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Q&A with Hiba Alwadi

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

Hiba Alwadi Education Studies BA

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 do you enjoy most about your degree programme?
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, and I was accepted to work in their school.

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.

 

Have you benefited from any work experience or internships offered by UCL?
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.

One of the difficulties the school was facing was the lack of Arabic-speaking staff. I felt that my heart remained in that school, and that with my Arabic language, previous experience and courage I might help the school. Following a successful interview, I will be working permanently in the EAL department from September as an Arabic-speaking teaching assistant.

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?
The biggest challenge I faced was balancing between my two children and my degree. I was doing my best but with the help of the teachers I was able to keep going and made it to the end of my degree successfully.

Is there anything else you would like to add about your experiences at the IOE?
It has been an amazing, unforgettable journey!