The support I received during my pathway

08 September 2021
Former student Aaron, with one of his favourite members of staff, Sophie from the Support and Enrichment team

At the start of your study abroad, you might feel a bit lost or stressed, as you will live in a new environment, with a new culture, having a new experience. However, the Durham University International Study Centre provides you with all the support that you could never imagine.

Before the pathway programme starts

Weeks before my programme started last September, I needed to apply for a student visa. I was grateful that I got help from the Visa and Compliance team to quickly issue me the pre-CAS and CAS letter that enabled me to apply for my student visa.

In the meantime, I also got support from the Central Student Support team. They provided me with information regarding the accommodation arrangements, induction week and more.

This support from the Centre staff gave me a lot of excitement to start my pathway programme.

The first week - Induction Week

The first week of your programme will be an induction week. This will be a week full of different kinds of activities, including things to teach you more about the Centre and your pathway programme, and will allow you to meet your tutors and classmates. The induction week gave me a clear idea of what the year ahead would be like and helped me to understand more about Durham.

Furthermore, the central student support team organised some Q&A sessions during the induction week as well. This is useful, as staff are there to answer students’ questions, such as how to set up a bank account, things to do around Stockton and more.

I arrived at Rialto Court two days before my programme started, to settle down myself and give myself time to get to know the town. Once I stepped into the building, I was warmly welcomed by the accommodation staff and quickly did some paperwork and moved into my apartment.

Throughout the year

Regarding my programme, let me start with the support that I have received from an academic point of view. Once I started my course, I was allocated an Academic Personal Tutor (APT), who was there for me to give me advice and support in every step throughout my programme at the Centre. They also arranged regular one-to-one meetings with me, and supported me on how to develop and improve my study skills. On top of that, my APT also organised workshop sessions to help me improve certain skills, like time management and study tips.

The module tutors were also very supportive—they kept our lessons fun and interactive, even though lessons were online. The tutors would also respond to my questions quickly outside of lessons. I was impressed by their professionalism during my time at the Centre.

Outside of the classroom, the Centre’s Student Enrichment team organised fun social activities, like clubs, societies and leadership programmes. I also received a weekly newsletter from the student enrichment team covering a wide range of topics, including enrichment activities, COVID messages, campus information and more. The information in the weekly newsletter is crucial, and I strongly suggested you read it every week.

When I was a bit homesick, stressed or worried about exams, the welfare team was there for me. They did some drop-in sessions at Rialto Court, and I just went down there for a chat with them. They also provided one-to-one meetings if needed.

During my stay in Rialto Court, I met loads of new friends. We always chatted, studied and even cooked together. Especially after exams, we celebrated together and had a great time, so be sure to make an effort to meet new friends.

The Accommodation staff were also very kind, as they helped me to collect my mail and kept us safe. They always resolved our issues quickly if anything happened in our student residence. Rialto Court is just one of the best places to live in.

After progression

After all exams are over, your hard work has paid off and you successfully progressed to Durham University, the International Study Centre’s Progression team are there to help you. They will provide useful support when your pathway programme comes to an end and during the transition period. I received a weekly newsletter from them, along with loads of information in preparing for my studies at Durham University.

To sum up, the Durham University International Study Centre provides students with a wide range of support before, during and after studying a pathway programme. Be sure to seek help when you needed, and the Centre staff will be more than happy to help you out. Finally, I hope you will get the most out of your studies here, and wish you the most success to progress your dream university, Durham University.