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Rebuilding Lives With Scholarships

23 February 2017

This week UCL Student Support & Wellbeing are holding a series of fundraising and awareness events to support refugee education initiatives in the UK and abroad. 

At UCL, scholarships can provide vital support for talented students, enabling the world’s best and brightest brains to study at the university whatever their background. 

Disruptive Thinking

We spoke to first year Pharmacy student Rami Bouhassoun about the impact receiving the Rose Scholarship has had on him.

Rami’s Story

“Before the war in Syria, I lived a quiet life with my family in a town called Sweida near Damascus, and I completed my secondary education there. But in a matter of months it was no longer possible to go to college. I couldn’t travel safely to my studies as explosions were a frequent hazard. I feared for my life, and my family had no idea whether the conflict would last for a matter of weeks, months or much longer.

Our traumatic circumstances were made worse when, just before our departure from Syria, the treatment my mother has been receiving for cancer became unavailable. We had no choice, we could either stay, facing isolation, little education and possibly even death. Or, we could leave. My parents chose to leave, so along with my brother we made the journey to London.”

A new chapter

“January 2014 was a remarkable time in my life, a new chapter. We had a lot of hope and I was very excited about the possibility of studying in the UK. But at the same time life was a challenge in many ways. My mother’s ill health was still a concern, as were our financial problems together with the fact that my education up until 2014 had been purely in the Arabic language. 

In August my determination to make my father and my mother proud paid off, as I achieved three A* grades at A level Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics.

When I’d done some research about the best UK universities to study at, I found out that UCL was the best option for me for many reasons: it is nationally and internationally high ranking, its students are of different nationalities and backgrounds and it has a good reputation.

Money had always been a concern that worried me about starting my studies at UCL and when I was told that I had been awarded the Rose scholarship, I began to cry of happiness because financial problems were no longer a barrier between me and my goals. The scholarship has enabled me to focus more on achieving high standards in my studies. Studying at UCL has already given me the opportunity to learn so much, and opened up a new horizon for me. I will be forever grateful to the donor of my scholarship, and will always try to come as close as possible to their generosity and kindness through my own actions.” 

Funding additional scholarships and bursaries is a key part of It’s All Academic, the Campaign for UCL. To find out more about how you can support the Campaign, please visit www.ucl.ac.uk/campaign