Li Nan (Beverly) from China will start the MSc in Business Analytics at the University of Bath in September 2020. She completed the first part of the Skills Centre’s 20-week Pre-sessional English (PSE) course from 20 April to 26 June 2020 - the first time this course has run online due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Here Beverly shares how the course helped build her confidence with spoken English.
Why I chose the University of Bath
I have been exposed to English learning since elementary school, but this environment was not ideal. The theoretical and practical parts of learning a language are very different and we rarely had foreign teachers in school. The assessment method at school was a written examination, so many Chinese have poor oral English.
I chose the Pre-sessional course at Bath not only to improve my English, but also to adapt to British life in advance. In addition, I hoped to make more friends during this time.
What I liked most about the PSE course
My favourite part of the course were the discussions with a partner and the speaking practice meetings. This gave me the chance to communicate with my classmates from different countries. We learned from each other and made great progress together. In this way, I increased my interest in learning English. Also, all the teachers were kind and patient and they were willing to encourage and help me.
The key skills I developed on the PSE course
Firstly, I became confident to express my opinions in classes. Before that, I was just shy and afraid of making mistakes. But I was encouraged to use language to communicate my ideas or make a presentation. Secondly, academic writing is very important for a postgraduate student. During this course, I developed skills to write a paragraph or even a longer paper.
My main challenges on the PSE course
At the very beginning, I was worried about talking to others or answering questions in class. I needed to work out a whole sentence and then try to say it. Most of the time, I could not keep up with the other students. Fortunately, my tutor told me that you can say anything you want and forget the grammar at first. Maybe it is important in writing, but in speaking, what you hope to express is the most significant part.
My tips to others doing the PSE course
I would definitely recommend the Pre-sessional course to other students like me. You will improve your English in a short time. There is lots of help from both your teachers and your classmates and you can make friends at the same time.
My tips are when you try to talk to others, especially when you need to explain something in English, it is helpful to learn how to think in English, rather than translate from your own native language. It’s good to familiarise yourself with the course programme because it helps to know what will be taught today. Also, complete homework carefully and pay attention to teacher feedback, which will help you to correct mistakes.
Above all, be brave! If you have any questions, just ask! Your teachers and classmates are glad to help you.
My future plans
This will be the first time for me to live far away from my family. I’m very excited, but a little nervous. I really hope I can gain more life skills and take care of myself.
First of all, I am going to complete all courses and studies carefully and make friends with my professors and classmates. In my spare time, I hope to visit various kinds of museums in Britain. If I have the opportunity, I would like to go on a European tour, such as going to Sweden to see the Northern Lights. Otherwise, I am looking forward to participating in activities in Bath to try something new, like dancing.