Hetasha Gopalani

I’m currently in my second year of studying BSc Environmental Science here at the University of Leeds. I took the IB Certificate at my high school in Dubai, and so when I decided to go to University I was looking for a foundation year programme which would help me to prepare for my degree studies. I chose the International Foundation Year for a number of reasons; it was taught on campus, had a strong reputation, and the subject specific content (particularly Maths and Chemistry) looked 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 to 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!

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 Indian Students’ Society – which have been a great way to meet new people and have fun outside of the classroom.

If I could give one piece of advice to new students coming to Leeds, it would be ‘Don’t stress, and do your best!’ When I first arrived from Dubai, 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, to academic teachers and Personal Tutors.

I’ve had such a great time here at the University of Leeds, and it all began with the International Foundation Year. I’ve fallen in love with Leeds, I never want to leave!

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