Evelyn Sam

International Foundation Programme

I liked meeting students from so many different countries.

Why did you choose to study Psychology at Kent?

While doing my research when applying for universities, I saw that Kent has modern research laboratories and equipment, which I thought would aid my learning to a great extent. I had also come to know that they provide great student support, from the lecturers as well as other staff. I chose to apply via the International Foundation Programme (IFP) because I knew that it would provide me with the base I need in order to be up to the mark for undergraduate study. The IFP helped me to understand what Kent expected from me when it came to the academic side of my university life.

Did you already have experience of living in the UK or in a different country before you came to Kent?

No, it was my first time living in a place on my own and I had lived all my life in Dubai. It has definitely been an uplifting experience to live on my own and experience a place that is a lot different from home.

Where did you live during your IFP year?

I stayed in Keynes self-catered accommodation. Keynes in my opinion is one of the best places to live on campus and I had a great time there. Staying in Keynes made it easier for me to get to my classes as it is very central. If I wanted to go into town, the nearest bus stop was only a two-minute walk from my accommodation.

Does Kent feel like a safe place to live?

Yes, I feel safe at Kent because there are people I can rely on if ever I am in a difficult situation. I have downloaded the SafeZone app which gives me quick access to campus security. So far I have had no problems while staying at Kent.

How easy was it to settle in and make friends?

It was actually really easy to make friends as the University organised multiple events in the Welcome Week where you can interact with a lot of people. I feel that joining or being part of a society, whether it was a sport society or a cultural society, did definitely give me more of an opportunity to make friends as well as trying out something new. 

 What impact has the coronavirus pandemic had on your studies?

During the lockdown, I was able to go back home to Dubai. Studying online was quite strange at first because I was used to going to classes and interacting with my peers and lecturers face to face; I was able to get used to it after a while and continued to keep studying even though the teaching methods had changed. The IFP team was very supportive and made sure that they reached all of us whenever we had questions or any sort of concerns. I feel this made my online learning a lot easier at the time and I had no worries that I was missing out on something or falling behind.

 What about this term – are you back at Kent?

Yes – most of my classes are online but there are some lessons where I have to go to face-to-face classes. So far, I think that the way the course has been set up is well planned and I have not had any difficulty settling into it. The staff are always quick to respond to emails and are very understanding if we have any concerns. I hope I will get to know other students through seminars or other work spaces. I have also joined the Psychology Society and I hope that through that I will be able to meet more people from my course.

 Looking back to your IFP year, what did you enjoy most about it?

There were many things that I enjoyed but the thing I liked most was the fact that there were students from different parts of the world which meant that it was very diverse. As an international student, it made it easier to relate to them for a lot of things, as well as making it a less challenging experience to settle into university life.

 Would you recommend the IFP to students who may be considering applying?

I would definitely recommend IFP to other students as it creates a pathway that will help them to get ahead and stay on track when they move on to the first year of their undergraduate degree. I found that doing the IFP was really useful as it helped me to improve on my essay writing as well as understand the meaning of good academic practice.