Former International Foundation Programme student Keshav speaks about learning opportunities, creating friendships and building confidence on the IFP.
My recommendation to an international student coming here is to come in with an open mind. At times you may feel that it’s going to be difficult to try and make friends with people who have different backgrounds to you and people who speak different languages, but everyone is really accepting. You will have group projects and assignments that you’re going to have to do in class. These groups are the fastest ways to make friends. You can make friends just in a snap and I think if you come in with an open mind, if you know how to be sociable, it’s going to help you greatly.
My favourite class (on the IFP) would definitely be Mr Terry Bevis’s class: Business Management for University Study. He treated us with a lot of respect and he treated us like adults. In our class there were students of various ages; I had a classmate that was 16 and I even had a classmate that was 26. I came at (the age of) 19. For me, especially coming from Malaysia where we were spoon-fed, he treated us like we were equal to him. He taught us as how it would be in a regular university lecture.
However, I have to say that the subject that helped me the most to adjust to university life was the Academic Skills module. I was definitely keen (for this module) as a second language speaker of English. The coaching of my speaking and writing capabilities brought me tremendous success. I think that the Foundation Program really prepares you much better to write and comprehend at a university level.
The IFP has prepared me in terms of developing my confidence levels. When I came here I was quite shy, I didn’t really know how to approach people. I think that the way the IFP has taught me to think independently and speak in a mature manner has really helped me work towards my goals. When I carry out job interviews I use the same skills. I still keep some of the notes of things that I jotted down during my IFP year and look back at it as a way to just inspire myself. When I applied for my jobs, especially back in Malaysia, I succeeded in all of the interviews that I underwent. It was a nice feeling because then you get to decide what job you want to take.