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Young teens ‘buddy up’ with SOAS students to learn about university life and languages

3 April 2014

A group of SOAS, University of London students took part in the IntoUniversity Buddy programme, designed to offer young students the opportunity to work with aspirational adults at university and learn more about studying subjects at a higher level.  

School pupils from Lister Community School in Newham experienced university life for the day, as part of a widening participation drive at SOAS last week. The SOAS student participants were first year PhD students Lucrezia Botti and Lu Lu, MA student Yanchen Li and second year BA student Warda Maye. All were trained by IntoUniversity to act as ‘Buddies’ to a cohort of Year 8 students for the day and created their own interactive educational workshop.

IntoUniversity buddy programme pic

Pupils from Lister Community School exploring the SOAS book shop

The SOAS students facilitated the Lister Community School pupils on a planned campus tour before delivering an engaging Languages workshop. The pupils took part in an interactive language learning session where they learnt how to count in Arabic, Italian and Mandarin, and were also given an insight into the cultures and customs related to the languages. The teenagers also explored the benefits of studying a language at degree level.

The benefits felt by the young people as working alongside aspirational adults were reflected in their comments about the day: “[the best thing about the programme was] going around the university… I saw lots of exciting places” and “touring the uni because it was the first time I had seen a uni.”

Paul Wiggins, SOAS Widening Participation Officer, who delivered an introductory speech about studying at SOAS said: "IntoUniversity's aims and ethos fit in really well with our desire to see more young people from under-represented backgrounds studying here at SOAS. The Buddy programme is a great way to connect with the huge pool of talented young people who might never even consider going to university without access to programmes such as this one."

IntoUniversity provides local learning centres for young people to get inspired and to achieve. The Buddy Programme takes place in university campuses across London, Nottingham and Bristol. IntoUniversity also work with SOAS students on their Mentoring and Academic Support programmes – to find out more about how you could get involved this year or next go to IntoUniversity website or email volunteering@intouniversity.org.