Ayesha Asad's story
Ayesha is a year 13 student at Ark St Alban’s Academy. She is currently studying biology, chemistry and sociology. She wants to study biomedical science at Aston University.
I moved to Birmingham from Pakistan four years ago, with my family. We came here to get a better education. Moving to the UK was quite challenging; it was a long way to come. It was especially difficult going from living in a country where English is not your first language to an environment where English means everything. But we didn’t give up, and we came through it even stronger.
One of the tricky things for me was that in Pakistan I went to a single-sex school, but when I arrived in England, I was enrolled at Ark Kings Academy, a mixed-gender school. However, I very quickly adjusted to this change, thanks to all of the staff who welcomed me and supported me in my education. One of the big differences I found in my new environment, and living in a new place, was that I needed to speak up. The more you speak, the quicker you improve your understanding of the English language. You can’t just sit there and be quiet. It’s also about really listening to what people are saying, because accents are different everywhere.
At first my grades were affected, and I had to work hard in my GCSEs from day one. Luckily my grandfather has always motivated and inspired me. He always said that you need to work hard. In Pakistan, girls are not always encouraged to study, but he would say, “You need to study, you need to get a job, you need to become independent”. So that’s what motivated me - I said, “Yes, OK fine, let’s go!”
I came to the Sixth Form here at Ark St Alban’s because the ratio of people going to university was higher than any other college. Then, when I came to visit, it was amazing to see how much help and support every teacher gives to every individual student.
I’m interested in the development of medicines, which is why I want to study biomedical science at university. Last year, I was lucky enough that my Assistant Head of Sixth Form, Ms Steele, arranged a visit for me to a clinical trial research centre where they develop drugs. It was interesting and fascinating to see how many people work on these projects behind the scenes. That’s what motivated me to want to go on and do it myself. I would say that my biology and chemistry teachers, Miss Barnard and Mr Gallanders, have really helped me to get to the point that I’m at today. They are still helping me now I’m taking my exams, giving me revision tips. My advice to others in my situation would be that even though things can seem hard at times, you should never give up.