Academic Support Services – My Experience

I knew coming to a new country would involve a new culture, and I was prepared to live somewhere different from my own. However, while I thought about the people I would meet, the food I would eat, and the places I would go, the differences between a British university and my own weren’t exactly the first thing on my mind.

Don’t get me wrong—I had spent a lot of time comparing the different programs and making sure my classes fit with City, University of London, but I hadn’t really considered the differences in teaching and how that would affect my learning experience (and my grades).

IFSA’s academic support services provided me with a lot of helpful information that I wouldn’t have received elsewhere. They offer a few resources that makes the transition a lot easier and amazing people who are always available to help.

Orientation:

From the first days of orientation we were already introduced to the differences between the UK and US university systems. Through a presentation Charlotte, our Academic Officer, explained the best way to navigate those differences. Setting our expectations helped me to prepare for the academic and cultural challenges that I would face.

IFSA-Butler Academic Workshops:

Throughout the semester there are a few academic workshops offered to all students in the program ranging from Academic Writing to Humanities for Science Students to help with preparing for exams and building your resume. These workshops are designed to navigate the UK academic system and get the most from our studies as well as maximize our grades. They are really a chance to learn more about the system we are learning in and get any questions answered that we may have. The free pizza doesn’t hurt either!

City University:

City University seems to have an unlimited supply of academic resources. In an orientation we were given an overview of registering, information on exams, grading, and transcripts, term dates, and more specific academic differences we will see regarding English universities.

City also offers year-round resources for any learning needs you may have. Connecting with the Disability Services Officers offers advice and assistance for students with disabilities and specific learning difficulties. The Academic Learning Support team provides support to students in order to improve their effectiveness and achieve their best results. Their workshops and online resources help with time management, note and report writing, and developing your writing skills in general.

Students also have access to CityLibrary and all of its services. CityLibrary is composed of three libraries and a Learning Resource Center. Students are able to find books, check-out textbooks, reserve library spaces, access online resources, and even participate in Library workshop programs.

All of the information for my modules (courses) can be found on Moodle, an online learning platform that is also used by some universities in the States. Here you can find your timetables, coursework, calendars, group projects, and any other information that your professor needs to share.

The People:

The IFSA-Butler London staff are always there to answers questions and help out. As Director of Academic Affairs and Academic Officer, Andrew and Charlotte are always willing and accessible to answer any questions you may have. Anna, Culture & Community Coordinator, offers the opportunity for academic and professional development through Culture Labs, focused on expanding your horizon and translating your abroad experience into one that makes your resume stand out.

Jamie and Hannah, the study abroad officers at City are extremely helpful and also accessible on campus for academic needs. I’ve been able to go to them for help with understanding timetables, switching tutorials, and navigating the university webpage.

Having this support accessible has made my experience in London so much more enjoyable. Being able to focus on doing well in school while also having fun exploring London is much easier knowing that I have resources available and people devoted to setting me up for academic success.

Sarah Zolper is a Business Management student at Wake Forest University and studied abroad with IFSA-Butler in England at City, University of London in 2016. Sarah was an Academic Technology Assistant for IFSA-Butler through the Work-To-Study Program.

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