IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Q&A with Ibtissam El-Founti Hamed

Ibtissam is a Spanish student doing her Education Studies BA. She talks about the power of education to make real change.

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

Thanks for joining us, Ibtissam!

Tell us why you applied to study Education Studies at UCL?

In college, I studied Health & Social Care and it covered education and social issues which I really enjoyed it. I have always had a passion for education and teaching so I thought this programme would fit really well with my interests.

My college didn’t really push us and didn’t tell us about the best universities so I didn’t know very much about UCL. It was actually one of my teachers that first told me about UCL, she had studied Education Studies here and she said that I had to study at UCL because it is ranked first in the world for education – she had different schools fighting for her to work for them and I thought I want to be in that position!

What is it like to study Education Studies?

In this programme we look at education from different aspects and different disciplinary lenses, for instance we consider the legal aspects, social aspects, political aspects and psychological aspects. The course is amazing because we look at education very holistically; we look at how teachers, politicians, parents, children and the community all influence education and it is really great way to understand the broader picture.

What have you found most valuable about your degree?

The most valuable thing is that this programme opens different pathways – you can get into anything you want! Each lecturer has their own area of interest and when they teach us about their research it opens up your mind and makes you think about the possibilities to help different people. For instance one of my lecturers focuses on street children in Egypt and it is really inspiring to think how what I am learning could help people in different ways. Education can really change a person’s life so I think the things we learn are really valuable.

I really enjoyed the Education and Organising for Social Justice module I studied last year. The module partners with a charity called Citizens UK and we got the opportunity to participate in one of their projects and go out into the community to gather support. The project we were working on was Citizen UK’s campaign to reduce the price of passport application fees. They ran workshops to teach us how to communicate effectively and how to campaign to MPs. Then in groups, we made presentations and went to schools throughout London to teach them about the campaign and about how they could get involved. In my class, I got the children to role-play how they would talk to politicians about this issue. It was really great hands-on experience.

What do you hope to do after completing your degree?

I want to go into teaching but I don’t know what I want to teach yet. Or part of me wants to go into educational psychology. This course opens up lots of different opportunities and you have to sit down and really think about what you want to do.

There is the Careers office here which is great because you can book an appointment and talk about what you want from a career and explore paths that might be suitable. 

Tell us what it is like to live and study in London.

In London I feel like I can experience the world because it is so diverse and there are so many things to do. Also being a student in London means that you get access to lots of different universities’ facilities which I do quite a bit. When I speak to other London students and they ask me where I go they are always impressed when I say UCL so that is a really nice feeling.

What would you say to somebody thinking of applying to the IOE to study your course?

I would say apply! If you are interested in changing the world or being involved in shaping society then I think Education is the right subject to study. Within this programme we study media, sociology, psychology, law and politics and I really like having all the different disciplines within one programme. It is a really great programme to be able to have a broad perspective on education. I couldn’t see myself doing any other course!