UCL News


Seven questions with Sarah Al-aride

8 December 2017

This week meet Sarah Al-aride, the Students' Union UCL Education Officer and a recent graduate from the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies. Sarah shares with us some great advice for current students.

Sarah Al-aride

1. What did you study at UCL?

I graduated this September with a BA in Economics and Business with East European studies. A very unnecessarily long degree title but the best thing about studying at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES) was the huge breadth of module choice we had within our department. It meant I also got to take language and culture modules like 'Narratives of Exile' and 'Vampires, Societies and Culture: Transylvania and Beyond'!

2. What does your role involve and how long have you been at UCL?

In my final year of study I ran in the Students' Union spring elections to be a full time sabbatical officer. I successfully won the election and have been working at the Union since this summer as the Education Officer. This role has given me the opportunity to sit on many high decision making bodies, committees and boards all with the premise to ensure UCL students get the best out of their educational experience and convey the student voice. As an officer, campaigning on issues that are important to the student body also forms an integral part of the work that goes on at the Union.

3. Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list?

A couple of weeks ago I launched "Don't pay again," my priority campaign looking at challenging UCL on the additional compulsory course costs many students discover once they begin their course. I don't think it's fair that you should have to pay an already inflated tuition fee, only to find there are even more charges to pay on top in order to be able to do essential parts of your degree. So far the response from students has been great and we've been told of costs ranging from pricey DBS and health checks to field trips and specialist equipment. If you're a student and reading this please take a couple of minutes to fill out our survey here and tell us what costs you want me to prioritise when asking UCL management to help us tackle this issue.

4. Have you discovered any hidden gems during your time at UCL?

My favourite spot on campus will always be Print Room Café, where I probably spent way too much time in last year when I should have been writing my dissertation. I just love the chilled, relaxed vibe and in the evenings there are usually great union events going on from open mics to live music. It's also a great place to get a quick hot lunch and now even breakfast!

5. Give us your top three things to do/see/go to in London?

What makes London for me is its diversity and so you can really make the most of international cuisine here. Sushimania in Finchley, North London, does a great all you can eat sushi for about £16 and Indigo Street food of India does my favourite butter chicken. Aside from food, London is great during the winter break and the yearly "Winter Wonderland" fayre is a must visit, as well as the perfect time to watch a theatre show in the West End.

6. Describe your perfect weekend after a long week.

A nice lie-in followed by a hearty brunch and a fun day out or simply a movie at the cinema.

7. What one piece of advice would you like to share with UCL students?

Don't be shy to get stuck in and involved with societies, sports and just general union activities. This is how I met many of my life friends and made my best memories during my time at UCL as a student. Remember that you'll get through it in the end.