Riz Ahmed says the classism he experienced at Oxford University prepared him for acting.

Riz Ahmed

Riz Ahmed

The 'Sound of Metal' star felt "imposter syndrome" studying at the prestigious UK university but admits he felt "discomfort" because he wasn't like the other students.

He shared: "I still sometimes find myself confronted with that discomfort. You know, that sense of imposter syndrome if you're not to the manor born. My parents were just very focused on education. Rather than going on holidays or anything like that we would try and get a tutor in to get us ready for the entrance exams, try to work out how to get us into private schools which were, in many ways, like a culture shock to begin with, just like Oxford was.

"In most rooms, where decisions are made, it’s about being able to be conversant in that upper middle class English, and I don’t just mean in terms of how you talk, but just being comfortable in those spaces, which took me a long time. The film industry in the UK, I think, is rife with the same kind of classism and it was a weird experience."

And the 38-year-old actor soon realised that the places where people don't always feel they belong are the places to be as it allows you to "contribute something new" and "grow".

Speaking on BBC's Grounded With Louis Theroux podcast, he added: "Then I thought, 'Actually, the place where you don’t feel like you belong is maybe where you belong, is where you should be, is maybe where you can contribute something new, where you can grow.'

"We have to learn to be comfortable with the discomfort of that. And I ended up having a great experience, where I did a lot of acting in the plays there, and I put on a club night that helped pay my way through that ... It’s usually the way that the challenges are the gifts."