Sujin’s Story

Tell us about yourself.

I am Sujin Lee and I graduated from UP International College in December 2020. Before studying at UP International College, I studied at Gwangyoung Girls’ High School in Seoul, South Korea. When I was 16, I travelled to New Zealand with my friends for a month and fell in love with the beautiful natural scenery. I then persuaded my parents to let me study in New Zealand. Having completed the Fast-track course, I am now studying a Bachelor of Science at the University of Auckland.

What concerns did you have before starting the online programme?

One of my concerns about studying online was that it would be difficult to communicate with my teachers as I was not seeing them in person. I was also worried that I would not be able to keep up with classes and there would be issues with submitting my assignments. However, those worries went away instantly once I started class.

Tell us about the online Orientation.

The Orientation was very helpful and productive. We learnt about the syllabus of each subject, which helped us make informed decisions for subject selection. The teachers also taught us how to use the main platforms such as Blackboard and ZOOM so that we were all prepared for class.

“There is no better programme than the Certificate in Foundation Studies to begin preparation for degree study in New Zealand. The programme has helped me gain the knowledge, skills and confidence for success at the University of Auckland. “

Can you describe your daily schedule?

Each class was 1 hour 10 minutes long and I followed a timetable. It was the same during Summer but each class started an hour earlier. Every Monday, there was a meeting with the tutor and 10 to 15 other students. The tutor checked on our well-being and asked if there were any problems in class.

How were the classes delivered online?

There were live ZOOM-based classes where the teacher interacted with us in real-time and worked through flipped learning tasks. We also had recorded classes that were uploaded online. Throughout the online programme, I felt fully guided by my teachers as if I was in a classroom rather than feeling left alone on my own.

What was the most difficult subject and how did you cope?

I found Statistics and Calculus to be challenging as the examination format was different from what I was used to in South Korea. Since those subjects are based on understanding principles instead of application, I had to change the way I tackled questions. I found it challenging at the start but my teachers always gave detailed explanations during class and encouraged us to reach out to them with questions via email.

What are the benefits to studying online?

With recorded lectures, I could download and re-watch them multiple times and this was especially helpful when I missed an important point during the live class. I could also study from the comfort of my home and save on expenses such as transportation and food. Another benefit was that I could still live with my family and meet my close friends. They were my pillars of support throughout my study.

How did you make new friends?

During live classes, the teachers created breakout rooms on ZOOM to divide the class for group discussions. This created opportunities for us to meet one another and we eventually took conversations outside of class. Without the friends I made, it would not have been as easy to get good grades as we were always helping each other. Even after graduating, we still keep in touch and get together online on ZOOM to watch movies!

Your grades and attendance rate are great. What did you do to achieve that?

I made sure to use all the online materials and wrote my own notes. At the end of each day, I would complete my homework and do a review as well. I also made sure to participate regularly in classes and be in touch with my teachers whenever I faced difficulties. Attending classes punctually was rather easy for me as I did not need to spend time commuting. I stayed disciplined to wake up to my alarm every morning and made sure I was prepared for each class.

How did you get awarded the University of Auckland Top Achiever Scholarship?

I learnt about the scholarship from my agent and was determined to receive it. I stayed focused on my study and made sure to complete all my assignments on time. Whenever my friends were having issues with a certain topic, I would offer to help them. By doing so, I was improving both my command of English and knowledge.

Do you have any advice for other students who are thinking of studying online?

Like most students, I had my concerns about studying online as it was new to me. However, studying online was much more productive than I thought it would be. The teachers are always ready to assist you and they make sure you are coping well with classes. Even though it is tempting to just watch recorded lectures, it is important to join the live classes. That way, you can interact with your teachers and learn with your fellow classmates.

There is no better place than UP International College to begin preparation for an English-speaking university in New Zealand. The Certificate in Foundation Studies programme has helped me gain the knowledge, skills and confidence for success at the University of Auckland.

There is no better programme than the Certificate in Foundation Studies to begin preparation for degree study in New Zealand. The programme has helped me gain the knowledge, skills and confidence for success at the University of Auckland.

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