“…I gave her, (the applicant’s mother), a moment or two to catch her breath and after we had agreed on a payment plan, she ended the conversation by telling me that her son is a very good boy, and a bachelor, if I am looking for a good husband!!”
Sharon Brown, Student Adviser at the UNICAF Call Centre in Larnaca, Cyprus.
Our job is basically to guide students through the process of their application. We need to confirm that they qualify for the course they have chosen and also advise them if this is the right course for them, or offer alternative options. We also help them choose an affordable payment plan and answer their questions regarding the University and study programmes on offer; we ensure all relevant documents are submitted in a timely manner, in order for our applicant to be considered for a UNICAF scholarship and for admission to the University of their choice.
To work as a UNICAF Student Adviser you need to have a good understanding of all partner universities and study programmes offered through UNICAF. Of course we also need infinite amounts of patience and understanding, we must speak clearly and make sure our applicants fully comprehend the information we provide them with.
One of the funniest moments I have experienced on this job was with an applicant whose mother would be paying his tuition fees. I called the mother to explain the payment plan options available, but the moment she heard that I was calling for the University, she started running down the road with the mobile on her ear, as fast as she could, believing I wished to speak to her son. Every now and again she was telling me “I am getting him for you, please hold on”, not hearing me say that it was her I wanted to speak with! When she finally passed me to her son, she was panting heavily from all the running. The son promptly passed the mobile back to her. I gave her a moment or two to catch her breath and after we had agreed on a payment plan, she ended the conversation by telling me that her son is a very good boy, and a bachelor, if I am looking for a good husband!!
One of the best rewards is seeing someone who has been struggling in life, overcome many challenges, both personal and even physical, to be accepted on a degree programme of a partner university with a scholarship; telling them the good news and hearing their joy on the phone is the most rewarding part of our job.
My hardest time is when I have applicants from very underprivileged backgrounds who do not have the necessary qualifications to get a place at one of UNICAF’s partner universities, however much they want this to build a better life for themselves and their families. Replying negatively to them is very difficult always.