International Students



Meet Ahmad from Malaysia

About me

Name: Ahmad
Course: Chemical Engineering MPhil, PhD
PhD Title: Irregular aluminium foam and phase change material composite in transient thermal management
Study mode: Full time
Where I’m from: Malaysia

Choosing Newcastle

I met my current co-supervisor when he taught me a module back when I was doing my MEng programme in Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. He asked me if I was interested in doing a PhD in Newcastle University where he had an opening, so I accepted his offer. I was never interested in Newcastle before as I only considered it as a city where the train stopped between Edinburgh and London – and oh boy, how wrong I was.

Studying at Newcastle

The University really takes good care of you as a PhD student. You’re given freedom in carrying out your work but they do keep tabs on you. As a policy, the research group I am in – the Process Intensification group – aims to have fortnightly meetings between supervisor(s) and student. The laboratory and analytical equipment are competitive compared to other academic settings for research purposes.

Postgraduate community

I think the diversity, be it in terms of nationality or age, is surprisingly enriching as a postgraduate student. You are placed in an office along with other PhD students, therefore you are bound to connect with the people in there. Many of my good friends are my officemates – we have coffee and dinner together, drive to the Lake District together, and more – so you can imagine the close-knit community in Merz Court.

Funding my studies

I was sponsored by the Malaysian Government to study in the UK from undergraduate to postgraduate – so for this I am very thankful.

Career aspirations

Right now I am employed as a post-doc for a three-year project even before I graduate. My supervisor referred me to this post. I aspire to be employed in the chemical or aerospace industries, but I would like to enhance my knowledge further during these next three years as a post-doc – I would like to publish more papers and gain more experimental experience. 


I have lived in private accommodation from the beginning – my own apartment – because I like to have my own private space. It is on the Quayside and was easy to arrange by myself.

Living in Newcastle

I love, love, love the Quayside, and it’s where I live. It’s a gem of Newcastle. The hotels, the restaurants, the Starbucks (in Malmaison) – they are all my playground. In late spring or summer when it’s hot, the Quayside is where you want to be – having a cold beer outside the Pitcher and Piano. I like the calming view of the flowing River Tyne (even from my apartment balcony).

Remembering Newcastle

Wherever I go after this, Newcastle will always be etched in my memory as I will have spent six or seven years here by that time. Who knows, I may stay here for a longer time. I try not to think too far ahead. I just want to enjoy the moment here, for now. People in the North East are very warm and fun and I have really enjoyed socialising here.