Ranked #1 in the UK for international support and visa advice and one of the few London universities to offer on-campus housing, the University of East London (UEL) offers overseas students a comfortable and supportive welcome.

SchoolApply interviewed Adna Imamovic, an international student at UEL, originally from Bosnia who travelled from the United States to the UK to gain a fresh start, seize interesting opportunities and discover new experiences.

UNIVERSITY OF EAST LONDON

Location: London, England (UK)

Student Name: Adna Imamovic

Age: 21

Graduation: July 2019

QUICK-FIRE QUESTIONS

Favorite school event: This question is almost impossible to answer because UEL has had so many amazing events throughout the years! I'd say my favorite school event is any underground bar party. These parties were the first social events I attended in London and it was where I met so many of my good friends.

Favorite class: My favorite class was my maths module. I didn't realize how much I missed math until I was able to flex my brain in that class. It was very satisfying to be able to solve problems and score well on the exams. I've had a lot of difficult classes in my course, so it was nice to be able to relax and just train my brain in this one.

Four words to describe University of East London: Lively, Supportive, Involved, Community

Tell us a little about yourself…

My name is Adna, I'm 21 years old and have just recently completed the third and final year of my undergraduate degree. As of this term, I have begun a UEL postgraduate program.
My family is originally from Bosnia but I've never lived there. I was born in Rastatt, Germany. A few months after I was born, my parents immigrated to the United States. We lived in New York City for six years before moving to Jacksonville, Florida for some warmer weather. After eight years, we moved to St. Louis, Missouri. I began studying in London in 2016 and am currently still living there.

I studied in a few different schools in the United States. When I was younger, I really enjoyed school but I was never able to really enjoy high school. I was really excited to go to university and gain some independence.

How did you hear about UEL and what made you decide to study in the UK?

My mother moved to London from Bosnia when she was 18 years old, so she was always supportive of my desire to study in Europe. I wasn't very attached to my life in the US and was looking for a fresh start. I really wanted to leave my life and study somewhere far away, preferably in an English-speaking country. I did a ton of research online on London universities and I knew it was absolutely essential to me to live directly on campus. I was able to rule out a lot of universities as there are not many in London that have accommodation directly by their facilities.

I finally picked a few universities in London to apply to, but I struggled with the application process. After completing my applications, it seemed that UEL was going above and beyond to reach out to me through emails and phone calls which helped to clear up so many questions I was having at the time. I was really looking for support as I was worried it was going to be difficult to be an international student in the UK, so this made UEL seem very promising.

What were your first few days at UEL like?

The first few weeks of university were the best of my life. I had an extremely good first impression of the university when I moved into the housing. There were a ton of events planned for students to be able to meet people and socialize, which I really enjoyed. The river view from UEL at sunset was iconic. I was so pleased with my accommodation and I was excited to be able to live on my own for the first time. I was nervous before my first class but the first few weeks of school turned out to be very exciting for me. I was at peak optimism during these first classes and was genuinely interested to learn again.

What degree did you pursue and why?

I studied Computer Science. I took a web design class in high school that introduced me to some aspects of how computing worked. It was really interesting to me and a class that I genuinely enjoyed. It was the first time I could actually picture myself pursuing a more complicated and practical career. I never felt like I had any drive or motivation before then. I'm lucky to be in a position where I'm genuinely proud of the degree I completed.

Did you have any problems adjusting to life in a new city or university?

I had a lot of fears about having trouble adjusting to the UK and to university, but these worries were completely unfounded. I ended up thriving in the university environment and was able to grow much more than I did in a high school setting. There were certainly a lot of things to learn in London between the transportation and the culture, but there wasn't anything that was too shocking.

What has your academic and social experience been like as an international student at UEL?

Being an international student during international welcome week was one of the best experiences I've ever had. I was able to meet other international students who were in the same situation as me. I had such a great time connecting with them and I was able to learn so much.

I was concerned that since I went through a school system in a different country that I would be behind other students in my course, but it wasn't the case. I definitely felt very supported when I needed it. As an international student, I had other needs and concerns that home students did not have, so it was good to be able to direct questions or requests to a dedicated international team.

I have found UEL’s location to be extremely convenient since central London is only about a 30- minute ride away. Living and studying in East London means you are not far from popular destinations such as Westfield, the O2, Shoreditch and Canary Wharf.

Have you had a job while studying?

I've worked a wide variety of odd jobs off and on-campus while studying at UEL. I began working in the school’s International Call Center and then moved on to work as a UEL Student Ambassador. I have led campus tours and worked in the call center for UK students. I participated in university open days and open evenings, led student life talks and assisted with campus visits from secondary schools.

I have worked in a market research call center off campus and also had a job as a waitress. I assisted with an exhibit at the Tate Modern and worked as an Intern Developer at a start-up website. I've gained a lot of experiences through all of these jobs and learned a lot about working with people.

How has the University of East London prepared you for life after college?

UEL gave me a lot of skills to succeed in the real world that I wouldn't have been able to develop on my own. I took advantage of the many part-time work positions available through UEL and they not only kept me busy, but also helped me gain a lot of valuable work and life experience. Things that used to make me anxious when I was younger, are now easier and more comfortable for me. For instance, there was a work experience module in my course which pushed me to find a part-time job in my field in central London. Without this, I may not have urged myself to do likewise. The job was a really eye-opening experience for me and it gave me a taste of the real-life computer science world.

What would you say to international students who are considering studying at the University of East London?

UEL's main strength for international students is their high level of student support. They are very aware of their international students and the challenges they may face and so, are always available for them. The university’s other primary strong point is how they make the new environment comfortable for all students. I was able to find so many social events to mix with other students that I never had time to feel homesick. There were always aspects of the US I missed, but there wasn't any point during my undergrad that I felt lonely or had an urge to go back home.

Interested in finding out more? Click on the University of East London’s SchoolApply profile page for more information.

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