachelor student at University College Twente. He came to the Netherlands in September 2015. Before he arrived, he participated in the Selfie T-shirt contest with a story to tell. Find out more about Suhaib below.
Why did you choose UT? What do you like about the University?
It all started by visiting an education fair. As I was walking across the different university booths, I was attracted to UTwente due to its logo (as I thought it was beautiful!). I remember the UT representative there recommended Advanced Technology back then, but he didn’t tell me about University College Twente (ATLAS). He did give me a UTwente brochure though.
After a few months, I started searching more seriously for the right university for me. I was checking them all out, but I wasn’t convinced. I felt that no university was truly educating you. All of them where too orthodox, too conventional. Amidst these struggles, one day, I was casually going through the University of Twente’s brochure and the ATLAS program caught my eye and I instantly felt that it was exactly what I wanted. I started having this feeling that I belonged at University College Twente and by the summer of 2015, I finally made the intuitive decision of choosing this place that genuinely felt right–in order to fulfill my desire for receiving TRUE education.
There are many exciting things about UTwente: The green campus, the startup culture, the DesignLab, the innovation and the high tech, human touch. What I specifically like, is our course University College Twente (ATLAS). It’s the course’s complete philosophy, the perspective towards education that I absolutely love: not having regular exams, not being told what to do, producing your own learning goals, learning how to learn and combining engineering with social sciences. I just am passionate about our vision of producing the new engineers, who are socially engaged and inspired by technology, and are going to solve the complex problems of the future.
What is the biggest difference in your current world compared to your previous world?
Being someone who grew up in Riyadh, which is an extremely urban city (traffic, buildings, etc.), Twente feels very different to me, but in a good way. It’s changed my way of looking at things. I think differently when it comes to a lot of areas of now. And I think it’s because of the feeling of being surrounded by nature–for some reason, it induces creativity and innovation in me. Here I can be myself and I can realize my goals.
There’s the other side to this as well: The fiery culture of startups and innovation at Twente, really inspires me to be ambitious and just be a go-getter when it comes to accomplishing things. I love the startup culture that you just somehow ‘feel’ here.
What’s the story behind your selfie? Can you explain why this one?
In Riyadh the post works very slowly, so I received the shirt one week before coming to the Netherlands and at first I wasn’t really serious about the selfie competition. Three days before coming to Enschede, I hadn’t even started packing my bags. I was watching movies with my sister and when it was late and we were tired, I recalled the selfie contest, and asked my sister to help me conceptualize and produce a cool selfie. I‘ve always liked playing with light and I try to convey stories using it, hence, I had this idea of trying to illuminate how I was about to initiate a journey to paint my future at University College Twente. Although, I have to say, it was more of a fun project and a moment that I wanted to share with my sister.
What would you like to achieve during your stay at the UT?
Everything, really. I aspire to say yes to all the meaningful opportunities for personal development that I’m presented with. I aim to learn, grow and develop in a diversity of areas, with a focus on excellence. Be it engineering, entrepreneurship, social sciences, design, leadership or computer science, I just want to focus on growing, innovating and building a strong narrative.
Bottom line, I just want to accomplish really interesting things, while making a significant impact. I want to look back at my time here, and be very proud of it.