UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE)


Aliya Temirkhan

Nationality: Kazakh
Previous course at UCL CLIE: International Pre-Master's (2017)
Progressed to: PhD in Chemical Engineering at The University of Aberdeen

International Pre-Master's student Aliya Temirkhan

Where were you before coming to UCL?

I’m originally from Almaty in Kazakhstan, it’s a large metropolis set in the foothills of the Trans-lli Alatau Mountains. I was studying Chemical Engineering before I started the Pre-Master’s.

Why did you choose to study at UCL?

My friend recommended me to come to the UCL International Pre-Master’s as it would help me with my future career and to help me get used to the British education system. I’m going to do a PhD so I needed to be prepared for academia.

The course content first attracted me because there were classes on writing essays, research proposals, presentation skills and reports; all the skills I would need for a PhD.

And of course UCL is in London! Coming to London was a dream from my childhood. I wanted to live here and know London from its heart. I’m attracted by the culture, and being here felt like home. Even the weather is the same as my country – so changeable!

How has the Pre-Master's helped you prepare for your PhD?

There are a lot of writing tasks which I found very challenging because the structure of writing paragraphs is quite different in my culture – so it was very useful for me to understand and practise. I also found the topic related to critical thinking helpful because it supported me to write my research proposal and essay.

Referencing was my weakness before I started, but our tutor explained to us how to use the Harvard referencing system. Now it is all clear for me, and I was able to share my advice with my groupmates.

What did you do when you were not studying for the International Pre-Master’s?

There’s so much entertainment in London! I have visited approximately 10 museums here. I’m keen on the theatre, so I saw a number of performances, including at the Globe.

I also took advantage of the location so every month I visited new cities in the countryside.

What advice would you give to prospective students?

Be ready to study in a group with other international students who may have different accents because English is a second language to them, but after a couple of weeks you will be fine with it. I was worried about my language level not being enough before I arrived, but this wasn’t a problem in the end.

Try to also communicate with local residents in order to enhance your speaking skills and understand local culture as soon as possible.