Role Reversal

Danial Naqvi
4 min readAug 25, 2018

We hung out together, broke bread together and shared many laughs. Now, eight months later, we resume as normal in London not Austin. Role reversal.

Me, Amalia (middle) and Will (right) in Old Street, London, UK

‘This “shrinking world” leads to so many opportunities to travel and experience. Oh, and to connect old friends that shared amazing times together.’

This is a familiar situation with a different backdrop.

I met these two wonderful people to the right of me in Austin, Texas.

I met them while I studied abroad and experienced life on the other side of the pond for the first time alone.

Amalia is a student at QMUL with me and we went to represent the university in Texas.

I had never met her before, but she was the same age and studying Biology.

Amalia and I became friends almost instantly and probably out of necessity.

Over time we hung out because we enjoyed each others company and it was great to spend time with a Brit abroad.

She introduced me to friends like Freya, Sakshi and other students studying abroad from Edinburgh.

We made quite the community.

To my fault, we failed to meet consistently when we returned to the UK.

This is a trend with all friends. I know about it. I’m going to be honest and say I’m doing very little to actively change it.

A little sidetrack here — I decided somewhere around January that I wanted to go full force this year.

I wanted to experience it all. Decide for myself and take some selfish action.

I’m in that process and I try to meet with people when I can and when it suits me.

For too long, and to the detriment of my mental health, I did the opposite. I cancelled my plans to fit around other people.

My year has been great so far, travelling to Europe and the USA — achieving things I never dreamed of and I couldn’t be happier looking back.

I’ve met tons of new people and it’s been great to do that too.

I’ve tried to help people in everything, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

Back to this blog…

I hadn’t seen Amalia since January, but today we were reunited by one commonality.

That commonality is Will.

I met Will, thanks to Amalia, in strange circumstances.

Will is a student at UT Austin and is now finally doing a major he likes. Linguistics.

Will and I first spoke at a frat party in a shabby cabin on the far West of campus in the first few weeks of September.

I distinctly remember having to pay $10 to get in. For the party to be shut down after USC beat UT in double overtime in American football.

After a long way back to campus, I realised how awesome Will was as a person.

Will, and Amalia too, helped me to design and launch the MExU Project.

Although that exploit has since departed my priorities, it was an achievement nonetheless.

Launching it 1.5 months after it being created, while travelling and studying at at top 50 educational institution in the world.

Will did a podcast with me too.

Yes, ages ago, I tried to podcast.

After the third episode corrupted I decided to come back to it when I could do a better job.

It used to be called ‘MExU Stories’ and Will came on to help with one episode:

Maybe I’ll pick it up again one day.

But it’s clear to see that these two were pretty integral to my enjoyment on my study abroad.

We ate together and we shared stories, perspectives and opinions.

Will provided a perspective similar to mine and often played devil’s advocate to make my ideas more robust.

We had planned his trip to London while we were in Austin.

I’m glad we got to meet up.

I’m glad they are both the same people.

I’m sad that I won’t see Will for some time but hoping to meet Amalia again soon.

We showed Will our university and he said it was ‘nice and pretty’. That might just be the Texas in him.

Will has travelled to many Eastern European countries this summer where he loves for Russian has taken him. He has always told a great story. Natural born storyteller. Now to get him to write a blog or a book…

As a trio, I have fond memories of Austin.

Late nights and hysterical laughter.

Will and Amalia taught me a lot about how to live.

How to exist amongst others in perfect harmony.

I’m thankful for them.

Glad we got to meet in London.

I enjoyed today. I left myself thinking of times past and gearing myself up for the future times.

Role reversal.



Danial Naqvi

Joint PhD Candidate Business & Management at Manchester & Melbourne| MSc UCL Science, Technology and Society | BA (Hons) QMUL Human Geography |