Farishta Hellali, aged 26, will receive her MSc in Advanced Management Practice on Tuesday 10 December at the Assembly Rooms.

Farishta has been able to study at the University's School of Management thanks to support from the Vice-Chancellor's Strategic Endowment Fund. She had studied business administration at a small institute in Kabul and jumped at the chance to come to the UK to further her education.

She said: “I desperately wanted to come to study at Bath so that I could go back to Afghanistan and contribute to the development of education. I primarily want to do something to help women in my country. My plan is to get a good job in an international organisation back in Kabul and I have already applied for positions at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, the UN and the British Embassy. The experience of being in the UK has given me the confidence to do that.”

“It’s been a wonderful experience to be in Bath. Life is totally different here. You don’t ever feel secure in Afghanistan. You understand that anything can happen at any time. Here I feel independent and more secure.”

After graduation Farishta will return home to Afghanistan, having been away for more than a year. Her family, who have all been affected by the conflict, have urged her to stay in the UK because of their country’s instability but she insists that she wants to return, adding “I am positive about the future of my country and believe that we, the younger generation, can make a change. My goal has always been to make a positive change in my country.”

Farishta is grateful to the University for making it possible for her to study in the UK and describes her time here as the best year of her life.

“My family are very happy that finally my dream came true and I am going to get my degree,” she said. “My mother wanted to come for my graduation but unfortunately she can’t because of visa issues.”

Ian Crawford, a teaching fellow in the School of Management who initiated the Afghan scholarship, said: “The idea came about when I was in Kabul at the British Council visiting universities in the city. The British Council helped to advertise the scholarship and I returned to Kabul to interview shortlisted candidates. Very few universities have offered scholarships to Afghan students and we are proud to play a small but positive part in the reconstruction of Afghanistan.”

Farishta features in an alumni film demonstrating the impact and value of donations and scholarships to our students and researchers.