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What are pre sessional programmes like?

I’m very lucky that I took this year’s pre-sessional course ran by Durham Centre for Academic Development (DCAD). Although it lasted for only four weeks, less than a month, I feel very lucky to have done this as it is very helpful to both my future academic studies and my life in the UK. 

As an international student, I felt a little bit nervous before I came to the UK because I have never taken any courses overseas before and I’m not familiar with the education system in the UK. However, Durham’s pre-sessional course at Josephine Butler College offered a great opportunity for us to get used to the academic life and enable us to be more prepared for future courses. During the pre-sessional, the main task for us was to get a good command of how to write an academic essay and improve our presentation skills. It was combined with lectures and seminars, some lectures helped us to understand our essay topic better, other lectures helped us learn some useful techniques such as how to cite correctly, how to search for more useful materials on the library website and so on. Our teachers were very nice and very patient. They used technologies to make the class more vivid and attractive. The course was detail-oriented. We started from how to understand a broad topic to how to write a paragraph and how to form a completed section, which really solved many problems we have while we are writing an academic essay. Apart from that, we also had many opportunities to do presentations based on our essays, which gave a chance for us to practice presentation skills that are needed for future study. The teachers always gave feedback, and we really learned a lot from this.

We were all members of Josephine Butler College when we were studying on the pre-sessional course. Josephine Butler College played an important role during that month. It really helped me to feel comfortable in a different country far away from home. All the students on the pre-sessional course had a mentor and we had a mentor night every Tuesday. My mentor would tell us interesting stories about Durham City. We also discussed things about the University and traditional events in the UK. Josephine Butler College also held formals and balls for the pre-sessional students, these were very unique experiences for us and also a great chance to make new friends. The best part of the course was that we had trips to other cities every Saturday. My friends and I visited York, Edinburgh and Alnwick Castle and had a wonderful time when travelling. 

To sum up, I feel every day in the pre-sessional course is useful and meaningful. I really appreciate that I had this great opportunity to spend such a wonderful time with my lovely friends and the pre-sessional teaching team!

You can find out more about presessional courses here.

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