A University of Bath student who fled Afghanistan aged 10 graduated from his Medical Biosciences Master’s degree with Merit this week.

Mohammad Seddiqian, aged 29, left his home country with his family in 2000 during the rule of the Taliban regime. After living in Iran for several years, he sought asylum in the UK and has since overcome several hurdles relating to his immigration status while completing an undergraduate degree and his Master’s.

He studied at Bath under a Sanctuary Scholarship and hopes his new degree will help him find work researching cancer. He hopes that he can stay in the UK and go on to complete a PhD.

He said: “Scholarships have given me access to education, which is so important to me. When I was growing up my family went through many difficulties, but one thing my mother always fought for was education for me and my siblings.

“It has not been simple to get to this point, in fact at some points I felt I would never be able to continue my education, but my mother taught me to never give up.

“I am so pleased to be graduating today – I feel like I am a step closer to achieving my dreams. I hope I can continue to work in medical research to help people.”

He found about the University’s Sanctuary Scholarship scheme through the Bath branch of national charity STAR (Student Action for Refugees). Supported by the Alumni Fund, the scholarship waived the tuition fees for Mohammad’s studies, and he was given a bursary to help with course-related and living costs.

Mohammad completed his undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences at De Montfort University Leicester under a similar scheme, Article 26, supported by the Helena Kennedy Foundation.

Professor Momna Hejmadi, Associate Dean of the University’s Faculty of Science, described Mohammad as a ‘joy to have around’ during his year at Bath. She added: “He is a smiler, always positive and a very popular student. He was always the first to volunteer to help out in any academic or social events in the faculty, and was elected as the PGT (Post-Graduate Taught) Faculty Student Rep.

“While he was studying with us, Mohammad’s refugee status application in the UK was ongoing. Despite several very stressful issues relating to this, he continued his studies and has now earned a very impressive degree with Merit. I wish him every success in the future.”

Speaking about studying at Bath and his efforts to stay in the UK, Mohammad added: “I would like to thank the students and staff at the University who helped me ensure my right to study.

“Alisha Lobo, from the Students’ Union, created a petition to support my case; Amanda Willmott from the School of Management and my lecturers wrote letters to support my application.

“The Student Services team also supported me with my scholarship, so I am very thankful to everyone for their help.”