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Modern Languages and LinguisticsPart of Humanities

Students around the world 'prepare for success' – thanks to the University of Southampton

Published: 18 January 2010
prepare for success

Tens of thousands of international students from more than a hundred countries have taken advantage of a unique University of Southampton initiative to help them prepare for their forthcoming studies at UK universities.

Topics covered in the free learning resources at www.prepareforsuccess.org.uk include differences in academic cultures, how to write essays and take part in seminars and even the right way to address professors and lecturers. All students heading for UK universities can benefit from the advice as it is not tailored to a specific institution.

Senior Teaching Fellow in E-learning in Modern Languages at the School of Humanities, Julie Watson, launched the free-to-use website in July 2008 in collaboration with the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA). Around 50 UK universities have incorporated elements in their own web pages for international students.

"Studying in a new country can be a challenge for overseas students," explains Julie. "This interactive website with plenty of video clips and quizzes encourages them to think about study skills, language requirements and time management. We employ the latest Web 2.0 technology to make the site fresh and lively as well as easy to use."

Julie has web statistics for the last 18 months and is pleased with the responses and feedback from students, academics and others who find the site useful. Up to now, people from 184 countries have browsed the site; the latest visitors are from Anguilla, Fiji and the Netherlands Antilles.

In September 2009 alone, there were over 12,500 visits to the site. More than 24,000 pages were browsed. The top six countries from which the website was accessed were the UK, China, USA, India, France and Malaysia.

Student comments included: "Everyone that will be going to study in the UK must go through it at least once", "The tips are not only helpful but also very well organised and gracefully arranged onto the website" and "I appreciate the fact that the UK Government has made this tool available to assist international students who want to study in the UK for the first time."

"This website is a real first for the UK providing so much valuable material, entirely free and to anyone intent on studying here," added Dominic Scott, Chief Executive of UKCISA. "We were delighted to have been able to obtain funding from the Prime Minister's Initiative for International Education to finance this really innovative project and also that the University of Southampton has developed it so successfully. It is, as the name implies, a success story all round!"

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