UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE)


Pamela Berenice Pijal Teran

Hear from Pamela, who joined us from Ecuador, on her experience of studying the online version of UCL's Pre-sessional English course.

Photograph of Pamela Berenice Pijal Teran

What’s your background?

I was born and raised in Ecuador, South America. I enrolled in the College of Law at the Universidad de las Americas and made the School of Law Dean’s List obtaining my law degree with an average of 9/10.

After college, I have held positions as Associate Lawyer in two law firms in my hometown but also as a Head Legal of a well-known multinational security company, also based here in London, named Securitas.

Why did you choose to study at UCL?

UCL is one of the world’s leading universities for studies and research, especially in Law. Furthermore, it is located in the United Kingdom, the world’s sixth-largest economy. Having said that, much can be learned from its international professors and higher education system. Finally, UCL students tend to become aspirational, hard-working, ambitious and successful people. This motivated me to apply and study at this prestigious university.

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

I am happily studying the Master of Laws, LLM, in the specialism of Corporate Law. All the modules taken under this specialism have been challenging, particularly due to the different legal system: common law. However, the best teaching of this current academic experience is that studying a Master's at UCL is more than attending classes but also developing research skills and criteria for life. So far, this programme has taught me discipline and perseverance.

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

The Pre-sessional English Course is well taught and what you would expect from UCL. Each lecture provides strategies for all the English skills needed during your studies. The knowledge gained will enhance your ability to read and write critically, as well as, speaking and listening in an academic manner. This will definitely improve not only your personal skills but also the professional ones you need to apply for a job.

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

It is apparent that studying online in a different time zone is quite challenging; however, the pre-sessional team made it an enjoyable experience.

Students were placed into groups with people within in the same, or close, time zone to study and learn together and receive feedback. The assessments were more complicated than expected, and for this reason, I highly recommend that the Pre-sessional English Course should be taken seriously.

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

Unfortunately, I was not able to live in London when the Pre-sessional English course took place. However, the quality of teaching was quite impressive. As the assigned tutor, the lectures and materials were perfectly given and explained. As overseas students, we were constantly evaluated which was pretty useful to get used to the real pressure of studying a Master's programme. I am very grateful for such intense academic training.

What is it like to live and study in London?

I had the opportunity to visit London a couple of times before I moved here. In fact, I experienced the UK lifestyle in the past as I lived in Liverpool before the pandemic. However, London exceeded all my expectations. This city offers plenty of options to suit everyone's tastes. No one can get bored of London. Undoubtedly, this makes the experience of studying at UCL an extraordinary one.

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

I am particularly enjoying all the available places to study at UCL. Each library has a different atmosphere and a great study space. Apart from that, UCL offers extracurricular services, such as yoga and pilates classes for free during the second term, organised by the Department of Law. I recently enrolled at the Bloomsbury Fitness Gym which is an amazing place to get off the stress and meet people. UCL is more than just a place to study.

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

The Ecuadorian education system may be described as 70% of acquisition of knowledge in the classroom and 30% self-study. Students are motivated to attend to classes as the information is given by professors during lectures. Some lectures are sent in advance to be read and studied prior to the class; however, the number of lectures were significantly less than in this programme.