A day in the life of…Najah Albaqawi

DeskAlsalam Alykom, my name is Najah Albaqawi. I am a Saudi PhD student in computational linguistics. I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in English Language in 2006 from King Faisal University. Since graduating, I have worked for three years as an English assistant teacher and in 2012 I obtained my master’s degree in Applied Linguistics from the University of Al-Emam Mohammed Ibn Saud. These experiences have made me really want to work with new people in new places, which is why I chose to pursue a doctoral degree in the UK. Fortunately for me, the University of Wolverhampton is one of the best in the UK for my subject area.

I have recently joined the RGCL (Research Group in Computational Linguistics) which is a part of RIILP (Research Institute of Information and Language Processing) as a full-time student. Although I haven’t yet finalized the whole idea of my topic, I can share you with my interests. Generally, I am interested in contact languages and particularly Gulf Pidgin Arabic. It might seem that my topic is irrelevant to computational linguistics but actually, a corpus-based approach can be employed in any area of linguistics (e.g. Semantics, Pragmatics, Syntax, sociolinguistics, etc.). In my research, corpus linguistics is analysed from a dialectological perspective; that is a range of language variants, and in my case a simplified form of Arabic or a pidgin language. The natural language that will be analysed in my study is a corpus of Arabic Pidgin language which has emerged recently in Saudi Arabia and is spoken by Asian Foreign Expatriates.

I work in a group of intelligent, developed people and have remarkable supervisors. Each member of the group can organize and present different levels of academic sessions. These sessions and seminars are held every Tuesday; you will be likely to experience a variety of them. They are a great place to pick up on the wide range of possible ideas and theories around an academic subject, as you get the chance to discuss with so many other peers.

Studying abroad is a life-changing experience and one of the most rewarding things I have ever done, but it can also be an intensely personal experience. I always ask myself, am I up for the challenge? Will I still succeed if I live far away from my friends and family? Am I comfortable being a foreigner in another country? There’s no set answer when it comes to studying abroad. Yet, I have faced some challenges since my arriving, such as missing family, friends, food, and everything familiar. However, over time I will learn to adjust to this new way of living. Living and studying in a foreign country gives me the opportunity to participate in various societies as well as attending numerous lectures and workshops that have expanded my perspective on the world. My university experience at Wolverhampton so far has been great; I have met some amazing people along the way and I am really looking forward to the next three years of my programme.

Earning a degree provides you with a lifetime of benefits: intellectual, academic, social, financial, personal, professional. Remember why you’re working so hard for that one piece of paper!

Obviously every student experience is different, and varies according to the subject you are studying and the specific institution you attend, but we hope the blog ‘day in the life’ will give a helpful idea of who we are, where we are today, and where we will be tomorrow!

Thank you for reading my blog!