Student profile: Fatima Al Rayes
Fatima Al Rayes is a first-year BSc Economics student on the Crown Prince's International Scholarship Program from Bahrain.
Fatima writes: UCL calls itself 'London's Global University', and really, a slogan has never been so apt!
Being the first university in England to accept women, people of differing creeds and those of varying religions, UCL has a well-established tradition of integration and acceptance; in a lecture hall you can find yourself sat between someone from the other side of the world and a London local, each for whom UCL provides a completely new experience.
Quite honestly, UCL acts as a microcosm of the city in which it is located - London, 'the best city in the world', as a taxi driver told me upon my arrival. Aside from being the best city in the world, London is a thriving cosmopolis, an absolute melting pot of more than 150 nationalities. Even having experienced the cultural diversity of an expatriate community such as Bahrain, the utter size and mixture of cultures surprised me! So whether you're from the Middle East, America, Poland or Yorkshire, you can be guaranteed that London has something to make you feel at home whilst also providing enough new experiences to keep you guessing throughout the course of your degree.
Lecturers themselves hail from all over the world, and this combined with the broad-based student body provides a great many outlooks on life, stimulating intellectual debate in class. Speaking of academia, need I really say anything, for UCL's reputation undoubtedly precedes itself.
If this still isn't enough for you, there is a plethora of sports clubs, societies and organisations that you can join - too many to enrol in even if you decide to stay for a masters! I only just enrolled a little less than a month ago and I am already a member of the Economics and Finance Society, the Women's Football Club and the Volunteering Society. With such networks you cannot fail to make new friends, and you can be assured of many a late night sat round your kitchen table with your flatmates, should you be in halls of residence.
More important than all of this, however, is UCL's attitude to life. Having only been here a short while, it is already clear to me that studying, important as it is, is not the epicentre of life. UCL aims to make you a unique and self-sufficient individual - lecturers encourage you to think independently and do more than textbook-reading; your peers stimulate you and force you to push yourself to new and exciting limits; your faculty welcome you into the UCL family with open arms and you are encouraged to participate in events, play sports and take full advantage of the thriving city on your doorstep.
For the next three to four years, London is your oyster - and who knows what's next?