Hetasha Gopalani

Hetasha completed the International Foundation Year and graduated in 2019 from Leeds with a BSc in Environmental Science.

I’ve had such a great time here at the University of Leeds, and it all began with the International Foundation Year. In 2019, graduated with a BSc Environmental Science degree from the University of Leeds and have been working in the education and NGO sectors since then. I am going to launch my own start up soon to contribute my skills and knowledge for a more positive impact on our society. I chose to complete the International Foundation Year for a number of reasons; it is taught on campus, has a strong reputation and subject specific content (particularly Maths and Chemistry), which were ideal for my studies.

University style education is really different from school. As well as essays and traditional learning styles, we’re expected to write scientific reports, research topics independently, debate our findings and make presentations for our classmates. This seemed a bit scary at first, but the foundation year really helped to prepare me for this new style of learning. Alongside the subject specific classes, the Study Skills module was really useful for learning how to do all of this – it’s so much more than just an English language class! All of this helped me to go beyond my potential by conducting and presenting my own research while working in different fields during my time at University.

I had never been to Leeds before I arrived to start my programme, and I was both nervous and excited to be starting University in a new country. I have to admit that I didn’t know too much about Leeds, but I’m so happy that I decided to come here. There is so much to do in Leeds, it’s a lively and friendly city. I made friends from all over the world during my foundation year, not just in my class but in my University accommodation too. I’ve also joined a couple of the societies at the Students’ Union – the Bhangra Society and Leeds Indian Students Association – which have been a great way to meet new people and have fun outside of the classroom. As I progressed with my studies, I led the Leeds Indian Students Association and the Environmental Society, and even represented and made changes within the School of Earth and Environment by being the School Representative.

When I first arrived from the UAE, I did feel a little homesick, but I soon realised that this is completely normal. There’s so much help and support available at the University, from the Student’s Union, Academic and University staff as they happily help you or connect you to someone who can. For example, I received help from the School of Earth and Environment for relevant events, research and internship opportunities whilst I was in my Foundation Year. So do use all the resources available to fuel your career. And do make an effort to make all members of the university you meet feel comfortable. This will not only help you make lifelong friends but also maintain helpful connections for the future. A final piece of advice to new students coming to Leeds would be ‘Don’t stress, and do your best!’

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