Qin Shen & University of Northampton:
How did you find out about the University of Northampton (UON)?
I searched for UK Universities which I can afford online. I narrowed down to a few universities and ultimately chose UON which is great.
Why did you choose UON for your studies? (i.e. the course, location)
UON offers the intensive law program. The program allows me to graduate and kickstart my career earlier. Moreover, the intensive program is more affordable than typical 3-years degree. Northampton is also close to London. The train station has frequent direct trains to London and Birmingham. This means that I can enjoy living near to a big city while enjoying lower cost of living.
What do you like most about the university?
I love the support given my tutors and staff members. I feel like they are always willing to help me with any doubts I have in my studies. Tutors responds to emails as soon as they can which is quick meaning that I do not have to wait long to dispel any doubts. The library staffs are also very supportive. Students can book one-to-one session with librarians who are able to provide guidance on researching skills and also the use of the library. Furthermore, the university campus has excellent facilities. The environment in the university is also very conducive for studies as the waterside campus is brand new.
What support services do you use – how do they help? (i.e. Changemaker, Learning Development)
The Changemaker hub at Northampton is fantastic. They organise many events ranging from talks to workshops that allow students to upskill and prepare for their career. Moreover, students can get CV and interview advice from the changemaker representative which is extremely helpful.
Qin Shen’s University of Northampton Course :
Why did you choose this course?
I would really like to get a degree as soon as possible to start my working career. Moreover, the intensive degree program allowed me to save significantly on fees.
What do you most like about the course?
I love the tutors most as they are always very supportive. Moreover, tutors always encourage students to speak up in class, reminding us that there is no such thing as a stupid question or a stupid answer. I find this really helpful for me as an international student whose native language is not English. The tutors are always patient and ensure that students understand before progressing. The classes are also conducted in small groups. This is important as tutors get to pay more attention to the students and students get to speak or answer question more often. Moreover, they provide excellent feedback to work submitted by students and I find this very helpful to improve my writing skill. Next, the course contents are uploaded on NILE which I find very useful. This is because it allows me to know what to expect in the next session and prepare accordingly. I can also access to PowerPoints on NILE for revision purpose.
Have you attended any field trips/industry talks/placements/careers fairs?
No. But I am sure the University will organise more activities in the future when the Covid situation improves.
How regularly do you speak to tutors, such as your personal tutor?
I only speak with them during class. However, I am pretty sure that they are willing to meet any students in need outside of class.
How is the course assessed, and do you have any tips for completing assignments/assessments?
My course is assessed by both written assignments and exam. Exam normally constitutes multiple choice questions with short answers. We will usually receive an assignment in the middle of the term and complete a written exam at the end of the term. My tip for completing assignments is that always seek help with your assignment if you need. The tutors and academic librarians are more than willing to give their time to support us. Also, be consistent in your studies and never prepare for exam at the last minute.
How will this course help you with your career goals? Are the modules relevant?
The modules help students develop critical thinking. This is helped by the fact that tutors like to ask questions in class and guide students to think and come up with the answer themselves. Most importantly, tutors are willing to accept a wide range of opinions, not just expecting a single, specific opinion.
Qin Shen’s experience in University of Southampton
What extra-curricular activities are you involved with? (i.e. sports, volunteering, societies)
I am involved in the law society. I also regularly attend jiu jitsu trainings organised by the club. Sports and societies in UON is fantastic and most importantly free.
What do you like most about living in Northampton? (i.e. your favourite place to eat out!)
The people in Northampton are very friendly and helpful. The town centre is also very historic and beautiful. Northampton has a few pretty parks where I can go for a walk to enjoy myself and take a break from my studies.
If English is not your first language, how do you manage?
It was a little challenging at first to voice out my opinion in class as my English Is not very fluent. However, tutors and classmates are extremely supportive to international students and encourage them to speak up.
What makes UK education different to your home country?
UK universities grant a lot of freedom to students. I find this positive as they instil self-discipline and self-motivation in students. There is nothing that is compulsory except for assignments and exams of course! Students are also not forced to join extracurricular activities against their will. Most importantly, diversity of opinion is recognised here in the UK.
What is the cost of living like in Northampton?
The cost is definitely higher than my home country. However, I think Northampton is still cheaper to live in compared to major cities such as London and Birmingham. I doesn’t really matter for me because I rarely eat out and prefer to buy groceries from supermarkets and make my own meal.
What do Qin Shen think?
What tips would you give to potential students interested in this course and career? (i.e. preparing before you arrive in the U.K, how to make the most of your time etc.)
International students must check the UK and their home country travel rules and plan accordingly. Try to connect with course mates before coming. Students usually set up WhatsApp groups to know each other before coming. The social media pages of the University also provide invaluable tips for students arriving to the UK so make sure to follow their pages. Do also remember to check the welcome pack sent by the University as they are really helpful and can provide an overview of the University and the town. Lastly, bring warm clothes especially if you are arriving during the winter months.
How would you promote UON to prospective students?
UON has a wide range of societies and sports that are free to join. This is great because it helps students to gain extra-curricular skills and provide opportunities for students to network and meet new friends. Moreover, UON is extremely supportive of international students. There are many programs that helps international students adapt to living in the UK. Most importantly, the teaching at UON is world-class which is not surprising as the University received the TEF gold award for teaching excellence. The campus facilities are equally fantastic.
How would you summarise your university experience?
I am enjoying life at UON. It is great to meet new people from different countries and make many new friends. This allows me to learn about others culture and widen my perspective. The excellent support I receive from tutors will definitely prepare me for my future career.