Lydia with her camera outside

Lydia Min Yu Goh

Lydia undertook an International Foundation Year at Leeds before commencing her undergraduate BSc Accounting and Finance degree at Leeds. During her final year of study, Lydia discussed her impressions of the International Foundation Year below. Lydia completed her degree in June 2018 and graduated with first class honours.

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?
I met a lot of international students while undertaking the International Foundation Year (IFY). The module Academic Study Skills, which was the hardest, has helped me a lot in terms of academic writing. University essays/reports are generally different from A-levels as we have to do Harvard referencing as well.

How did you find the IFY? Is it academically stimulating? Challenging? Rewarding?
I personally feel that the IFY is a very good course that helps students to get a feel for what university coursework will be like. It also helps students to be more prepared for university and to be honest, I only realised how helpful the IFY was after I started university. During the orientation week, while everybody was still getting used to the environment and difference in writing styles, my IFY friends and I were already very comfortable with them. Of course, that’s only if you work very hard during the IFY. Math and Business modules were ok but the Academic Study Skills module was quite challenging and it was hard to score highly. However, with persistent hard work, everything will pay off well. 

Did the staff at Leeds help you settle in and support you?
All the Foundation Year tutors were very helpful and they would always make sure that we understood what we were learning. They were extremely friendly and were always there to help too. I missed them very much when I started university because it involves more self-study and independent learning.

Our International Foundation Year students have access to University facilities such as our accommodation, students’ union and libraries, did you find this beneficial?
I stayed in University accommodation during my IFY. It was located in the middle of the city centre and the University so it was very convenient. The campus has a few libraries where I would always go to study and I would also use the gym (The Edge) located on campus whenever I was free.

Did you form friendships on the IFY programme? Are you still friends with these people now?
I made friends with mostly Asian students during the IFY and we all managed to progress to University together. We still see one another very often during lectures/seminars and I’ve also got to know friends from the Middle East too.

How did the IFY help to prepare you for your main degree programme – what knowledge and skills did you learn which have been valuable to you on your degree programme? Do you think you were better prepared than other students? Did the IFY give you an edge?
The IFY has helped me to become more familiar with different academic writing styles and also Harvard referencing, which are both very important whenever we write essays and reports. Besides that, the IFY modules have taught us some basic stuff so that we could be better prepared for the more advanced modules when we go on to complete our undergraduate degree. The IFY has helped me a lot and I also feel that I was better prepared than those who did not do the IFY.