Pedro Victor Boina e Carvalho is a student on our Social Sciences International Foundation Programme. Here, he talks about the impact that it has had on him so far.
“Karl Marx said: ‘Revolutions are the locomotives of history’. I am part of the 2018/19 International Foundation Programme (IFP), and it was with a heart full of revolutions that I left behind a small village in Brazil to enter into what has been the best experience of my life. My experiences so far on the programme and at the University have exceeded my dreams; the IFP group has provided an excellent environment for students to adapt and has developed a receptive social group for all students. The dictionary defines ‘revolution’ as ‘a sudden, radical, or complete change’; words that can commonly be heard coming from several students, especially international students, who not only have to deal with the challenge of living alone but also with culture shock. However, during the IFP, support is always there to help with everything from time management to anxiety problems.
During this first term I have learned about academic contemplation, and am able to construct and change perspectives that are going to stay with me forever. Growing up in the countryside of Brazil, as a teenager I already drew sketches of my dreams, planning to achieve goals that I knew were too big for my young hands. However, inside the University it is possible to see those dreams coming closer and the tools to change my fate taking shape in my hands. Having the support of different teachers of several academic fields, I am able to understand my reality a little bit better and further understand others.
Living on the Canterbury campus creates the possibility to see how the academic experience extends to a community perspective, where interaction with non-IFP students helps in the emotional and academic preparation for the next years. Everyday conversations are also an English practice for non-native speakers. I was able and lucky to find different groups of friends; due to the University societies, I was able to join groups that resonate with my political position, my preferred sports and even my cultural background. Furthermore, it has helped on my perspective within the world, leaning more about other cultures and even more about English culture.
The IFP classes successfully achieve the goal of teaching and go far beyond the aims proposed by the University. The IFP nurtures in all the students the knowledge not only to have a successful academic career, but also creates the ability to practise critical thinking. I have experienced a lot of debates and conversations during seminars that helped in the better understanding of the topic.
Being on this programme has been more than a new experience and has been more than an inner revolution. Knowledge has entered my life and is changing it completely. This year is going to be not only for me, but for several others, the beginning of a journey, the foundation of a new era, the construction of a new life. Further, I see it changing individuals, families and futures.”