Mansour Ahmed was one of the 42 students who gained 3 or more A grades in his A levels in 2009, and he's now reading Computer Science at Cambridge. We caught up with him on our Alumni Day 2010 and took the above video.
From the Sudan to Oxford
Mansour joined us from Cheney School, having been awarded the Julie Bailey Access Scholarship – for students of outstanding academic ability joining the College from the state sector. He describes the move to d'Overbroeck's:
‘People want to be here; they want to work.’
'It was life-changing: I'd never have got to Cambridge otherwise. I didn't have a clue where I wanted to go and how to get there – but at d'Overbroeck's there's so much advice and guidance.'
Mansour's story isn't a typical one. Born in Sudan, he left as a refugee at the age of two, following the military coup in that country. His father – formerly the national manager of railways – was incarcerated and tortured by the new regime.
Even now, nearly two decades later, Mansour and his family are unable to return to the Sudan.
Mansour's time at d'Overbroeck's
As you might expect of one who's gained a place at Cambridge reading Computer Science, Mansour is passionate about computing – specifically, the creative possibilities of programming. And his account of Computing at d'Overbroeck's is glowing:
‘Once you've joined d'Overbroeck's, you'll never leave’
'If you don't enjoy computing before d'Overbroeck's, I guarantee you will afterwards. Alan [Milosevic, Head of Computing] is an inspirational teacher.'
More generally, how would Mansour describe d'Overbroeck's?
'There's quite a sense of drive and determination. People want to be here; they want to work. It's difficult to describe ... But a lot of it's about providing opportunity.'
And what makes d'Overbroeck's so different from other schools?
'The teaching is probably the biggest difference. There's none of that 'them and us': teachers are approachable in and out of lessons. They give you their email address; their phone number. And the classes are small – so if you have a problem, they're always there to help. That's important.'
Finally, we asked Mansour what aspect of d'Overbroeck's will stay with him the most. After a long pause:
'... Alasdair MacPherson's jokes? I don't know! I reckon, once you've joined, you'll never leave.'