New international students welcomed to UCL
24 September 2007
Around 2,000 new UCL international students took the chance to meet their peers and learn all about their new university during the International Students' Orientation Programme, 19-21 September 2007.
Aimed at all new international undergraduate, graduate and affiliate students, the programme incorporated a series of formal welcome events, special sessions on study, immigration matters and living in London, as well as an informal reception for all students, addressed by Professor Malcolm Grant, President and Provost of UCL.
Also part of the three days were sessions on the essential administration needed to get students started in their new life in the UK, including course enrolment, campus tours, registration with the UCL Health Centre and with Information Systems, and the opening of bank accounts.
Starting at university is a time of great change for all students, but for international students there are additional challenges. Added to the challenges of a new degree programme, new environment and new friendships are the demands of a new country and culture, and often the switch to English as a working language.
Addressing students at an undergraduate welcome event, UCL's Pro-Provost for China, Hong Kong & Macao, Professor Moira Yip, talked about UCL's academic standing, which draws so many students from across the globe. As London's global university, maintaining a thriving international student community is a core part of UCL's endeavour, explained Professor Yip: "You're here because you are special. You are bright, and many of you will go on to be tomorrow's leaders.
"Immerse yourselves. Live if possible with students from different countries to your own. Read British newspapers, go to pubs and clubs, try British food - if you can find it in London! At least once during your three years here, get out of London and go somewhere rural in Scotland or Wales. You'll never quite be the same person again after your experiences here."
It is just this willingness to try something completely different that brings many students to UCL. Monica Gomez, who is starting an MSc in Technology Ventures and Foundations of Entrepreneurship, gave her perspective: "I come from Colombia, and although I've been to Europe a couple of times, this is my first time in the UK. I just wanted a completely different experience, and UCL is a great university and very international. So far everyone's been very friendly - and I've only been here three days!"
Jose Silva, from Portugal, is at UCL to do an MSc in Remote Sensing. He's delighted to be in London for his studies: "The UK is one of the best places to study in Europe and UCL's Remote Sensing Unit has an excellent reputation. And I love London. I only got here on Monday, and I've already been sightseeing to Westminster, Big Ben, the Tower of London and Piccadilly."
Tamara Oleven who has come from Brazil to complete an MSc in Theoretical Psychoanalytic Studies, agrees: "It's all come together, because London is a great city, and UCL is a great university and the only place where I can do this particular course. It will be challenging working in another language, but that's what I'm here for. I'm so happy and I can't wait to get started!"
Dr David Stevens, Head of the UCL International Office, commented: "The Orientation Programme is one of the most rewarding aspects of the International Office's work. Every year staff from the Office are re-acquainted with students who they first met at their former schools or universities, at an education exhibition or a presentation overseas. It's great to see someone you first met as an enquirer arriving to register as a UCL student and starting to settle in."
To find out more about the support available if you are a new undergraduate student at UCL, use the link at the top of the article.
To find out more about UCL's activities across the globe, see UCL Global.
To learn about UCL's global citizenship agenda, see Global Citizenship.
Image 1: Panel from left to right - Steve Whittle (Clubs, Societies and Student Development Sabbatical Officer), Olivia Alford (Services and Events Sabbatical Officer), Professor John Foreman (Dean of Students), Dr David Stevens (Head, UCL International Office) - speaker, Professor Moira Yip (Pro-Provost for China, Hong Kong & Macao)
Image 2: From left to right - Monica Gomez, Jose Silva, Tamara Oleven