My experience of International Foundation Year

Written by Haruka Murakami

Looking back my IFY study, it was tough but also a meaningful year. Before reflecting my feelings, I want to introduce contents firstly. In my case, the course was Arts integrated with social science route to progress BA TESOL in undergraduate. It consisted of three modules; social science, social inequalities, and Academic English. Academic English, was useful to get skills in academic studies. Through the year, we could get the skills for skimming, scanning, referencing, presentation, and essays. Our achievement was assessed by various type; essays, presentation, annotated bibliography, and seminar discussion. The other two module related with social science have two type of classes every week. One is lectures which students mainly listen to professors. The other one is seminars which is discussion base. The content of seminar is one week behind than lecture. It means we have time to read literature to prepare for the discussion. Usually, the teacher gave us some questions for seminars. This process enables us to understand the topic in our own words. At the same time, through the discussion, we can have opportunity to know different perspective from other students. It provided me with the skills of critical thinking which is important for future study. In terms of assessment, the main method was essays. There are several essay questions, and students can choose based on their interest. Those social science modules enable us to understand how to use the academic skills which we get in Academic English class when studying the specific subject.

Through the year, there are many assessments and all of them directly connected with the progression to undergraduate study. It was really stressful, but at the same time, teachers provided us with a lot of support. For example, we had a chance to submit the draft to improve our work reflecting on feedbacks. In addition, there is office hour which we can ask questions to teachers outside of class hours. The most useful support for me was personal tutorials. All students have a personal tutor for each year, and we can talk about any problem not only academic things but also to do with daily life.

I did not have any experience of academic study before coming to do the IFY, so everything was new for me. All tasks took a long time to complete and I stayed in the library all the time. It was tough but I worked together with friends.
We all have the same goals and motivation in the same situation and difficulties. We shared our time and feelings. One of my best memories was the exam day. On the last night before the exam, I studied all night with my classmates. Just before the exam, we exchanged the word to encourage each other. After the exam, we hugged and shared the happiness of manage the tough year together. I’ll never forget the day. After progressing to different courses in undergraduate, we are still good friends. Also, in undergraduate study, we have a confidence which we can overcome difficulties from IFY experience.

Not only in terms of the academic aspect, but the IFY was also a good period to prepare for university life. During the year, I could know how to use library, how to manage the time, and how to access the other facilities. Thanks to this preparation, I did not have any difficulties when I started my degree programme. Moreover, I could have inner peace of mind on the first week of the degree programme.

IFY year made what I am now. Without the experience in IFY, I definitely could not do well in my undergraduate study. Looking back now, I think it was good experience to study in IFY.

Author

Haruka Murakami
Hi. I’m Haruka Murakami studying at BA TESOL. Before coming to Leeds, I studied at Toyo Eiwa high school in Tokyo, Japan. After that, I did 6 week summer pre-sessional...
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