Our first term at the International Study Centre

04 February 2021
International Study Centre student ambassadors Fatima and Maka

We asked two of our student ambassadors to reflect on their time at the University of Aberdeen International Study Centre so far.

Maka, from Zimbabwe, is studying the Humanities, Law and Social Sciences Undergraduate Foundation Programme. Fatima is from Senegal and is studying the Physical Sciences and Engineering Undergraduate Foundation Programme.

The first term at the International Study Centre

I would love to start reflecting on my first term as a student at the International Study Centre by telling you about my arrival at Aberdeen International Airport, about my first impression of Aberdeen and the charm of its old buildings, how I managed to settle down in my own accommodation, how I found the huge and magnificent campus and its beautiful library... But as you can guess, due to the pandemic, I am still at home! However, my student experience has been no less than what I hoped for.

My first term as a student at the International Study Centre was filled with new experiences and challenges that I had to overcome. One of them was learning to adapt to virtual learning. It was new to me and I found it difficult to manage and organise my time so that I could study efficiently without being distracted by my sisters or my bed.

I really appreciated the extracurricular activities, especially the virtual Halloween party. It was such fun to see the student and teachers in their costumes and we all had a good time (virtually) together. I even won the prize of the funniest costume!

My first term at the International Study Centre has been an absolute delight, despite the obstacles that I, along with many other students, faced in 2020. Although it has only been a few months since I joined the International Study Centre family, I can already feel myself growing as an individual.

At the start, I found it hard to adapt to virtual learning, having just left high school where all I had known was face-to-face learning, but the International Study Centre was able to provide me with multiple support channels which helped me feel more comfortable.
Among other things, staying fit was difficult because of the lockdown restrictions in place. However, I joined the University’s hockey team and that’s been great.

During the course of the term, I decided I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and do something that might challenge me, so I decided to become a Student Ambassador. This position has allowed me to improve some of my skills such as writing and time management, and I can’t wait to see where else it might take me.

Advice from an international student

The main piece of advice that I can offer my fellow students is learn how to manage your time. To find out the schedule that works best for you, I would ask yourself these questions:

  • What time am I most productive?
  • What time do I wake up?
  • How much free time do I need?
  • How much time do I need to spend on my work?

Once you learn these things, you can create an effective and easy-to-follow schedule that should limit your chances of burning out. As someone who is almost obsessed with sleep, I think it is very important to carve out time to do something you enjoy, or just some time to wind down and relax.

The benefits of the International Study Centre

One thing that impressed me about being part of the International Study Centre family is that I was able to meet people from all over the world while still being in Senegal. I was in the same class as people from Iraq, China, Ghana and many more. The variety of cultures was something that I cherished and I hope that I took full advantage of it. It was amazing to see how we were able to create sincere relationships without being in the same place.

Despite all the ups and downs of this term, I can say that I have witnessed myself grow and learn. I have become a better version of myself compared to three months ago.

I have learned so much on my programme at the International Study Centre. I am more responsible, more mature, and more autonomous than I was before. I also learned to not take life and the people that I love for granted and enjoy every moment of life while doing what I have to do.

I am even more excited to travel to Aberdeen and begin my second term. We will see what else this term will bring.

You can find out more about the University of Aberdeen International Study Centre here, or learn more about our programmes designed for international students here. You can also apply now for a September start.