UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE)


Cagla Erdas

Meet Cagla, now an MSc Nanotechnology and Regenerative Medicine student at UCL, she completed the 9-week pre-sessional course in 2021.

Photograph of Cagla

What’s your background?

I am from Turkey. I graduated from Eskisehir Osmangazi University medical school in Turkey.

Why did you choose to study at UCL?

I was interested in regenerative medicine. After that, I researched Master's programmes and UCL's MSc Nanotechnology and Regenerative Medicine seemed attractive to me. Also, UCL is well-known and one of the top universities in the ranking lists, which also impacted my decision.

What course do you study now and what is it like?

I am doing an MSc in Nanotechnology and Regenerative Medicine. It is related to tissue engineering and nanomaterial-cell interactions. We are mainly focusing on research rather than learning information.

In addition, we have a laboratory research project that we manage with a supervisor for 6-months. Although research is not as easy as joining a lecture passively, it gives you the opportunity to prefer the subject that you would like to work on during the Master's and improve your abilities as a scientist. 

How has the Pre-sessional helped you in your Master’s degree?

From my perspective, it was good to get used to the system and UCL online tools before starting my Master’s degree. Pre-sessional English also helped me to feel more confident about my interactions with lecturers and other international people.

It was an intensive course and there are so many tasks you must complete. You just need to follow the plan and do the instructions they have already determined day by day. Moreover, we had small groups where we could do speaking practice with other students. Our English skills naturally improved in this intensive environment. 

What was the biggest challenge you faced during your time on the Pre-sessional?

I had a problem completing the homework on time, but this difficulty helped me to find out how to be more organised. Some fast-reading tips also were beneficial for me to use time efficiently.

My advice is to scan texts and tasks before starting reading in greater detail. After looking quickly, you could feel more familiar with the task and find out how to do the task well and faster.

What advice would you give to a prospective Pre-sessional student?

Studying and living in the UK is a nice experience. I worried about it a lot before I came to live here because it is not easy to predict what you will face when you live in another country. Living in London and studying in the UK is one of the best experiences of my life, so my advice is not to worry about the conditions and changing a country.

The UK education system is student-centred and you have to be active to achieve your goals and to improve your abilities. For this reason, especially for the pre-sessional course, it is better to participate and be active during lectures and seminars because no one will judge whether your answers or opinions are true or not. Generally, people, especially lecturers, think there is no one truth and they are not trying to find the right answer, they just try to encourage you to share your ideas and be productive. 

What is it like to live and study in London?

Living in London is enjoyable and easy. London consists of a combination of all nations. Therefore, you have an opportunity to make friends from all other nations. I have never felt that I am living in this country as a foreigner. I feel like I am living in a small world in which people learn how to respect one another. Although London is more expensive than other cities, I could find suitable foods easily.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve done, seen or got involved with while at UCL?

I am staying at one of the UCL halls and have a good connection with my flatmates. Sometimes I play games with them, which is really nice.

I really enjoyed participating in a live drawing class. The teacher was really professional and it was the most interesting thing I've participated in at UCL so far.

How is the UK education system different to your home country?

While our education system aims to give more information to the students, the UK’s education system is more interactive and encourages you to think and research the subject and produce new ideas about it.

Which UCL residence did you live in and how was your experience?

I am living in the Max Rayne house currently. I think living in accommodation for the first year is a good way to settle into the country and city. In addition, you could have flatmates from different countries, so you could meet them and learn about their cultures.