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Thursday 30 April 2015

Tips from international students to future international students

Around 20 per cent of all students in UK higher education come from other countries, with many of those choosing to study at Southampton Solent University.

As part of our occasional blog series around international students, Mai Elin Simensen from Klepp near Stavanger and Maren T Bollum from Eidsvoll near Oslo tell us what their top tips would be for studying, and preparing to study, at Southampton Solent University.

Norges Kreative Høyskole college in Norway. This is where Mai and Maren studied before coming to Solent

Already fully fledged interior designers from Trondheim’s Norges Kreative Høyskole college in Norway, they were given the opportunity to study abroad to improve their job prospects, so they decided to come to Solent University to obtain a BA degree in interior design.

What are your top tips for international students coming to study here at Southampton Solent University?

  • Think of a subject for your dissertation over the summer (if you are in your final year).
  • Be sure to find a place to stay before you arrive in the UK.
  • Bring documentation from your school, college or university back home – this will make it easier for you to enrol.
  • Prepare yourself for the country you’re studying in (research taxes, registration and accommodation).
  • Get in touch with other students from your course using social media. You might even find students who are from the same part of the world as you!

What did you find most difficult when writing and thinking in English?

  • Writing academically and summarising academic texts.
  • English grammar rules can be difficult to understand.
  • Translating everything, making notes, and following the tutor in lectures, all at the same time! It’s exhausting, but it does get easier.

Which translation application did you find useful?

  •  Google translate offered us a basic understanding of academic texts, and was a useful tool to help along conversations.

What other resources helped you to improve your academic work?

  • The Learning Skills office in Mountbatten library (ML002), where Helen and Carina offer advice on academic work.
  • There are websites which offer examples to help you structure academic texts.
  • Lectures! Attend them all – they’ll give you a better understanding of the subject you are studying.

Both Mai and Maren are hoping to pursue a career in interior design

What have been the most challenging areas for you?

  • Understanding the assessments, and what is required to do well.
  • Understanding the different units and what the tutors will be looking for when marking.

Which sections of the succeed@solent website were most helpful to you and why?

  • Harvard referencing.
  • Dissertation structure.

How could studying at Solent University be made easier for you?

  • Enhancing collaboration with educational institutions worldwide to fully inform incoming students and to ease the transition.
  • A proofreading service.

Any other comments?

  • A higher level of academic writing and reading is expected at degree level – be prepared!
  • Time management skills are important – we had to manage several projects at the same time throughout our time here.
  • The research process takes a while to understand, but subject librarians will help you with this.
We hope that hearing from Mai and Maren has been useful. Follow us on Twitter @SucceedAtSolent or email for more information regarding study at Southampton Solent University or academic skills.Mai and Maren will be returning to Norway in May 2015. We wish them all the best in their future professional lives as interior designers!