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In September 2019, Mina Abdollahzadehkan made University of Chester history by becoming the first Iranian female in the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences (SES).

The MSc Sports Biomechanics student quickly settled into student life in Chester and has made a real impact in the department, impressing academics with her hard work and willingness to go the extra mile. We caught up with Mina to learn more about her academic journey and how she feels about her ground-breaking status in the SES Department.

What were you studying before you came to the UK?

I was studying Biomedical Engineering at Bachelor’s level in my home country of Iran. The degree had a focus on Biomechanics.

What made you want to study in the UK?

I wanted to study abroad ever since high school and after finishing my undergraduate studies where I continued in the field of Sports Biomechanics. I discovered that the UK has a great reputation for its sports programmes and institutions. Also, I have always been fascinated by the history and culture of the UK and this made it my number one choice!

Why University of Chester?

I came across the University when searching for Sport Science programmes and learnt about its high reputation of teaching. Also, tutors and faculty members in the department are recognized for both their academic and applied work. I also received advice from a previous student and a Sports Scientist at the English Institute of Sport- they both assured me that Chester would be a great choice and they were right!

Why did you choose a sports-related Master’s programme?

There are various disciplines to work on when studying as a Biomechanical Engineer and in my senior year, I started to work on human motion analysis. When I studied a little bit more about this area, I found the sports discipline to be very appealing. I have always been enthusiastic about sports and the idea of being able to make improvements in sports performance made me choose the programme.

How does it feel to be the first Iranian female in the SES Department?

First of all, I feel so lucky to be a part of this big family where everyone works closely and enthusiastically. In my Biomechanics group, there are four students from four different countries and sharing different points of view is quite interesting. Everyone at the University has been really helpful and I easily got adjusted to the new environment during my first days as a student here. I am really thankful and feel like I am in the right place.

What would be your message to other females thinking about studying in the field of sports?

I would say if you truly believe studying sports is what you want, then go for it!

Are you enjoying the Sports Biomechanics programme?

Very much so. I can say it is exactly what I expected it to be. Practical learning taught by lecturers who are experienced in the industry. My favourite thing about the programme is that I am actually learning how to use my knowledge in real world of sports.

Are you enjoying living in Chester?

Yes! I love learning about the culture and meeting locals who are very friendly. It’s a relatively small city and very peaceful with lots of beautiful attractions. I also like the cool weather and (sometimes) rainy conditions!

It’s fair to say that Mina has made quite an impression on the University during her short tenure as a student.

Professor Ken Green, Head of Sport & Exercise Sciences at University of Chester said:

"From the moment she arrived in the department, Mina has epitomised everything we hope for in a post-graduate student: committed, hard-working, informed and insightful. In short, she is determined to get the most from the opportunity the MSc programme provides. Also, as if that were not enough, she is always more than willing to volunteer.”

Ibraheem Al-Jumaili, International Officer for the Middle East and North Africa at University of Chester said:

“I am really happy to see Mina flourish and fulfil her potential in the SES department, she represents everything that is good about our international students. The International Centre will continue its commitment to providing opportunities to students from all backgrounds in a diverse range of subject areas.”

To find out more about the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences, visit their department page. International Students can choose to study a variety of SES Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes.

For guidance on how to make an application as an international student, visit our How to Apply section of the website.

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