- I worked in several positions as a production engineer, but it was not really something I was truly interested in. At the same time, having a love for art and painting, I started a small project with a group of artists where we created wood models and paintings for interior decorations, tells Moustafa.
During his bachelor studies, Moustafa realized he had a great interest for materials science. The medical field also interested him. How did these realizations lead him to study at UEF in a northern country far away from home?
From radiation engineering to medical physics
Moustafa knew he wanted to combine materials science with the medical field in his studies. Radiation engineering was the closest diploma degree he could find in Egypt related to his interests. He started his master’s degree in nuclear and radiation engineering with the focus on surface modification of biomaterials, but was frustrated with the lack of courses in the exact areas and topics he was interested in. Luckily, a friend told him about something that would change his course of studies for good.
- When I first heard about UEF, I was in a place in my life where I was struggling with what my next step would be. A friend studying at UEF introduced me to the university and its medical physics program, which turned out to be a lifetime opportunity for me, tells Moustafa.
Looking deeper into the courses, Moustafa’s vision about what he wanted to focus his studies on got clearer. He was positively surprised by realizing that he could combine both his interest into a degree that looked just like him.
Culture shock and student life during the pandemic
Moving to a northern country did not come without some culture shock for Moustafa. Especially adapting to winter and it being dark all the time took its time – in Egypt day and night are even all year round. He also saw snow for the first time in his life in Finland. On the other hand, Moustafa felt the summers in Finland were delightful with so much light.
- Another thing I’ve noticed a big difference in, is the quietness of Kuopio. Sometimes I miss the constant sounds of life in Egypt, but the quietness is also nice and gives your mind time to think. In the end, coming to UEF was a very good choice to make in my life, tells Moustafa.
On his free time Moustafa goes hiking or jogging around the city. Once a week he also gets together with his friends to play football. His first year at UEF was spent mostly online due to the global pandemic.
- It was definitely an interesting first year of student life, but the instructors did their best to provide us with great education online. In some courses we were able to also perform practical work despite the pandemic, remembers Moustafa.
Freedom to tailor studies offers benefits for future career life
Moustafa feels that UEF’s medical physics program was very well structured for his needs. He sees the possibility to take courses outside his own program to tailor his studies as a benefit in his future career.
- For example, I took a course in machine learning, since I know this type of skills will be valuable in the future. It’s easy to plan your own courses, and the freedom to choose studies outside your own program really allows you to build knowledge and skills in areas you are passionate about, tells Moustafa.
Moustafa is in his second and last year of his master’s studies. He is currently working on his master’s thesis which is mainly devoted to investigating the tissue-level compositional changes in articular cartilage due to Post-traumatic Osteoarthritis.
- I enjoy the process of solving things. It can be frustrating at times, but when the frustration comes, my tip is to go for a walk. There are inspiring surroundings here in Kuopio to wander in the woods and nature. The serenity and quietness are also great for thinking and stimulating new ideas. I’ve found some favorite secret go-to-places where I go when I need to solve something, reveals Moustafa.
Pursuing his PhD next on Moustafa’s career path
When Moustafa came to UEF, his focus was more on biomaterials. His further studies gave new insight that fit his background and interests, introducing him to the world of biomechanics that combines the knowledge of mechanical engineering, materials science, and computational modeling to study functions and changes in biological systems. For him, experimenting with practical work has especially helped boost and learn new skills.
- I cannot emphasize the importance of practical knowledge and practical work enough. It provides you with in-depth knowledge hard to get from theoretical knowledge, it tests your understanding of the concepts, and it gives you a feel of the work environment related to the field of study. The practical work has made it clearer for me to understand what road I’m interested to go based on my skills and interests. UEF offers many opportunities to boost and enhance practical skills that will help you on your future career, reminds Moustafa.
Moustafa has especially enjoyed working on practical and project works within the Biophysics of Bone and Cartilage (BBC) research group he is part of. In his own career, Moustafa wants to take the research road and continue to his PhD after finishing his master’s studies. Thanks to his studies, he now has a clear vision of what he wants to do in life.
- As I am more interested in academia and research, I am planning to pursue my doctorate studies here at UEF if I get to continue working with the research group I am working with now, tells Moustafa.