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The University of London solved all my difficulties

Current MSc Computer Science student Osman Calisir discusses how receiving a bursary, funded by the 2020 Student Support Appeal, meant he could continue his course despite financial difficulties.

Written by Sammy Glennon-Bond |

male student seated at desk with laptop, facing camera
MSc Computer Science student Osman Calisir was supported by the 2020 Student Appeal, which has helped students impacted by the pandemic.

Thanks to the generosity of its alumni community, the University of London’s 2020 Student Support Appeal raised enough to support over 40 current distance and flexible learning students who had been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The donations received helped to provide bursaries of up to £500 to support students like Osman Calisir. Here, he tells us what this financial support meant to him, and why he was subsequently motivated to make a donation to enable others to pursue their dreams of higher education.

Tell us about the moment you found out you were being offered financial support from the University.
At the time I asked for financial assistance, I was living in Turkey and was working as a full-time front-end developer. Inflation had reached very high levels in Turkey following the COVID-19 outbreak. My firm decided to close just as the registrations for the courses were opening, and I needed to find another job as soon as possible to pay the fees.

Meanwhile, the exchange rate was rising day and night, and I really wanted to finish my studies on time. I emailed the University of London and explained my predicament, stating that I can only afford three courses but not four.

In Turkey, I scored in the top 0.0005 percent on the university entrance exam but had to drop out due to financial difficulties. I have never received support from my own government for my studies, so I was taken aback when a university I had never stepped foot in, where I was studying online, granted me financial assistance. 

Can you describe the impact it had on you? What difference did it make?
The initial impact was huge. I received the email and was happy that I would be able to finish my studies on time thanks to your great assistance. I truly believe that the University of London is more than just a university; it is also a place where you can go to get help with your problem. I always receive courteous responses, and the University of London solved all of my difficulties.

What motivated you to then donate to the University’s scholarship fund?
I work full-time and can only study during my free time. This year, I relocated to Münich, Germany, and had three job offers in less than two weeks. And, while I haven't finished my studies yet, my time at the University of London has been incredibly beneficial in my job search. I know this because when I speak with an HR advisor or recruiter, they frequently ask how to apply to the University of London. A few of them already knew about the University and are planning to apply to the university as well.

After moving to Germany, paying my tuition has been much easier. I reminded myself that I had some difficulties in the past, and I am confident that many others may be quitting university or completing it slowly due to financial difficulties. The scholarship was a present to me, and it made me quite pleased. Now I believe I can contribute to my university and assist in making others happy.

Your bursary was provided thanks to generous donations from UoL alumni. If you met your donors face-to-face, what would you say to them?
I wish you happiness, and I am sure that this university will be valuable to you. Please keep in mind that there are those that desire to accomplish the same results as us. And once we succeed, we may assist others in making their lives better.

The University would like to thank those who supported our students by donating to the 2020 and 2021 Student Support Appeals. Your donations supported students like Osman in their pursuit of higher education. Thank you.