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This year’s International Student Officer’s are Madina Khusnullina and Nelia Kornilova. Here’s a bit more about them with seven serious and seven random questions: 

Let’s start off with the serious questions…

What is an International Students’ Officer?

The name says it all for this one - our responsibility is to represent interests of international students at UCL and support them.  

Why did you become the International Students’ Officer

We are international students ourselves and we want to give an opportunity to other international students to make positive changes students all over the world. We want to share our experiences of living abroad, overcoming difficulties, and dealing with a cultural shock. We also think more could be done in terms of cultural events at UCL with such a diverse student body.

Being an international student is fun but still challenging as we have different conditions compared to home students: less support from family and friends, different language, totally new environment. Hence, even minimal support is essential especially in the first year of studying in a foreign country. 

When we see the result of our actions we feel that we do something important and useful for the students. This feeling is truly amazing! 

What are you planning to do this year?

We are working on establishing an International Students’ Network so that there is a sense of a supportive community at UCL. We want to make international students feel connected both to UCL and to each other despite Covid-19 - to make sure students are informed about the opportunities available to them and that they know who they should contact when they experience difficulties. 

Also, we are setting up a monthly newsletter designed specifically for international students which will include career tips, upcoming events, insights of how International students live and study at UCL remotely across the globe. 

What do you like about the role?

Nellia: It gives me a range of opportunities to connect with fellow international students and to learn about different parts of the world. Most importantly, it allows me to shape the international community at UCL - to help international students, empower them and just make them happy at UCL.

Madina: I like that my raw ideas become a reality and can make the difference for a better university experience. I meet new people, get to know different cultures. Also, it is fun to work along with very helpful Union staff and help with the development of new events and projects. 

If you were Provost for the day, what would you do? 

We would provide more support to international students in terms of language difficulties and better communication between students. Also, it would be worth trying to establish more grants, scholarships and financial support for international students, and rethinking tuition fees for international students, especially during the coronavirus pandemic period.

The random questions…

What’s was the last show you binge watched? 

Nellia: Better Call Soul

Madina: Black Mirror 

Favourite ice cream flavour

Nellia: Caramel and tiramisu

Madina: Vanilla

What’s your favourite holiday, and why? 

Nellia: Definitely Spain - the mixture of weather, culture, general easiness and wine is unbeatable

Madina: Norway- last proper adventure with my friend before Covid times

What’s the phone app you use the most often? 

Nellia: Spotify, I am a music nerd

Madina: I’m addicted to Instagram 

Who do you admire most in the world? 

Nellia: People and their stories

Madina: My grandma

Which of your personality traits are you most proud of? 

Nellia: Openness to experience - I like to explore 

Madina: My optimism with a dash of realism 

What’s on your bucket list 

Nellia: Write a book and record a music album

Madina: Start a small food business as a hobby or become an advanced guitar player

Get in touch with Nelia and Madina