UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE)


Riko Ueno

Meet Riko from Japan who attended the Pre-University Online Course in 2023.

Photograph of Riko

Where were you during the course?

I am from Tokyo, the capital of Japan. I took the course at my home. I thought the atmosphere of class was different between my school and UCL.

In my school, it is rare for students to have opportunities to state their opinions, but at UCL, I had numerous chances to state my opinions.

I studied Academic English in the course. It was useful for me to improve my English skill. Also, I had some lectures on other topics.

Why did you choose the course?

When I first heard about the course, I was attracted by the fact that I could take classes from a British university in my house. Since I had had no chance to visit the UK and have academic experience there, I was looking forward to taking the course.

I wanted to study with UCL because it was known for its level of research. I thought it would be a good experience for me to study with the university which is valued worldwide.

Also, the diversity of UCL attracted me. UCL have accepted a diverse group of students for a long time, creating an environment I admire.

Do you have any personal highlights from the course and why?

I enjoyed both classes and lectures.

In classes, I liked having discussions with other students in the breakout rooms. Especially, talking over the differences between schools in our home countries was interesting for me.

My favourite lecture was “The Monarchy”. It was all about the royal family in the UK. I had known that the UK had a royal family, but I didn’t know much about it. Through the lecture, I could learn the history and the system of the royal family. Also, I learned about some controversies over the monarchy in the UK. The lecture was very interesting for me because I live in Japan, which has monarchy too, and I could make some comparisons between the UK and Japan.

Which skills have you developed during the course?

I developed my English skills through the course. Since I had many opportunities to give my opinions, my speaking skills got much better than before. Also, I could improve my writing skills through writing my essay for assessment. Now I am more confident with my English.

Furthermore, I could learn the mindset to study in university. For example, through discussing with other students, I learned the importance of being open minded. Also, being a leader of the discussion was precious experience for me. I think the course helped me to improve my English and enhance my motivation to study.

What do you want to do once you’ve finished high school?

I want to study politics in the UK. Studying in the UK has been one of my big dreams, and the admiration got stronger after taking the course. I want to get a job regarding politics in the future.

What advice would you give to future Pre-University students?

I wish I had been open-minded from the first day of the course. I was nervous during the first week of the course and I couldn’t enjoy it but as I started speaking, it became fun!

In the online classroom, it is pretty important to have a good environment to take classes. During the course, some students had technical issues such as microphone quality, Wi-Fi condition, noisy surroundings, and so on. I strongly recommend you check your equipment and environment before you start the course.

I worried about the level of the course before starting the course. However, the class was not difficult to understand, and I could take it comfortably. Even if I couldn’t understand the content accurately, I could ask some questions to my classmates, and they kindly helped me.

Also, I had some chances to talk with my tutor in tutorials and could ask her questions personally, I could study in the course with no worry.