UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE)


Xuedi Sun

Meet Xuedi, a former International Pre-Master's student who went on to study Philosophy of Education MA at the IOE. Read more about her experience of the IPM below.

Xuedi Sun, former UCL IPM student

Where were you before coming to UCL?

Before coming to UCL, I had just finished my undergraduate studies and got my Bachelor degree. I studied finance and accounting courses at the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics. It is a very good university located in Chengdu, Sichuan province.

Why did you choose to study at UCL?

UCL is a prestigious university. It is located in London, one of the most developed cities in the world, full of historical buildings, museums, libraries and academic institutions.

More than that, I really like how the UCL campus is built. The campus and buildings are integrated into the city. It is very different from the university I was in before, which separates campus and students from the public.

The main UCL campus is next to other universities like SOAS and Birkbeck, so it’s easy to meet more students and make friends with them.

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

The course I study now is Philosophy of Education MA at the IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society. It is explores what education is and how it is related to society.

Students are encouraged to talk about their own experience and relate that to the knowledge we learn from lectures. It’s quite different from economic courses I learned before because it is not about right or wrong, but the position you’d like to hold.

The way that a professor leads us to discuss the fairness of education is to give us some concrete cases and let us defend our positions. By doing that, we can understand many philosophical ideas in an easier way.

How has the IPM helped you in your Master's degree?

As an international student who changed major and studies abroad in a second language, the IPM helped me a lot in my Master’s degree. It gave me an opportunity to study at UCL and attend seminars and activities here so that I could find the course that I wanted to study.

It helped me to improve my language skills so it was easier for me during my Master's degree. It gave me a chance to get used to studying in a western university.

The most important thing I learned from the IPM course was how to think critically. Critical thinking is crucial for academic study. Many IPM tasks trained us to gain that skill, such as the reflections homework we had to submit every week. I didn’t realise how useful it was until I started my Master's. It has helped me to develop a habit of reflection.

What was the most enjoyable part of the IPM?

Weekly tutorial were my favourite part of the IPM. Every week I would have half an hour to communicate with my personal tutor, one-to-one and face-to-face.

During that time I could ask questions about my studies, my life and everything that confused me. I had time to express myself and to gain help from my tutor. I think it was very important for foreign students like me.

My tutor gave me a lot of professional support to my language learning and academic studies. He also helped me to integrate into UCL and this strange country. He gave me a lot of precious suggestions for my future academic studies.

It is comforting to have a tutor who is just like a wise and thoughtful friend.

I remember that my tutor printed some reading materials about education he used in his lessons and gave those to me after he knew that I was interested in education, even though I was not a student on his module. It makes me feel that at CLIE I’m not just a student to have lessons and pass exams, but a learner to gain more knowledge and develop myself, with the help from tutors here.

What was the most challenging part of the course and how did you overcome it?

The course itself was challenging because we were required to read about 20 pages of academic papers every week and understand those and discuss in class.

Except for me, the other three students in my module three class could speak English very well and had related background knowledge about public policy. It was very hard for me to understand what they discussed in class at the beginning and I could not keep up with their thinking.

The teacher saw that, so he always asked me if I had any questions or opinions. He gave me a lot of chances to ask questions and let others help me or answer my questions.

My classmates were also very nice and they were always happy to help me. Gradually, I got used to expressing myself and ask questions directly. I was also no longer shy about asking my peers questions. They helped me a lot on my module three course.

What is it like living and studying London?

It is great to live and study in London. There are a lot of beautiful parks like Regent’s Park, Hyde Park, and so on. I like to feed swans and wild ducks there. There are also a lot of museums, art galleries and theatres. Many are free. I visited Van Gogh’s art exhibition last year when I studied on the IPM.

London is a city full of history. Most people are welcoming and friendly. However, as an international student, I’m always cautious about my personal safety.

What advice would you give to a prospective IPM student?

My advice would be: do not be afraid to face challenges.

I guess many IPM students are not native so they must be excited and nervous to start their studies and life in a strange country.

However, it is also a worthwhile experience because we are young and we have the energy and time to face new challenges and overcome those. If some are too difficult, do not be afraid to ask your tutors or classmates for help.