Andre is a Unite Foundation scholar studying at Westminster University. He tells us how a scholarship is helping him succeed at uni.
“When I first arrived here from Angola, I was really traumatised by losing my parents; by everything that had happened to me. I didn’t know English. I didn’t know the system in this country, or how to behave.
With time, I met people and started my studies – things gradually got much better. I studied Level 3 electronic engineering BTEC, living in Hackney on my own, supported by Hackney social services.
Westminster University told me about the Unite Foundation scholarship and sent me the form. I thought: ‘OK, why not apply, always good to try!’
I was on a train to Hackney when I got the email saying: ‘we are delighted to tell you, you have won a scholarship’. I couldn’t believe it. I shouted. Everyone on the train kept looking at me! I was really happy.
I don’t have the words to say how much the scholarship means to me. I was so worried about accommodation. It came at exactly the right time. I didn’t know where I was going to live. It gave me comfort and really good peace of mind.
It has freed up my time to try new things. I’ve applied to be a guide to new students from September under the university’s Friend of Arriving New Students (FANS) programme. I’d like to do this to improve my communication skills and grow my leadership skills.
I also recently applied for voluntary work at a charity that also provides internships – I want the real experience of working – this is only possible because I have a place to stay where I don’t have to worry about rent.
I feel I belong here at University. I feel I have a family here with my friends. I feel I am part of the Unite Foundation.”