I come from Thailand where the education system is different from the UK one. I am quite sure most Asian countries have different styles of teaching and learning. In Thailand, we do not have seminars, only lectures. The education there is teacher-centred based, where teachers, or lecturers provide information to students. In the UK, each class has both lectures and seminars where seminars allow students to present their work and engage in critical discussion.
During the first few months of studying my Master’s in the UK, I found it difficult to adapt to seminars which people came up with discussion and debate regarding each week’s topic. If you face this situation, don’t worry, you are not alone! You can do it though it takes time to get used to seminars. Before class, you should read each week’s key readings. Then, you should try to make notes of the key issues of each text and summarise into your own words. This can help you develop your own critical points, as it’s easier to understand a reading from your own notes.
While reading texts (especially for social sciences), critique the writer. You should try to think why they are making their argument, why not say something else?! As we are Asian, we are not used to speaking in class, or arguing with a lecturer, but in seminars, please speak out! You can make notes of what you find interesting from texts, and write down critical issues you have in mind. This can help you speak confidently in seminar, or class. This needs lots of preparation before class, but trust me, give it a try, and you will enjoy your seminars. Good luck to you all.