UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE)


Zeynep Naz Behram

Meet Zeynep - she's originally from Istanbul in Turkey. She progressed to Applied Medical Sciences BSc after studying the UCL foundation year in 2020-21. Find out more about her experience below.

Zeynep UCL International foundation year UPC student

Why did you choose to study at UCL?

UCL is one of the best universities to study. When I was doing my research as a prospective student, I was impressed by the possibilities of research areas and the ideology of lecturers.

In addition, UCL is not only academically successful, but also there is a wide range of clubs and societies. It has a high international student ratio and therefore allows the students to discover different cultures and traditions.

What course do you study now and what is it like?

I am currently studying Applied Medical Sciences (AMS) at UCL. To be honest, I originally wanted to progress to a biochemistry degree.

However, during my foundation year, a student who was studying AMS gave us a presentation about his degree. After looking at the degree’s structure and modules, I changed my mind and decided to study AMS for undergraduate.

AMS is among the new courses all around the world and UCL is one of the leading universities in this area. I really enjoy our laboratory sessions. I can define this course as the ‘science of medicine’.

How has the UPC helped you in your undergraduate degree?

UPC helped me in many ways for my undergraduate degree:

Academic English 

First of all, I was feeling that my English was not good enough for direct entry to undergraduate, as I graduated from a French high school.

Academic English lessons in particular helped me improve my language skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing).

Academic skills

In our Science and Society module, we learned how to reference. This was quite helpful for first year, as well as how to read and write academic articles.

My optional modules in biology and chemistry also helped me to improve my lab-report writing, scientific knowledge and foundation in science.

During the UPC year, getting feedback from our tutors for everything we did has been so helpful to prepare me for the ‘real’ university life.

What was the biggest challenge you faced during your time on the UPC?

Unfortunately, because of Covid-19 pandemic, I did my UPC year entirely online. It was very stressful and difficult in the beginning, because online learning was a challenge for everyone. Then, with good communication between students and tutors, we structured the course content and online materials in the most efficient way.

Also, when studying online, it is difficult to make friends. Still, thanks to the group homework and other projects, we were able to connect. We created group chats on social media, and we did our best to study together and complete group projects.

What advice would you give to a prospective UPC student?

Stay focused

To be honest, the UPC is not an easy year. To be successful, you need to stay focused and study. But when you learn that you are accepted to your dream university, it's worth everything.

Enjoy London

Even though the UPC is a difficult year, please do not forget that you are in London - one of the best cities in the world. So don’t forget to have fun as well! The balance between social life and university is the most important thing, and living in a city like London teaches you this in the best way possible.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve done, seen or got involved with while at UCL?

I am currently a member of British Sign Language society. It was one of my goals to learn sign language but I couldn’t do it until I came here. I am so happy that we are given this opportunity.

Also, we sometimes arrange Turkish students’ meetings in London. We cook Turkish food in our hall, and we listen to Turkish music with my Turkish friends. The best part of these nights is that our foreign friends come and have fun with us. We introduce our culture, and they introduce theirs.

Where is your favourite place on campus and why?

I really like the architecture of the main library. The entrance feels like an art gallery and I can really feel the history of UCL there. Also, there is a book shop near campus called ‘Waterstones’. It is also a good place to study, grab a coffee and meet with friends.