Pre-sessional student Mayu Saito feels that studying the course at UCLan is already going a long way to helping her achieve her dream of becoming an English teacher.
The 21 year-old from Niigata, Japan, is currently looking to develop her English skills before returning to Kanazawa University to complete her English Language and Literature degree.
“I’m thinking of becoming an English teacher or I want to be involved in an educational organisation so speaking and using English is essential for me,” said Mayu.
“My writing has particularly improved since coming to UCLan. I got stuck with it in Japan and didn’t know how to progress with it. The teachers here always point out my mistakes and encourage me to use a wider vocabulary in my writing.”
The teaching methods at UCLan surprised Mayu at first but are now something she appreciates most about the course.
“I have found there is a difference with the Japanese educational system compared to this country. For example, students in the UK are encouraged to have and show their opinion but in Japan most students don’t usually get to share their opinion or critical analysis.
"I’m really enjoying being asked to think critically and to share my opinions although I struggled to get used to it at first.”
The 9000km journey to the UK would be a daunting challenge for most but the Japanese student has praised UCLan for helping international students to settle quickly.
“The transition was not as bad as expected because of UCLan’s system mainly. There are a lot of foreign students who felt exactly the same as me when I came over. We all empathised with each other and it made it easier.
“I think I prefer Preston to a bigger city. It is not as noisy or crowded and it’s easy to get to places such as the supermarket. I didn’t think that people in the city would be so helpful. I got lost a lot at first and people were keen to tell me the right way to go.”
Mayu is now enjoying life at the university and feels that the facilities available to students are key to making the experience more enjoyable.
“I think UCLan is a good place to study. I was surprised to find that the library is open 24 hours a day. It’s really helpful and good for students and is great for when assignments are nearly due in."
“Other good things about UCLan are the events at the Students' Union. They provide a lot of events and experiences.”
Mayu is also a course representative for her class which involves some training with the Students’ Union and regular meetings with the Language Academy staff to give valuable feedback on the student experience.
“The course representatives system is something that pleases me. The University always wants to hear the students’ opinions and then they want to improve their system based on that.”