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Advice from alumni: Peyman Norouzi

Peyman Norouzi, from Iran, graduated from EF Academy Torbay in 2014 and is currently studying Mechanical Engineering at Pennsylvania State University. Learn more about our featured alum:

Why did you choose to go to EF Academy?

My dad saw the EF Academy ad in the newspaper by chance. At that time, I was not planning to go to the UK or U.S., but rather, somewhere closer to my home country. However, we talked to some people from the school and decided to go for it.

What university did you go to afterwards? What did you study and why?

I am currently studying Mechanical Engineering at Pennsylvania State University and I am also a part of the Schreyer’s Honors College (author’s note: exclusive college that only 5 % of Penn State graduates are a part of). Honors College is great for me because I gain access to a bigger network that will be especially helpful for research work.

I always knew that I was going to study science since I was good at mathematics and physics. Initially, I was considering aerospace engineering but I quickly realized that my career within that field would be restricted since I am an international student. Thus, I chose mechanical engineering because everything today requires these kinds of skills. However, I still think it is important to keep your mind open to new things and that is why I am doing my minor in Art History.

Pennsylvania State University was not the obvious choice for me. I did apply to universities both in the UK and U.S. I was considering attending the University College of London (UCL) to study Electrical Engineering but I was not that enthusiastic about it. The fact that Penn State is on the East Coast made me choose it over UC Santa Barbara.  

 What are your goals for the future?

My short-term goal is to get an internship at a technology company like Microsoft or Otis. However, in the long run, I have not decided whether I want to follow the research track or start working and then study an MBA to pursue more leadership opportunities. Right now, I just want to try out everything and I think that will help me make the decision.

What tips do you have for current students who want to study what you study?

  • Make sure that you fulfill the requirements and get the grades needed.
  • Try to be as outgoing as you can: In the end, it is not only about your grades and skills, but also how good your relationships are and whether you can sell yourself.
  • Try not to limit yourself: Gain exposure to different subjects.
  • Apply early to university: I personally started to apply too late and I strongly advise you not to make the same mistake as I did because I did miss a couple of deadlines.

Do you keep in touch with your EF Academy classmates?

I do keep in touch regularly with a close group of friends! I even went back to EF Academy Torbay twice to visit everyone – once for spring break this year and once for my birthday.

What’s your favorite memory from EF Academy?

Without a doubt, making friends! Both the teachers and the environment were great – overall it was a friendly experience.

What do you miss the most?

I miss meeting and hanging out with people outside of school. Of course, it was cool to meet people in school but it was more fun to meet people outside of school.

What is one thing that you learned from EF Academy that you found valuable for university? For work life? For your personal life?

Time management and self-management: After two years at EF Academy, I really felt that I had become a man. When starting at university, I could really tell that I was ahead of my peers. For most of them, university was the first time that they left their parents and they found it to be quite challenging. On my end, I had already been independent for two years so I felt that I was ready from the beginning. I knew exactly how to manage my own time.

What tips would you give to current students?

Have fun and try not to rant too much. Looking back, we were all complaining that Torbay was so small and there was nothing to do. However, all of us who left Torbay now miss it like crazy – weird but true. It was truly a great experience!

Also, think of yourself as an adult and take responsibility for yourself. The aim of your time at EF Academy should be to become independent and to learn how to manage your life. Do not be afraid of making mistakes during high school – you will learn from them and they will not make that big of an impact on your life overall.

What career advice would you give to your fellow alumni?

Make sure to gain exposure to different leadership positions. Of course, your success will always be dependent on getting good grades, but it will also come down to how you work with others and how you handle pressure. Also, build a good resume as soon as possible.

Who are the most successful alumni that you know of?

Sining Liu – Alumna who is now studying mathematics at Imperial College.

Short questions:

Name: Peyman Norouzi

Age: 20

Nationality: Iran

How many languages do you speak? 2 – English and Persian

EF Academy campus: Torbay – I would definitely recommend the Torbay campus because it is a small community, which makes it easy to make new close friends.

Graduation year: 2014

Program: A-Level. It was great program for me because I really got support to focus on my studies. Compared to IB, we studied fewer subjects but instead we went really in-depth and learned to derive the actual concepts. I was also happy to find out that A-Levels are a very respectable qualification also in the U.S., which meant that there were no problems for me to apply to university in the U.S.

Residence or host family: Residence

Favorite subject: Physics

Favorite teacher: Oliver Chapman – it was really fun in his class because he was good at understanding different situations.

Favorite club/society: Started to get a movie club going during my second year but we did not manage to really set it up, but it was fun anyways.

Who to interview next:

Phoebe Chang – Studying at Arizona State University 

Pedram Esmailzadeh – Studying at Arizona State University

Shouts outs to:

  • All of my friends

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