Bader Alkhamis

Image of Bader Alkhamis, Leeds International Foundation Year student.

Saudi Arabia

What were your first impressions of the International Foundation Year? How did it help you to settle into University life and life in the UK?
The International Foundation Year (IFY) takes place in the first year of university. Everything taught during the year is useful and prepared me, both academically and socially, for the coming years. In addition, the IFY helped me to discover the city throughout the year in order to be ready in terms of socialising in the following years. 

How did you find the Foundation Year? Is it academically stimulating? Challenging? Rewarding?
The IFY was a challenging year because there’s a required grade to be achieved in order to progress on to undergraduate studies. This requirement motivated me to work hard because studying my undergraduate degree at a prestigious university, such as the University of Leeds, depended on the grade I achieved on the IFY. The course in general was not easy but the requirements are achievable by working hard. This does not mean we did not have free time during the year to socialize; with time management every student can work hard to achieve the University of Leeds requirements and have fun during the year as well. Personally, the IFY allowed me to learn valuable business knowledge and I had lots of fun during the year.

Did the staff at Leeds help you settle in and support you?
The IFY staff were kind and ready to help everyone. Each student was allocated a personal tutor, who helped us in terms of how to achieve the academic requirements. The personal tutors are responsible for helping the IFY students to adapt to life in the UK. 

Did you form friendships on the IFY programme? Are you still friends with these people now?
One of the important advantages of doing the IFY is meeting people from different countries, which helped us to learn about different cultures. I formed numerous friendships during the IFY and most of us are still friends even after the IFY. Therefore, the IFY is helpful in both academic and social life.

Our IFY students have access to University facilities such as our accommodation, students’ union and libraries, did you find this beneficial?
The University of Leeds is characterised by an amazing campus with an incredible students’ union, which is ranked as one of the top students’ unions in the UK. Being a student on the IFY gave me the opportunity to live in University of Leeds accommodation. Moreover, there are private apartments for rent in the city centre of Leeds. A good thing about Leeds is that the city centre is close to the University campus, which means you can live in the city centre and go to University everyday easily, whether by using public transportation or walking. 

How did the Foundation Year help to prepare you for your main degree programme – what knowledge and skills did you learn which have been valuable? Do you think you were better prepared than other students? Did the Foundation Year give you an edge? 
The IFY was the first step before starting undergraduate studies and it was essential in preparing me with useful, basic knowledge of my degree, which helped me to prepare for the following years. Furthermore, university life is completely different from school life. For instance, the IFY enabled me to improve my academic and soft skills, which are crucial parts of university life. In terms of academic skills, my academic writing did improve during the IFY mostly because of the Academic Study Skills module, which focused on developing and improving academic skills. In terms of soft skills, all the modules in the IFY helped me to develop in different areas, such as problem solving, communication, and leadership skills.

Consequently, the International Foundation Year helped me to learn and gave me the opportunity to have fun during it as well. As a result, I would recommend the IFY to any overseas applicants to allow them to adapt to university study in the UK.

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