The Skills Centre runs summer Pre-sessional courses for offer-holders who need to improve their English language before their master's course starts. We checked in with MSc Finance with Risk Management student Ibrahim Abu Arja from Jordan throughout his year in Bath to hear how the 10-week Pre-sessional course prepared him for postgraduate study.


At the start of the course...

Hello everyone. My name is Ibrahim and I'm going to tell you about my two weeks as a student in the Pre-sessional course. Let's get started.

Why did you do the Pre-sessional course at Bath?

To be honest, it wasn't optional to be in the Pre-sessional course because I received a conditional offer requiring me to apply for the Pre-sessional course.

But literally I'm so thankful because it's really improving my English skills, especially in grammar and academic writing, which will be so helpful in my master's program.

Half-way through the Pre-sessional course...

How easy was it to make friends with other students on the Pre-sessional course?

To be honest, I'm outgoing, so I found it a little bit easier than people who are shy. Also, I have to mention that everyone or most of the people around you are friendly. So even if you are shy, you can make friends.

And last but not least, in the class, there are a lot of tasks that require you to speak with your coursemates. So I would say sooner or later you will definitely make many friends.

What is your favourite thing so far about living in Bath?

Actually, there are a lot of things that I have found interesting in Bath so far, so it's hard to decide which one is my favourite, but it could be the landscapes here in Bath.

It's not like any other cities around, so maybe because Bath is a more quiet and natural city.

What's the most important thing you learned on the Pre-sessional course?

To be honest, before I applied to the Pre-sessional course, I wasn't confident about my English, especially in reading and speaking. But after my first five weeks in the Pre-sessional course, almost everything changed.

I became stronger in different aspects and I became more confident nowadays.

At the end of the Pre-sessional course...

How did you feel at the end of the Pre-sessional course?

Honestly, I'm so happy and can't wait to start my main course in the new School of Management building and meet my coursemates. I'm going to miss my amazing tutors, who really worked hard for us and always were here to help.

At the start of your main course...

How is your MSc course going?

Everything is going fine and is interesting so far. I met many new friends from different countries.

Also my subjects in my main course seem interesting to me as I do master's in Finance with Risk Management. The modules provided in my course would really improve my skills from different aspects.

Lastly, words can't describe how the new Management building is beautiful.

Has anything surprised you about your main MSc studies?

Well, the most surprising thing is that all of my in-person lectures are recorded, which means if I didn't understand any topic, all that I have to do is watch my lecture again and again.

Second thing that surprised me is that the library is open 24/7. Can you imagine that? And what I personally do, if I've got some work to be done, I go to the library and never leave it I until I finish my work.

How do you feel the Pre-sessional course prepared you for your MSc course?

Honestly, I can't imagine doing my main course without the Pre-sessional course. The Pre-sessional course really increased my confidence level, and I'm not having any trouble in understanding my lectures.

Well, I'm still learning new words every day, and I'm not going to lie, I'm still making some mistakes, but without these mistakes I can't learn.

At the end of the MSc course...

Which skills have you developed during your year in Bath which will help you in your future employment?

Well, I have developed more than one skill, but one of the most beneficial skills I have developed is my communication skills. I had the opportunity to interact with many coursemates and flatmates since I shared the flat with other students.

However, this course also enabled me to identify my weaknesses, such as time management. I believe that acknowledging your weaknesses is half of the solution, and what remains is the effort to enhance those areas.

What's your best memory of the Pre-sessional course and your time at the University of Bath?

My best memory from the University of Bath is the time I spent enthusiastically exploring the city, making new friends, and learning about different cultures, which I found incredibly interesting.

Also, one memory from the Pre-sessional course that I will never forget was on the first day when I met my tutors. Their kindness towards us made a lasting impression.

Finally, what advice would you give to anyone preparing to start the Pre-sessional course in the future?

The main piece of advice I would give is to manage your time properly. It's crucial to study routinely, even if it's just for an hour a day. You will see the benefits of this habit when exam periods begin or when assessments are due. You'll be less stressed and better prepared.

Always remember to give yourself a day off. Also, find a hobby that gives you the opportunity to practise English, such as reading books or listening to a broadcast.

And lastly, practise, practise, practise. Don't be shy. Remember, everything can improve with practice.

That brings us to the end of this video. Thank you for watching. I hope you have enjoyed hearing about my experiences. See you soon. Bye bye.

Posted in: academic skills, communication, employability, English language, group working, postgraduate study, student experience

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