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Ternopil School no.24 Ukraine

Mariana moved from the Ukraine to the UK in April 2022, following the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Hear about her experience of moving to the UK, in her own words and her plans for the future.

Me and my family were hosted by a very kind English family.

My migration to the UK was caused by very stressful life events. Fleeing the war and finally finding a safe space in the UK felt like a miracle. Despite missing my wider family who stayed in Ukraine, I have transitioned into a new way of life relatively easily.

Studying English for ten years in Ukraine gave me the advantage of being able to access the British education system. Despite my short-term struggles to socialise, I was fortunate to make friends quickly when I started at College, who’ve supported me throughout my journey. The teachers were always happy to help me with any issue and I felt very welcome at the College.

How did you decide which subjects to study?

I chose to study Law, Economics and Psychology at College as those were the subjects that interested me. I liked the idea of combining theoretical knowledge with practical applications and my choice of subjects shaped my decision to study Law at university.

What extra-curricular things have you been involved with?

During the summer break of Year 12, I took part in the Law essay competition organised by St. Hugh’s College, Oxford, submitting an essay titled “Are there any legal decisions that judges should not make?”. I wrote about the standards of conduct found in the Bangalore Code, which included independence, impartiality and competence. I was awarded a third prize and invited to visit the college in September 2023.

I also took part in the London School of Economics essay competition, writing about the effects that AI can have on the market for creative professionals.

Recently, I took part in the Peter Cane Legal Reasoning Competition, organised by Corpus Cristi College, Oxford. This involved an analysis of Fiduciary Law and its application to a scenario to determine whether the defendant would be liable for a breach of trust. I was privileged to receive a highly commended mark for my work and on the back of that was invited to a workshop and a prize-giving ceremony in the college. This recognition paved the way for me to attend an open day at the Oxford Law Faculty.

These competitions have been very beneficial to me as I developed my academic writing skills and applied them to the topics outside my A Level specifications. I would strongly recommend current Year 12 students engage in as many essay competitions as possible. It doesn’t only look good in your personal statement, it can also lead to other opportunities.

What are your plans for after College and longer term?

I hope to gain the grades to study Law at university and then immerse myself in the subject!

Did you sit the equivalent of GCSEs before you left Ukraine?

When the war started, I had one more year of study before I could gain a Ukrainian Certificate of Secondary Education. That meant that when I moved to the UK, I had to keep up with both my College work, and my Ukrainian school work via online assignments, but I got there, so it was worthwhile!

How has the conflict and your forced move to the UK, affected your outlook on life?

I began to deeply appreciate the intrinsic value of everyday things, such as family and security. It seems that only through the experience of loss do we truly learn to cherish what we once took for granted.

You’re clearly a very high achiever, what would you say drives you?

My primary motivation is the pursuit of my fullest potential, and the belief that human intelligence has boundless possibilities. Whenever I start to feel satisfied with my current knowledge, I actively seek out new challenges so that I can continue to achieve personal growth.

How has your experience of studying at the College benefited you?

I’ve developed the ability to study independently and manage my time effectively – skills I could not have obtained at my previous school but ones that will undoubtedly benefit me throughout my life.

Mariana, 2024

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