Tell us about yourself.
My name is Anna Hong and I am from South Korea. I had always wanted to be an army doctor but this did not seem like it would be possible for me. I still wanted to follow a medical science pathway, so after consideration I decided I would like to be a pharmacologist. I also wanted to study overseas to give me the best chance of a global career.
Why did you take the Foundation Studies programme at UP Education?
I needed to improve my English language skills to study abroad. Once I had found the right country and degree course I had the option of two foundation programmes. I chose UP Education because the other programme really narrowed my options, and UP Education has a very good reputation Internationally.
Why did you choose to study in Auckland, New Zealand?
The University of Auckland is a high ranking university and one of the top 30 universities for Bachelor of Science (specialisation in Pharmacology). I always wanted to visit New Zealand. It’s very scenic and offers a very nice lifestyle.
Tell us about Orientation Day.
Orientation day is the most exciting day. There are students and teachers to welcome you and show you around the school. Teachers help you choose the right subjects for your degree course and give you advice. We were given student booklets for things like your student number and rules, an iPad for our studies as well as access to Blackboard, the online learning platform.
How are the campus and your teachers?
The campus is modern and not too big and close to the university. It’s also in the centre of Auckland so it’s easy to get around. The first semester English class has only about 20-30 students and even fewer in the second semester. The teachers are very dedicated and kind. You can also take after-school classes before exams if you need help.
How do the semester and timetable work?
You choose two subjects per semester to study, along with English classes. You have two classes per subject over a week and have regular free periods. I used these for study and for errands. There is a lot of work to do so it’s best to spend this time wisely. The day runs from 8.30am to 5.00pm but of course you may be taking an extra class so you could finish at 7pm. The school is very strict about attendance and timekeeping. It helps you develop good habits for the future.
How did you cope with study?
The Blackboard online tool is very important for study. It allows you to search and access everything you need and prepare for class. You can refer to past papers and really learn by using it. I found Chemistry very hard but the teachers provide a lot of assistance and advice, so always ask questions and seek help.
What’s life like outside class?
There are lots of activities and we went on some trips. I made friends with my classmates and we found nice cafes to study in. The programme is good for creating a full experience and helping us settle in a new country.
Tell us about your accommodation
I lived in an apartment opposite the school. This was my first time living away from home so being near to school and student support was reassuring. Paying for rent and living costs and understanding everything that’s involved is part of growing up, but doing it in a different country is very character building. I think it helped me build my confidence.
How was the student support?
There is always someone to turn to for help and advice. You’re not just left to fend for yourself.
What university application support did you get?
We went for a tour of the university and subject orientation at the start of the second semester. The orientation helps you plan your degree, decide your core paper and general ed paper etc. You get help with this. I was anxious about getting into university and interested in a lot of courses, but my tutor helped me decide and work out what to do.
What are your plans for your future?
After graduation I would like to enrol for postgraduate that leads to doctoral degree, without a gap year. Possibly a teaching degree, possibly in Chemistry, which has a lot of potential. When I have got all the degrees that I need, I would love to work in a cancer research centre to help discover a cure. Talking to my teachers and getting advice has really helped me make some big decisions.
Would you recommend the University of Auckland Certificate in Foundation Studies programme?
Yes, I would really recommend the programme to those who want to study at the University of Auckland. The foundation programme is a great stepping stone for those who don’t want to or didn’t study NCEA, IB, A Level etc. The college has a long history, and the teachers are very experienced and supportive. The school sets high academic standards.
Do you have advice for international students coming to study with us in New Zealand?
Studying abroad can be tough at first but if you set yourself goals and work hard you will be amazed by how much easier it gets, and how you can make your future happen. So don’t worry, it’s a journey and you will succeed. You will do great things. Good luck