UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE)


Warasit Watanapa

Meet Warasit, he studied the Pre-sessional English course on campus and is now studying Global Healthcare Management (Leadership) MSc at UCL.


What’s your background?

Regarding my background, I’m from Thailand and spent most of my life living, studying and working in Bangkok – my home town.

Although I had a couple of opportunities to travel outside Thailand, I was too scared to speak English with others. However, after my undergraduate study and years of working towards community development and health technology, I decided to take a huge step in my life, by taking a Master’s programme.

Thus, this Pre-sessional English course would be the best opportunity to leverage my English skills, while familiarising myself with academic and learning styles at UCL.

Why did you choose to study a Pre-sessional English course face-to-face?

As you might know, each university has different ways of writing and learning. So, if you want to study at UCL, taking their Pre-sessional course is the best way to understand their writing, citation and learning styles, especially for this top-tier university where you need to adapt yourself to reach their standard. Moreover, this course not only provides you with language development but also helps you familiarise yourself with the university and such diverse culture in London.

However, if you find yourself thinking about whether you should take the face-to-face or online course, I would recommend the face-to-face course. Because, for me, the only way to improve your language skills is to keep using it. This would help you adapt your tongue and mindset towards the English language.

Additionally, It would be nice, wouldn’t it? If you also have additional months to live in this wonderful and diverse city, London.

Which degree are you studying now and what is it like?

Currently, I’m studying an MSc course in Global Healthcare Management (Leadership). Basically, It is about how to manage and run a medical company like a hospital.

This interesting course allows me to learn the different ways each country and company organise their organisation in this challenging field, especially after the real transformation due to the pandemic.

However, language plays a critical role here. Without good preparation (pre-study), you won’t learn anything much in the seminar, and so miss valuable opportunities to apply your knowledge to practice. And, obviously, all of the resources and the language used in the seminar are in English. This would be the biggest challenge for me.

How has the Pre-sessional English course helped you in your degree?

Taking the Pre-sessional course helps me a lot to tackle my language barrier. It improves my English skills in every aspect whether speaking, listening, reading or writing.

Moreover, it also adjusts my learning style to suit UCL. With the design of the course, it encourages in-class discussion, provides you with a guide on how to quickly read articles, and how to write an academic essay.

For me, the English used here is completely different compared to learning English in Thailand, even in the IELTS, and this Pre-sessional course bridges this gap very well.

What was the biggest challenge you faced during your time on the Pre-sessional English course and how did you overcome it?

During the Pre-sessional course, adjusting my learning attitude is the hardest challenge for me. As you might know, seminar discussion and self-study are not common in Thai education.

At first, I was too shy to share my thoughts in seminars and also struggled with self-study resources.

With support from colleagues, I felt encouraged as they did not judge my grammar but tried to understand what I was thinking. For me, I would say the learning environment here helps me a lot to overcome this challenge.

What advice would you give to future face-to-face Pre-sessional English students?

For future Pre-sessional students, my advice is to keep participating in course activities as much as possible.

As I mentioned in the previous answers, practising English is about continually using it in everyday life. However, 'academic English' can only be found in academic discussions and articles which will hardly be seen in your daily activities.

Thus, participating in the class is the easiest way to improve these skills. At first, It would be hard to start speaking. But, I would encourage you to try it and you will see your outstanding improvement.

What is it like to live and study in London?

For me, living in London is a wonderful experience. With public transportation, I can travel anywhere within a predictable time.

Moreover, they have a bunch of activities like outdoor cinemas, museums and parks, which you can enter for FREE! However, the cost of living is quite high here, but if you can cook, this shouldn’t be a problem.

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

The most interesting activity so far is the Shoreditch Street Art Tour with my friends. It was a great experience that UCL provide to any student for not only discovering London but also socialising with your new friends. And, the best thing is that it FREE!

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

Comparing the UK and Thai education systems, I would say the learning styles and the used resources are very different.

In the UK, they promote self-learning which requires students to discover knowledge by themself and most of the resources used here are academic materials.

On the other hand, in Thailand, we usually have lecture-based learning and most of the content might not have a proper citation.

To adjust my learning culture to the UK style, designing my timetable helps a lot to keep my self study on track and, after finishing any articles collecting citations and the main idea of it can help me structure the information very well.

Where is your favourite place on campus and why?

Talking about my favourite place on campus, the UCL Student Centre is the first place to come to mind. It is a place where you can do most things from socialising to self study. Moreover, they provide free Wi-Fi and chargers in most study spots.