My experience of International Foundation Year

Written by Jason Zheng

Reminiscing about my international foundation year (IFY), has made me realise how much of a wonderful time it was for me. When I first arrived at the University of Leeds on September 14th 2019, I remember it was during the Welcome Week. I was so excited and a little nervous, also I did have lots of problems about where to register, where to get information about my course, and many more. However, I am thankful as there are lots of friendly student ambassadors stationing around the university, helping me and making me feel better.

My IFY course was linked to the Business Route, which meant I would progress onto the BSc Banking and Finance undergraduate program. The courses mainly focus on Academic study skills, maths and business. Firstly, the academic study skill mainly helps us to improve English writing, listening, and speaking skills, for example, there were often discussions and seminars which allows me to express my opinions freely as well as to train my presentation skill during classes. We are able to improve our writing skills, such as having the ability to know how to write an essay and writing a correct referencing. Besides that, we were taught how to do a better presentation, how to discuss topics in seminars, these courses were mainly assessed by presentations, essay writing, and seminar discussions. Secondly, the math mainly focused on pure and applied mathematics, probability and statistics which can prepare us to catch up on the undergraduate maths syllabus.

Lastly, I found the business subject very fresh and interesting, I learned about the foundation of accounting, economics, and marketing, I found these classes challenging as it is very new to me but beneficial as it lay a good foundation as it prepares me to catch up easier during my undergraduate degree. At the same time, I usually book an appointment or email my personal tutor or my classes’ lecturer, to address my question about studying and personal issues. They are really helpful and I am very grateful for them giving me much positive impact and support.

Outside the courses, I enjoy encouraging myself to actively anchor into university life, learning about different cultures, meeting new friends, and improving my communication and English speaking skills. To work on that, I joined some events and societies, there are lots of activities at the Leeds University Union or universities every week, I would join in their events when I am free, so that I know some new friends, they are all so friendly. For example, I join some painting events and basketball competitions. I also enjoy traveling, having a meal, and going to the pub for a drink with my friends. These outside-the-classroom activities have painted my university life with colours, allowing me to be occupied and not feel lonely away from home.

I know that balancing my study and my university life is not a simple thing for me, I would usually go to study spaces to get myself prepared for classes as well as to do assignments. The university’s library study space provide me a lot of help, my favourite study space place is the Edward Boyle Library, which has a silent study space, which is a quiet and comfortable study environment for students, which makes me enter the learning state quickly. Other than that, I also enjoy my moment at the Language Zone. It provided me a pretty great opportunity to build up my English. I made a lot of new friends there and from that I know that we are here not just to exchange our mother language, but also to exchange our culture and build strong friendships. There are also many other opportunities which help you to improve your language skill, meet new friends, for example helps a lot.

The international foundation year has given me many meaningful inputs. It allows me to better adapt to living in the UK far from home and also to build up my skills as a steppingstone to my undergraduate degree.

If you have any questions about the IFY program please get in touch with me!


Hello, My name is Jason, and I am a first-year student, majoring in banking and finance. I was born in Zhongshan, Guangdong province, in the south of China, a beautiful...
View profile