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Student Profile: Aya Ouagague

I was completely blown away by the beauty and modernity of Warwick and the fact that there is literally everything we need and a real sense of community with the staff, teachers and students.

Discover Aya's journey at Warwick and what led them to apply for BA Politics and International Studies.

How did you find out about Warwick?

After obtaining a French baccalaureate in Morocco, I was destined to continue my higher education in France. However, deep down I wanted to escape from the Moroccan and French culture I had been immersed in all those years. I naively looked on Google for "best UK universities" and Warwick particularly caught my attention as it was a very young university compared to the others and especially for its green campus.

Did you consider studying anywhere else? What made you choose Warwick?

Firstly, I have always dreamed of visiting the United Kingdom and experiencing the culture and landscape, but the concentration of prestigious universities with world-renowned teaching and learning resources made me particularly keen to choose the UK for further study. Warwick was my firm choice in UCAS as the university offers excellent academic standards and good employment prospects. In addition, the department in which I study 'Politics and International Studies' is one of the best in the UK and allows me to develop intellectually. Of course, Warwick is also a place to grow humanly as it welcomes many internationals and this gives it a bubbling of culture, perspectives, ideas and opinions.

How did you feel to be awarded a scholarship?

It's a lot of pride and relief at the same time. As an international student, it is quite financially complicated. With housing and other needs, you can quickly reach pretty large amounts in terms of budget. So it's a weight off my parents' shoulders. Furthermore, I felt enormously proud and gratified that my profile was selected from all the other applications because I spent a lot of time polishing it so that it could best reflect my individuality and my assets.

Who was the first person you told when you received the news about your scholarship and how did they react?

The first person to know was of course my mother. She was sleeping and I woke her up to announce the good news. I could see a lot of pride and happiness in her eyes and we both jumped for joy.

How did you apply and did anyone help you with your application form and visa application?

My high school didn't offer any help and advice on studying in the UK, so I had to seek out a specialised student guidance agency to help me through this and to inform me of the expectations and the admission process. I did not encounter any real difficulties except perhaps the VISA application procedure with the large amount of documents and translations required and the long wait for my dossier to be processed and for me to finally get it.

What was your first impression of Warwick when you first walked around campus?

As I walked around the university I was completely shocked and thought "wow, I'm really in England, in Warwick, a long way from home". It was so much more beautiful than on the internet and so much bigger that I got lost so many times. But I was completely blown away by the beauty and modernity of Warwick and the fact that there is literally everything we need and a real sense of community with the staff, teachers and students.

What is the best thing about Warwick?

For me, the best thing about Warwick and what distinguishes it from other universities is its utterly wonderful campus. There are lots of green areas and animals like squirrels, rabbits and geese (the university's emblem). All the accommodations are relatively close to each other, which makes it very easy to meet various other students and to spend some time in their place (big thought to Westwood). You could also compare Warwick to a small town as there are so many facilities nearby: Curiositea, Terrace Bar, sports, e-sports and arts centre, canon park, and others.

What is the worst thing?

The campus can quickly become a drawback as we can feel 'stuck' and 'isolated'. Although it is relatively close to Coventry and Leamington and easy to get to by bus, we don't have the same advantages as if we were in the city and there were lots of activities to do and places to visit and discover

How is your accommodation?

Tocil was my fifth choice, I must admit I was slightly disappointed at not having an en-suite and was particularly concerned about sharing my bathroom. Nonetheless, I ended up loving my accommodation and have been able to make it a real home where I feel comfortable and at ease. Tocil is really well located: between the Piazza and Tesco and I don't mind sharing my bathroom at all as we have 4 for 12 people, which is more than enough. I also share a lot of good times with my flatmates: friendly and warm people from all over the world.

Are you a member of any societies?

I wanted to take a few weeks to adjust to the change of scenery, to focus on my classes, to adapt to this new environment and the British university system. At the moment I have only joined the Salsa Society to keep dancing, as I started when I was five, and to clear my head. I attended the Latin Night and it was a lovely moment with a lot of fun and good music. I also plan to join the Public Speaking Society to learn more about the art of public speaking and gain confidence and eloquence when it comes to addressing an audience.

What are your plans when you graduate?

My dream is to become a diplomat for my country, Morocco. I would like to carry out diplomatic activities with other states or international organisations to promote the interests and colours of my country at the international level and contribute to its growth and progress.

What would you say to someone considering applying for an Undergraduate Global Excellence scholarship at Warwick, what would it be?

If I could give one piece of advice, it would be to have confidence in yourself and your life path. It is necessary to remain honest and to focus on your individuality and emphasise your potential and abilities. Show that you are driven, that you know what you want and what you are worth, and don't hesitate to be explicit about your ideas and to go into more detail.

What one thing makes you happy about Warwick?

I have only been here for a month and a half but I can already say that I love Warwick because it is such a warm environment where everyone can express themselves, their individuality and grow both on a human and intellectual level. Indeed, there are so many different degrees that one can choose to specialise in and there are so many unique societies that one can join to meet people who share the same interests and why not make lifelong friends. This university is therefore a safe space that celebrates everyone's differences, cultures and backgrounds and supports the flourishing and mental health of its students.

Aya's course:

BA Politics and International Studies puts an emphasis on the international dimensions of politics. While political theory provides the core of the degree, you can tailor your course to focus on your main interests within International Studies.

Does democracy bring greater stability to societies? Why do states use violence? If these questions fascinate you, this degree could be the right fit for you. Learn about politics at a national and international level. Gain valuable skills in theoretical analysis, qualitative and quantitative research, and written and verbal communication.

Find out more about the BA Politics and International Studies course at Warwick