Heba Attiah

International Foundation Year and MA in Digital and Interactive Design

Watch Heba talk about the International Foundation Year on YouTube

I come from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, and after high school I decided that I wanted to study Design at university. My sister was going to the University of Leeds to take her Masters, and so I decided to see if it was possible for me to study my Bachelors there too. I found the International Foundation Year, with its Design specific route, and knew that this was the perfect programme for me!

During my foundation year I took academic classes which were taught by the University’s School of Design, and so were directly related to my Bachelors degree programme. These classes helped me to adjust to the different learning style at university compared to what I had studied at high school. Even now during my classes, I find myself using the skills I learned in my foundation year during my studies, such as referencing, research and critical skills.

Aside from the academic benefits of the International Foundation Year, I feel that my foundation year pushed me socially. There was a really diverse mix of students in my class, students from Japan, Africa, India – the whole world! It was a new experience to learn alongside people from so many different countries, and it really forced me to work on my communication and teamwork skills.

The International Foundation Year really pushed me outside of my comfort zone – in the best way possible! I now have groups of friends from all over the world and still stay in touch with them. 

Having a personal tutor was very helpful. It’s a big change moving to a different country to live and study, and so having someone who I could go and talk to about anything – academic or personal – was very reassuring.

I honestly think the International Foundation Year was the best year of my life! I discovered so much about myself. When I look back on the foundation year now, it was a pivotal moment in my life. I grew so much during that year – both academically and personally.

I completed my MA in Digital and Interactive Design here at the University of Leeds in 2018 and I couldn’t have come so far had it not been for the International Foundation Year.