Looking back, and forward: an international student’s learning experience at UTS

by | 7 May, 2019 | 1 comment

On the opportunities that studying abroad brings, and how the learning experience differs between cultures...

To study abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience all the peculiarities of a different culture and broaden your knowledge on different things. I was lucky to come to Australia to study, and since the first day, despite challenges, I have no regrets of having such experience in life.

Let me introduce myself: I am an international student with a Russian background. I graduated from Moscow University with a focus on Linguistics, and I’m currently finishing my Master’s degree in UTS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and hoping to apply what I have learned here in my future workplace. In this blog post, I want to share some of my thoughts and opinions on what has been interesting and challenging while studying at UTS.

My learning experience

Reflecting on my experience, I can say that the teaching process in UTS is different from what I am used to doing back home. I liked the idea of flipped learning in the classroom when students have pre-work to prepare and discussion about it during the class. At first, I was overwhelmed with what I needed to read, it was a HUGE number of articles! I even created a timetable for all my readings – it helped me get used to it, but I think when you have many resources to read, you learn how to scan text and highlight relevant information. In Russia there is still a more traditional approach regarding learning and teaching, while some universities have developed their methods in this area, others just stick to the most convenient approach to teaching students.

I should also mention that UTS aims to promote collaboration and to engage students in their studies. I found it interesting that there are peer reviews and group work incorporated in most of the subjects – although I did group work few times during my degree, I think the ability to be critical and to know how to manage obstacles in the group is a valuable experience, even if it can occasionally be frustrating.

Another helpful thing, especially when you are new to the university system of assessment and grading is to have a guide for assessment tasks. This handy tool helped me to understand what lecturers were expecting from me and to become better in completing tasks. The first assessment I completed, I was writing for two weeks! I would say it was very challenging, I talked to everyone from lecturers to HELPS to understand the format. Eventually my skills in this area developed. If you ask me to write an assessment now, I can finish it in 4 days in very extreme situations (though I still like to have more time before the due date). I’m telling you this because at my university in Russia, we spend most of our time preparing for exams, and have one big project to write throughout the course.

What I gained from the course

I am currently completing the final session of the Master of Education (Learning and Leadership) degree. This degree combines different approaches and theories in adult learning, course design and development, research and L&D techniques to apply in the workplace. My previous degree was Bachelor of Linguistics and I shifted from it do this degree mostly because I want to develop people’s skills and enhance their knowledge.

From the course I have done many new, different things that I haven’t done before, like conducting interviews within the university to improve workplace practice; doing research on a diverse range of topics; creating online programs and workshops for academic staff in UTS, and developing my own analytical skills and the ability to present and share my ideas with peers.

I feel lucky to have an opportunity to put my theoretical knowledge to practice by doing internships at UTS Business School and LX.lab. I am sure that practical skills are as important as theoretical so that students like me can apply what they have learned. Australian education without a doubt gave me confidence in my knowledge and skills. I have met lovely and well-rounded people while studying here and had an unforgettable learning journey!

1 Comment

  1. David Yeats

    Good point about having ‘a guide for assessment tasks”. Worthwhile taking this into account when designing subject sites for the LXT. A dedicated Assessment Overview page within the Subject site is always important.

    Reply

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