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A female student wearing graduation hat and smiling

I cried when I found out I got a First. It felt amazing to graduate.

Hadiza, Nigeria

Introducing Hadiza

  • Country: Nigeria
  • Studied: Foundation in Law, leading to: LLB (Hons) Law

Why did you pick the University of Plymouth International College (UPIC)?
My cousin was based in Plymouth doing her masters, so that’s what initially brought me to Plymouth. When I visited, I absolutely loved it and decided this is where I wanted to be; living by the sea was amazing.

Why did you choose Law as a subject?
I chose Law because I wanted to help people and make a difference. Lots of people end up getting into trouble because they don’t know the right thing to say at the right time, or they don’t understand the law, and this leads to them making mistakes. I felt that if learnt to understand Law then I could help other people understand it in times of need and improve their lives.

I’m the first in my family to study Law so it was a brave decision. Some members of my family are involved in Business, Accounting and Politics, so it was a completely different career path to them.

Describe your experience on arrival
When I arrived, there were lots of social events organised at UPIC for new starters. This really helped me find friends when settling in.

Clever Student Lets accommodation were also great. I moved into a shared accommodation in a 10-bed flat share. I think it’s better to share a house as it’s less antisocial – it felt like a family base. In my house-share there were Chinese and Hong Kong students, Nigerians, a Ghanaian, and two British students.

And there was even more diversity in my class with students from Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Iran, Zimbabwe and many more. Having that mix of students was great for making friends – we were all new to the city and we ended up forming a large friendship group. All of the friends I made at UPIC remain my close friends to this day, even 4 years later.

What advice would you give to a new student?
I was 16 when I moved to Plymouth to study my Foundation in Law – that made me one of the youngest in my class. It can feel very overwhelming when you join as a new student, but don’t panic. My advice would be to just breathe. Take everything as a new, positive experience. From your very first lecture you will meet students who have travelled over the world and arrived knowing nobody. You’ll quickly meet new people and they will become your new family.

Describe the moment you realised you had been awarded a First-Class Honours degree in Law
I cried when I found out I got a First. It felt amazing when to graduate. I went to China in the summer for school over the summer. I checked online for my results whilst I was over there and I screamed! I reloaded the page 3 times and checked that the name was mine, I couldn’t believe I’d achieved a First-Class Honours in my degree. I called my family straight away; my brother first. He was with my mum and the time and I could hear her scream with excitement in the background.

If you had 3 words to describe UPIC, what would they be and why?

Exciting – Because every day came with new challenges, new opportunities and new adventures. When we all first arrived we didn’t exactly know anything, so it was a new experience for all of us.

Challenging – I’d use this word because the British educational system is very different to the Nigerian system. For example, what would have got a 100% score in Nigeria would only get me a 60% score here. That was a big shock at first, but I soon realised that 60% is a very respectable score in the English education system, with anything over 70% being classed as a distinction, leading to a prestigious First-Class Honours degree.

New Beginning – OK, I’ll admit that ‘new beginning’ is two words! I was learning so much all at once. I was meeting different people from all over the world, the diversity was incredible. I was learning at university, learning how to find a good balance between work and social life, and adapting to life in the UK.

Looking back over your whole 4-year experience, is there one moment that stands out?
The biggest highlight of my time studying in Plymouth was going on holiday with my friends from UPIC. This year we went to Morocco together and it was just an amazing holiday. It’s definitely a major highlight.

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