Ali Obaidan

Talking about
Postgraduate pre-sessional English
Saudi Arabia

In our pre-sessional course we did writing projects, group study, presentations, and all of that prepares us for the postgraduate programmes we are going to do. Although the main purpose is preparation for postgraduate study, there are other benefits, like getting to know people here, and adjusting to new systems.

The experience of being an international student is interesting but also difficult, because you’re going to a new country and trying to adapt to a new way of studying, at postgraduate level. So it can be hard to adjust right away. The pre-sessional course gives you a chance to improve your language and get to know other people here, and it prepares you for postgraduate study in this country. 

I thought that pre-sessional courses or language programmes would be held outside of the university campus in a separate building, but our lectures are held on campus. It was useful to be familiarised with the buildings we’ll have lectures in for our main programmes.

The University has a range of support services which can cover most or all of the requirements that a disabled student will have. Disability Services deal with disabled students individually, so they will adapt everything to that student, because no two students are the same in terms of their requirements or needs. The earlier that you can speak with them and organise support, the easier it will be for them to provide you with assistance. For example, they can transcribe and make learning material accessible for screen readers.

When I first came here, I searched for everything I could find about social events and ways to interact with other people. I went to Global Café regularly to practise English with people from other courses. I also took part in other activities like Yorkshire Day, painting, and Conversation Club. Leeds University Union also organises some activities outside of the university, and I went to Newcastle, Manchester, and Harry Potter Studios with them.

After the pre-sessional, I will be studying MSc International Marketing Management. On the pre-sessional course, it’s like we’re studying in the real Masters programme. When we are doing our writing project, we’re not just practising language, we’re doing it in an academic way. We have to do citations, a reference list – all the things that we’re going to have to do in our main programme. So after the course we are really prepared for academic life. 

Ali studied Language for Business: Marketing.