IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Q&A with Hiba Alwadi

Hiba's Arabic languages skills and experience proved invaluable at her school placement in a Refugee Welcome School.

*From the 2024/2025 academic year onwards, this degree has been renamed as the Education, Society and Culture BA.

Congratulations on graduating, Hiba!

Tell us about your journey into UCL and university study.

I wanted to find the best place to study education, after taking the time and looking at various universities I found that the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) is the best university for education as a subject. Choosing UCL has enriched me with knowledge about the value and importance of education, which I have always been passionate about, and I felt that the IOE was the best place for me to continue my journey.

What did you enjoy most about your degree?

During my Education Studies BA, I particularly enjoyed subjects that covered sociology, philosophy and psychology. I would say that the Educating and Organising for Social Justice module (an optional module taken during year 2) was very special. In this module, we were given a school placement at Newman College in Brent, which is one of the schools in London that welcomes refugee students. The school was very special and I was deeply moved. I felt I wanted to help there, particularly in their EAL (English as an additional language) department.

This module has brightened up my future. The experience also allowed me to help at a summer camp for Syrian refugees.

What were your first impressions of UCL?
That is was very organised and everyone was supportive. The staff were friendly and helpful.

Speaking of the placement experience at Newman College, now an official Refugee Welcome School, Hiba said:

The school placement was three days long. I was deeply moved by seeing how the school is committed to welcome the refugees and help them in many different ways, by giving them opportunities like anyone else. During the placement, I visited the school's EAL department that includes 300 refugees from many different countries.

This module did not only increase our knowledge; it taught us so many things we never knew or experienced before. This module made us all engaged towards helping social justice in education.

What is the biggest challenge you face while studying?

I have had to balance the responsibilities of mothering alongside my life’s ambition to secure a good education and a career in teaching.

The following year, I began my PGCE and, having completed this, I am now a fully qualified primary school teacher.

Is there anything else you would like to add about your experiences at the IOE?

It has been an amazing, unforgettable journey!