Young woman sitting in garden reading her notes.

Poet Reem Abbas is a former student of Al-Wadi International School in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, one of more than 2,500 schools in our British Council Partner Schools community. Completing her international GCSEs and A-levels at Al-Wadi unlocked global opportunities for Reem, leading to an award-winning career in the UK.  

The catalyst

Partner Schools is a worldwide network of forward-thinking, student-centred schools delivering UK international qualifications with support from the British Council. Through this we help educators everywhere to bring an international outlook to their classrooms, and to prepare learners for success all over the world. For Reem, being part of our Partner Schools community was a chance to connect with like-minded students in other countries, and a pathway to life-changing work and study opportunities overseas.  

The spark

Reem flourished at Al-Wadi, supported by the patience and dedication of her teachers. The school’s interdisciplinary environment and the international focus of its curriculum sparked her curiosity, inspiring a love of learning that extended far beyond the classroom. And with her UK international qualifications, upon graduating Reem was able to confidently apply to top universities around the world. 

The success 

Reem’s time at Al-Wadi was the beginning of a truly international future. She completed her bachelor’s degree at Bilkent University, Turkey, before moving to the UK to pursue a master’s at the University of Cambridge. In 2022 her thesis exploring the work of British poet Basil Bunting was awarded the prestigious Review of English Studies Essay Prize by Oxford Academic.   

Now a PhD candidate at Cambridge, Reem’s poetry and writing has been published in a range of literary journals including Poetry Birmingham, PN Review, ArabLit Quarterly and Wasafiri Magazine.  

‘I am genuinely grateful for my time at Al Wadi, without which I would not have been able to achieve all that I did.’ - Reem Abbas