In this blog post, we bring you some personal stories from the graduation ceremonies at Newcastle University this week. These stories of young lives transformed remind us why we do what we do. The students leave university to pursue their careers and further studies, having made friends for life and with warm memories of the UK and of the North East of England. They serve as a timely endorsement of the extent to which these students and tens of thousands of other international students enrich our campuses, communities and country. In times of intense global competition, the whole country should be proud of what we, as a sector, achieve. Our hats go off to colleagues in Newcastle in particular and to all of those working in higher education delivering life-changing experiences to students from all over the world.
“My time in Newcastle has been life-changing and I have met friends that are like family to me. The INTO course was an excellent opportunity to become familiar with Newcastle University and the city. Also, because the program is for international students, I had people around who felt the same way about moving to a new country. My undergraduate degree taught me to become more organised and work under pressure, and my most exciting course work was my MEng research project based on Biodiesel production from mixed cultures of microalgae! I have now been blessed with a graduate job at Heatric UK in Dorset.”
Liu Muyan, who arrived from Northern China four years ago to join INTO’s Foundation Pathways in Architecture course, received a 2:1 in her BA (Hons) Architecture degree.
“INTO Newcastle provided me with a good foundation for studying in an unfamiliar country with an unfamiliar education system. INTO helps you get to know the British culture and get used to the style of teaching and learning before you become very busy with your undergraduate or postgraduate studies. With the help of my tutors and friends, I learned many things during these four years, and finally got a 2:1 Hons as a result.
What I learned with INTO was not only the basic knowledge of my programme, but also the way of living in Britain. The city of Newcastle is quite good for international students, too, as the people here are very friendly and the city is relatively safe. I have really enjoyed living in Newcastle, and this has resulted in my decision to study for my postgraduate degree at the same campus.”
Oirat Azbergenov, from the Republic of Kazakhstan, took INTO’s Foundation in Physical Sciences & Engineering, and went on to gain a 2:1 Honours degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering.
“At INTO, the teachers prepared me well for university life. It was a good introduction on how lab reports should look and what to expect in exams. The English teachers were great at giving tips and hints on how to write academic essays. Even though I was doing a foundation course, I felt like a full-time student of the university. So, after several months of studying here I realised that I wanted to continue my tertiary education at Newcastle University and was offered a place on the BEng Electrical and Electronic Engineering course.
It was challenging. Many students dropped out after the first semester, but I ‘survived’ and succeeded. And I am proud of it. For the first two years I did pretty well in my studies, achieving First Class averages. However, the final year was the most challenging, my results fell slightly and I ended up with 2.1 (Hons) degree, which is not that bad. After being here for almost four years, I feel part of the uni and the city – I’ve even become a fan of Newcastle United. I have really enjoyed my course, student life, sports, and the experience of living outside my home country. I will miss it… I really will.”
Masayo Hosokawa, from Japan, took INTO’s Foundation in Physical Sciences & Engineering and carried on to study for a MEng in Chemical Engineering, achieving a First Class Honours degree.
“INTO was a great opportunity to get to know what university life was like. I had lots of assignments during my degree course, but all the knowledge and skills I had learned with INTO really helped me to deal with the work. The INTO programme helped improved my academic essay and lab writing skills, in particular. Studying abroad was a big challenge for me, and it was demanding.
Although I sometimes had a stressful time at university due to the difficult subjects and the many assignments, I kept working hard and never gave up. I have been very busy during my four years of university, but this has helped me to develop time-management skills – and meeting people from different countries and cultures has expanded my views.”
Shih-Mai Ou, from Taiwan, studied INTO’s Foundation in Humanities and Social Science and graduated from Newcastle University with a 2:1 (Hons) in Media, Communication and Cultural Studies.
“Studying in Newcastle University has been challenging, but meaningful. In the three years, I did make a lot of efforts in my studies. Yet it is not just about that. The people I met, the events I took part in and the life I have had here have all been vital in making me who I am today. This university with its sophisticated teaching methods located in a lively city is without doubt an ideal place to grow up in.
Before entering this university, it was INTO that prepared me for a smooth life in Newcastle, a foreign place. They taught me the academic skills needed to lead me to a rather high grade on final certificate. While the other students, who had never learnt such skills panicked, I was able to handle the assignments.
And they taught me how live in this city, like where to shop, how to find a place to live, how to communicate with the British people.More importantly, INTO was the place where I met plenty of good friends who would go through all these together!”
Orkahn Hasanov, from Azerbaijan, obtained a First Class Honours degree in Chemical Engineering, following successful completion of INTO’s Foundation in Physical Science & Engineering.
“My academic career began in 2008 when I was accepted into the Azerbaijan State Oil Academy, where I gained first-hand knowledge of the oil and gas industries. After studying there for a couple of years, I felt ready to take on new challenges and applied to INTO Newcastle. The foundation course helped improve my academic English and gave me a solid grounding for my undergraduate course.
Studying Chemical Engineering at Newcastle University provided me with an excellent understanding of chemical processes. Although it was three years of hard work, it was fun as well – I played football for the Chemical Engineering faculty team and in 2012/2013 we came top of the league. My final year design project was to build an interferon producing chemical plant. This was a real challenge at the beginning, but thanks to my supervisor and the hard work of the group, we achieved top marks.”
For more, log on to our website where you can find interviews graduating groups of international students from Queen’s University, Belfast, Glasgow Caledonian University, the University of Exeter, the University of East Anglia, City University and the University of Manchester.
Author: Tim O'Brien
Tim is Vice President, Global Partner Development, INTO University Partnerships