I’m May Shune Lae Aung (Jasmine) from Myanmar and I’m finishing my International Foundation Year to do Biological Sciences (BSc) at Durham University.
Durham University International Study Centre really helped me develop the skills I needed to study at Durham as a science student. The centre helped us get acquainted with Durham’s system by providing opportunities to visit the University and meet the department heads. Not only did the centre made sure that we had enough knowledge to study at Durham, they also provided us opportunities to learn things that we’ll need in our future. For me, spending some time in lab and doing experiments was really valuable because it helped me feel more comfortable in that environment and I believe this will really benefit me in my future academic career. Also, I think being given opportunities to practise academic writing and getting feedback on our work was great. The International Study Centre also allowed for some extracurricular academic activities. I got the opportunity to compete in the British Biology Olympiad and won a Bronze medal with the help of the centre.
Personally, the main highlight of studying at Durham University International Study Centre was the people. The teaching staff really cared about how I was doing academically. The non-teaching staff, especially the welfare team and catering staff really cared about my overall well-being. Before coming here, I was really concerned about the food because I have some dietary restrictions and didn’t know how to cook. However, once I got here, I quickly realised that it was super easy to get takeaway even with dietary restrictions. But mainly, the catering staff here really helped me and made sure that they had food I could eat, and it couldn’t have been a more pleasant experience for me.
The fact that Stockton isn’t a big bustling city helped me adapt to living in a foreign country because it felt like home to me. I got to live on campus, which was extremely convenient. I could literally just roll out of bed to class in under 5 minutes. Of course, there were days when I wanted to get away and luckily the campus is very close to a train station and so visiting other places was really easy. My personal favourite was Saltburn-by-the-Sea, which was about an hour away. It was also really fun to visit Durham, York and Newcastle.
Overall, the people I’ve met here were all really nice and this experience will be very useful in the future. I’m going to miss studying at the International Study Centre.
Find out more about studying the International Foundation Year at the International Study Centre.