UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE)


Top performing students awarded the UPC Progression Scholarship

8 August 2022

The UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE) awards the scholarship to two top performing students from the Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPC) each year.

Jiayi and Ksenia

We’re thrilled to announce Jiayi Gong and Ksenia Odintsova are this year’s recipients.

The UPC prepares international students for a UCL undergraduate degree who don’t have the qualifications to enter directly and is split into two streams:

  • Humanities (UPCH)
  • Science & Engineering (UPCSE)

Ksenia, who lived in Italy and Russia before moving to London, studied the UPCSE while Jiayi from China studied the UPCH.

They are the highest achieving students from their respective UPC streams to continue their studies at UCL.

Karen Keenan

Karen Keenan, UPCSE Course Coordinator, said:

“It is always a pleasure to recognise the academic achievement of all our students. The significance of the UPC Progression scholarship award will not only provide a well-deserved financial reward for Ksenia, she will also be able to enhance her future academic career profile. Well done, Ksenia.”


Luke Seaber

Luke Seaber, UPCH Course Coordinator, said:

“I’m delighted to see Jiayi win this, which is much deserved. I look forward to seeing her achieve further successes as she carries on at UCL”

Jiayi will start her BSc Economics and Statistics degree this autumn and Ksenia has secured a place on the Medical Physics Integrated Master’s – both at UCL.

Ksenia was lured to London by the international environment in British universities which value diversity and provide “the opportunity to communicate and collaborate with people from various cultural backgrounds”. Something she described as a “truly rewarding experience”.

Jiayi chose the UPC at UCL because of the high progression rate into top UK universities compared with other foundation degrees and believes the UPC provided her with high-quality teaching and individualised support to help her prepare for undergraduate studies in the UK.

Both students cited the critically supportive role of course tutors when asked about their favourite thing about the UPC.

“This year was an academically intense and a mentally challenging one. I am therefore very grateful to all my tutors, who offered me support throughout the course. I would undoubtedly call this my favourite part of the UPC. Not only did my tutors spur my intellectual progress, but they also provided me with kind words of motivation and compassion in the moments of my trouble and failure.” – Ksenia
“My favourite part of the UPC was that each student had the opportunity to communicate regularly with their personal tutor or student mentor, which gave me a lot of help when I was experiencing some difficulties with my studies or life.” – Jiayi

Rena Sherman – a mathematics tutor from the UPC – spotted Ksenia right at the beginning of her studies:

“I noticed her enthusiasm right from the start – she had a positive motivating influence on the whole group. It would not be too much to say that she lit up the room when she came in. Her maths insight is outstanding, and she has a rare generosity of spirit. She would help explain concepts to others in the tutorial and even encourage some of the shyer students to participate more. Though clearly a highflyer, she enjoyed challenging herself beyond the scope of the course and asked some interesting questions. She gave several excellent presentations to the group. This award is richly deserved and Ksenia can look forward to a highly successful academic career.”

Ksenia’s physics tutor, Vincent Gimbert, agrees:

“She has been an exceptional student and showed not only academic excellence in all components of the course but also a great deal motivation and of maturity throughout the year, in particular through her role as Physics students’ representative.”

Like Ksenia, Jiayi also excelled in mathematics, tutor Amelie Berger commented:

“Jiayi was an excellent student in mathematics. Her determination and ability to work independently should be very valuable for her further studies. She worked hard on exercises and on understanding of the theory, from the first day of the course to the last, and she thoroughly deserves this prize. I wish her all the best for the future”

And her economics tutor was similarly complimentary:

“I'm delighted Jiayi has won this year's prize for top-ranking UPCH student proceeding to a UCL degree. Economics is a demanding subject but eventually rewarding. Jiayi worked hard from start to finish and followed all advice at all stages. I wish her an enjoyable three years and beyond. I trust she will find UPCH has prepared her well for her immersive Economics joint degree.”

When we asked Jiayi about her favourite thing about her studies on the UPC, she specifically mentions her personal tutor, Mark Bailey, who said of her:

“Throughout the year Jiayi was always very diligent and organised, but she was also very proactive in seeking advice during her personal tutorials. To her credit, she made a concerted effort to continually apply this and made notable progress – personally and academically – as a result. She is a very deserving recipient of this award!”

The UPC Progression Scholarship provides scholars with a tuition fee discount as well as the confidence to continue to excel in their future undergraduate studies.

“The UPC Progression scholarship gives me the confidence to face challenges during my undergraduate studies. This is because it reminds me not only of my joy in receiving it, but also of the effort I put into it and my determination not to give up in the face of setbacks.” – Jiayi

Everybody at UCL CLIE wishes Ksenia and Jiayi all the best in the future and we’re sure they will both go on to repeat their remarkable achievements from the UPC in their undergraduate study at UCL.