Thursday, 3 March 2016

Mari's experience at the English Learning Teaching Centre (ELTC)

Hi, my name is Mari, International Office Ambassador from Japan. Please visit my profile to find more information about me and my course.

In this blog, I would like to talk about my experience with English Learning Teaching Centre (ELTC), which I found useful and helpful during studying here in Sheffield.

For those who have never studied outside home countries, language can be one of the barriers to conducting academic studies in the U. K. To be honest, I was scared of having lectures and writing essays in English before coming here, even though I had sufficient IELTS score. This is because I was told that academic and conversational English is quite different and I need to practice academic English, otherwise studying in the U.K would be challenging.

That's the reason why I took Pre-sessional English course (4 weeks) before my master course had started. (You can find more information about the English courses at University of Sheffiled here.) Here are some benefits that I've gained through English summer course.

- Academic English Skills
This is obviously the main purpose of taking the course. It was not possible to "master" academic English within 4 weeks, but at least you can familiarise yourself in academic reading, writing, speaking, and listening. I especially think that  it was beneficial to do the project on writing essays and conveying presentations. There is certain structures to follow in writing and presentations. Even now, I feel that the basic knowledge I've learned there was quite useful to perform studies here.

- Connections
During the break time in English summer course
I made quite lots of friends during the English summer course. Almost everyone had same goals, which is preparing for the following studies, so we were "on the same boat".  Automatically, we got close to each other across the different nationalities and courses. We still keep in touch, hang out together, and encourage each other. Looking back, I appreciated that I made lots of friends, who turned out to be very important later, after the course.

- Settling in Sheffield
Studying masters here is pretty demanding and intensive. So it was good that I had time to settle in the city for a month before things got tough. Of course we were busy learning English but we had more free time back then. It could have been harder to settle in if I hadn't given myself time to get used to the city.

Therefore, I can highly recommend taking summer course before starting main course if time and money allow you to do so. (And you want to gain more confidence!)

ELTC also offers plenty of services throughout academic year. For example, writing advisory service helps you in writing essays. I've used this service once, which was quite useful to know my tendency of making mistakes, and reconstruct my essays. My department (languages and cultures) also offered English support classes, where teachers from ELTC taught us specifically academic English skills. For those who are still struggling to improve English, ELTC offers varieties of classes to help you. (click here to find out more.)

So, The University of Sheffield provides variety of ways to support you in terms of improving your language skills. I really appreciate the environment and the support that ELTC offers.

Mari
International Office Ambassador from Japan
Email: japan@sheffield.ac.uk

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