Learning online: the ICC International Foundation Programme

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This blog is written by one of SOAS’s ICC scholarship holders. The ICC (Intermediate Certificate Course) is a foundation year programme providing academic and English language preparation for international students who want to enter undergraduate degrees in Social Sciences, Finance and Management-related studies, and Arts and Humanities at UK universities.

Why did you choose the ICC at SOAS?

I was introduced to SOAS ICC through my agent in Korea. SOAS is a school that appreciates and demands diversity among students and has a flexible but deep approach to education. I had taken interviews with other foundation programmes as well, but the main difference I felt was the warmth of this institution. Apart from the culture of SOAS, its ICC programme has good past results for sending their students to reputable universities across the UK.

How did you feel before ICC started?

I would say that it was a perfect mixture of both nervous and excited. I was mainly nervous because of virtual learning. Like everyone else, the whole idea of studying online was new to me and I was worried whether I could catch up on that. It actually turned out that I had been over-worrying. The instructions were clear and the quality of lectures and seminars are splendid. But on top of that, the welcoming atmosphere of SOAS ICC contributed most on relieving my nerves. I was also excited to meet new people. It has always been a fun thing for me!

How did you find the Introductory course in September?

It was well planned. It all started with a warm welcome from SOAS faculties. I recall most students being shy at first, but it did not take long for them to adapt. It was a busy week as there were diverse sessions awaiting us. We had classes about the school’s virtual learning system, Moodle, UCAS applications, Q&A about different modules, student welfare, lecture previews and reviews. Together, this aided students to get a detailed idea of the programme and fully make use of the school resources. The students also made a whatsapp group during the introductory course, and this enabled more active communication amongst us.

How have you found the first two weeks?

The first two weeks have been a time for me to fully infuse the course into my life style. During the very first week, I struggled a little to schedule my time as classes were held between 5pm to 9pm in my country. At SOAS, they really care about whether all of their students fully understand the lectures by providing strong English support from tutors. I was able to make some friends — because of the pandemic, we can only chat with each other through the internet at the moment, but it works.  

How are you coping with online learning? What are the challenges? What works well?

The main challenge would be the time zone. I have online classes from 5pm to 9pm Korean time. It is not bad and I am now used to it, but I prefer to study in the morning. The main advantage of virtual learning is the flexibility of lectures. I am not only able to watch and pause the lecture whenever I need to, but also adjust the speed of it.

What are you looking forward to over the next few weeks?

The UCAS deadline is coming on 15th of Jan next year, so my main goal is to prepare for it. I am currently prioritizing the UCAS personal statement as it is a significant factor for the application process.

Find out more about SOAS’s ICC programme and the Foundation Year.

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