Q&A with Jack Whaley: Country Development Officer (Sub-Saharan Africa) for the Admissions, Recruitment and Marketing department at the University of East Anglia (UK)

| April 10, 2018 | 0 Comments

Tell us a little about the University of East Anglia (UEA).

UEA is a UK Top 15 and World Top 200 university1 and was recently awarded gold in the UK government’s “Teaching Excellence Framework”.2 We are based on a 320-acre natural parkland campus in the historic city of Norwich in England. We have four faculties: Science, Medicine and Health Sciences, Social Sciences, and Arts and Humanities. We teach just about everything at undergraduate and postgraduate level, but are world famous for our environmental sciences and our international development and creative writing programmes.

What would you say is the best thing about the UEA?

We’re most proud of our consistently high student satisfaction ratings, which are some of the best in the UK. I put that down to the academic support we provide to our students, both in and out of the lecture theatre. We have a library that is open 24 hours per day, 365 days a year; a multimillion-pound career centre in the heart of the campus; and the largest Sportspark of any UK university, offering 80 different sports.

UK universities are often considered expensive for students from southern Africa, particularly with the current exchange rates. Does the UEA offer any financial assistance for students?

We have to remember that it only takes three years to get a bachelor’s degree with honours in the UK, which is one year less than most other countries – meaning families have one less year of living expenses to cover. However, here at UEA, we recognise the need to offer some financial support to our international students, and we have a fantastic scholarship scheme for all undergraduate international students. It isn’t guaranteed for all students, and there is a small application process. However, there is only one short question to answer and we place more importance on the quality of the scholarship application than the academic merit of the applicant, so as to give all applicants equal opportunity. Successful applicants are awarded a 25% or 50% reduction of their fees for the entire duration of their programme. Last year, we awarded 58 of these scholarships, so I’d encourage everyone to apply.

Can students from southern Africa work in the UK?

Yes. It is a common myth that students aren’t able to work in the UK. On a student visa, whilst studying, students can work up to 20 hours per week and during their holidays, they can work up to 40 hours per week. We also run a number of courses with a “year in industry” option. This gives students the opportunity to take a paid internship of between nine and 12 months between their second and third year of studies, and many even get job offers at the end of it if they have excelled.

Do international students have to take a foundation or pathway programme between leaving school and studying at your university?

No, a foundation or pathway programme is not required, unless the student has either studied a curriculum/qualification not recognised in the UK or if they have not met our entrance requirements. For example, we accept students who have taken the South African matric directly into the first year of all our undergraduate programmes.

When does the academic year begin in the UK, and how do we apply?

The majority of UK universities have their main intake in September each year. A small number may have more than one intake. In terms of applying, you’d need to filter the 130+ universities available in the UK down to just five. We use an application system called UCAS, and it only allows students to apply to up to five universities. If you’re applying to a medical or veterinarian course, then your application needs to be submitted prior to 15 October the year before you’re expecting to start. All other courses have a faux deadline of 15 January. It is a good idea to get your application in prior to this date to secure your spot. However, we accept applications to courses after this deadline, right up to June, if there are still vacancies available on the course.

References:

1. See: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/worlduniversity-rankings/2018/world-ranking

2. See: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/teaching-excellence-framework

Category: Autumn 2018

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