International Students


Student profile - Cesar Cortorreal

Cesar (CJ) Cortorreal

MA Social Justice and Education     

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States


What attracted you to UCL?

UCL Institute of Education is ranked one of the top institutions in the world in education. Their faculty are leading experts in their fields and provide critical information to engage with in discussing Social Justice and Education.

image of Cesar Cortorreal

How has UCL been different to your previous university?

UCL is different, at least at the MA Level, since learning is much more independent. While we do engage in lectures and seminar groups, the courses are designed in a way that allows students to engage with current theoretical debates and social phenomena and explore where we fit in educational research and practice.

What aspects of your studies do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy the topics of discussion in my courses. Centring social justice within education allows for an interdisciplinary, critical approach toward education to inform better education practice, thought, pedagogy, theory, and more.

What makes you most proud to be a UCL student?

I am most proud of being a part of an internationally diverse group of scholars engaging in complex issues surrounding education.

Describe your time at UCL in three words.

Critical. Interpersonal. Knowledgeable

What are some of the most interesting things you have done, seen, or got involved with while at UCL?

I am a Course Representative for my course for the Social Justice and Education pathway at UCL IOE. I serve as a liaison between students and faculty, voicing concerns, highlights, and potential improvements for the following year. I attend meetings with other course representatives and faculty, as well as other course representatives and administration.

In what way has studying in London enriched your studies?

Studying in London has enriched my studies by allowing me to engage with other students from various backgrounds in Latin America, across Europe, China, Korea, and more. The various experiences each person share informs us of an international approach and thinking of social justice and education in our respective localities and together as young scholars.

Who inspires you most at UCL and why?

The faculty at UCL inspire me the most. They are well-respected in education research and have critically engaged with various aspects of education including youth culture, institutional violence, migration, ableism, race and racism, and more.

What advice would you give to a student considering UCL?

Advice for students considering UCL is to believe in their ability to navigate and overcome obstacles to study as a new student at the graduate level or internationally; reach out for support from other students and faculty members.

How has being at UCL changed you and the way you think about yourself?

UCL has provided me with the tools to analyse, critique, and envision an education grounded in social justice: enriching student experiences, and overturning institutionalised, systematic oppression.

What are your future ambitions and how do you think that being a UCL student will help you get there?

I am unsure where my journey may take me, but I am sure it is toward an equitable and just education system. All students deserve an education that cares about them as unique individuals and fosters their emotional and intellectual growth.