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27 June 2022

Options Open - The International Experience

Options Open: The International Experience

Over the summer break, the College will be showcasing further the options available at Ealing. This will be the first in a series of articles, named ‘Options Open’. The summer months can be a time for rest and relaxation amongst students, emerging from a rigorous academic year. They can also herald a time of doubt and confusion regarding the next best steps to take in young lives. This anxiety can grow as results days get closer, and these articles will offer clarity as to how to make these decisions in a well informed manner.

The first article deals with the international experience, which changes from student to student at the College. Many colleges of a similar type to Ealing have a large contingent from one particular country, potentially China, Vietnam or perhaps Mexico. Having such a circumstance can be problematic in some ways, with cliques developing. This can stymie the transition to a new country massively, with students preferring to hold conversations in their native language rather than English, and struggling to make friends from the locality.

Ealing Independent College is a truly unique learning environment which has a very different approach. Firstly, it differs a great deal from the normal perception of what a secondary school is. With class sizes capped at 12, and the total student population closer than one hundred to one thousand, ‘community’ is the word which best fits our identity. Our student body is made up of 90% of students from the local community, with the remaining 10% being a vitally important section made up of international students. 

They bring vital characteristics to the College: cultural variance; experiences of different parts of the world; new approaches which come alongside those episodes in their lives.

We go to great lengths to ensure that students who join us from overseas are welcomed into that College community with open arms. Inclusivity pervades everything we do here, and the broad range of countries represented at Ealing makes that abundantly clear. With each student retaining their individuality during their time here, providing an insight into the stories of many of our students seems the best way to showcase just how empowering and inspiring undertaking a course at EIC can be.

Having just waved goodbye to our Year 13 cohort, with it, we bid farewell to students from South Korea, Japan and Turkey, alongside those with Nigerian and Somali heritages. 

Our Year 12s are similarly cosmopolitan, with students from Saudi Arabia, Italy and China studying beside those with Armenian, Polish or Sri Lankan backgrounds.

So, what is it like to be an international student here?

It’s a difficult question to answer in one article - and - as in most things at the College, it is best to let the students answer that rather than myself.

Edgar came to the College in 2020 from the United States, at year 11 age. Having visited several state schools in the area, he found that none of them could help him. The flexibility of the College, in offering a custom built GCSE Intensive course for him, enabled him to attain excellent grades in six GCSE subjects in one academic year, which subsequently allowed him to gain entry to A Level study at the College. He now studies Geography, Sociology and Economics, and recently applied to become part of the Student Leadership Team at EIC. His application about why he wanted to join was forthright in his views about his time here:

“Last year I joined EIC whilst other schools were hesitant to accept me. I saw school as a chore but EIC made me excited to learn and improve academically and socially. I feel I owe EIC my full dedication to make students enjoy the college and visualise it the same way I do.”

We have no doubt that Edgar will go on to a wonderful university, and the College will have played a significant role in ensuring that happens.

Edgar is just one in a long line of students who have come to the UK and found success, being able to make the best of the flexibility, expertise, guidance and advice which the College provides on a day to day basis.

Several alumni from the College have been able to share the stories behind their journeys with us through our Azoomni podcast, and many of those have come to the UK from abroad to do so. Listen to the range of stories by clicking the links below:

Hakim came to Ealing from Geneva in Switzerland for an A Level course, studying History, Business and French. Having completed his studies at the University of Reading, he has now gone onto completing an MSc in International Shipping and Finance, and has just taken on a role as a Cargo Broker.

Adam successfully completed both his GCSEs and A Levels at EIC, having come, with his sister, from Malaysia. A very popular member of the College community, Adam led the Student Council, and achieved excellent grades in Mathematics, Computer Science and Physics. He is now involved with businesses in his home country.

Thanu came from Singapore to the UK, and completed her A Levels in Mathematics, Biology and Chemistry with outstanding results. She now studies Medicine in Malta at Queen Mary University there. Also extremely popular here, Thanu was part of the College’s Model UN delegation to MIT in Boston. 

Pejman is another student who loved the transition to the College. ‘Born in Iran, made in the UK’ is how he started his UCAS Personal Statement, and that characterises him perfectly - he really found his passion for Art here. Alongside his work with the student council, which involved painting the Reading Room in the College, he now studies Fine Art at UAL: Central St Martins.

Danial also heralds originally from Iran, and quickly became a highly respected member of the College community. Benefitting from some additional English Language guidance at the start of his time here, he made many friends, starred in a title winning football team as goalkeeper and was part of an incredible College trip to China. He graduated with GCSEs and then A Levels to study International Business and Marketing at the University of Roehampton.

Finally, Edward, who originates from Lebanon, had a huge impact at the College during his five years here. A student council leader, a football club stalwart and an incredibly proactive student, he absolutely loved his time here. He now studies Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Liverpool.

Moving from abroad to the UK for education can be a challenging decision. One must be sure that it is the right one, both academically, and socially. Ealing Independent College remains an astute choice for any non-UK based parents who are moving to West London.

Students at the College, moving from abroad, thrive. They are quickly integrated, made to feel welcome, they make lifelong friends and go on to exciting new opportunities, supported within an empowering, inclusive community.

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