UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE)


Mitsuru Hatono

Mitsuru is from Japan and studies at the Shibaura Institute of Technology. Read more about his experience of the UCL Pre-University Summer School.

Mitsuru Hatono, UCL Pre-University Summer School student

Why did you choose to study the UCL Pre-University Summer School?

I thought this course would be very formal and intense as UCL is a very highly ranked university; I wanted to experience what it was like. Now I know that I need intellectual skills as well as conversational and communication skills.

I had also already been to UCL about 3 years ago – I found it clean and I felt comfortable. The buildings are also so beautiful, so I wanted to come again.

What have been the highlights of the course and why?


Brighton, the London Eye and museums have been the social highlights, as I could talk to other students, make friends and meet other people.

The Royal Pavilion in Brighton was very big and beautiful. Inside the palace you could see decorations and historical objects and learn about the olden times.

Mitsuru on a Pre-University social activity to Greenwich, posing with other students and a chaperone with the London Skyline in the background


The Biology lecture was also enjoyable because the teacher had a good sense of humour and was interactive. The lectures were easy to follow, and in the Biology practical we extracted material related to the carrots pigment.


The chaperones were kind, reliable and cautious. If you asked them a question, they always provided an answer. If we forgot any plans they would tell us what we are doing; it was very good to have them.

What skills have you developed on the Pre-University Summer School?

On the course, I learnt a lot about life (the cultural of English people, speaking fluent English) and academic skills.

By participating, I learnt how to think and learn in English, so it is very good for students to help improve their language skills. Japanese people cannot express ideas in English because they always think in Japanese and translate it into English.

What are the main differences between studying in your school and studying at UCL?

Teacher/student interaction

The main differences between studying at my school in Japan (Shibaura Institute of Technology) and on the UCL Pre-University Summer School is that at school my teachers just give students information for us to learn; on the Pre-University Summer School the teachers ask us lots of questions to check our understanding as well as to get our own ideas.

Mitsuru interacting with other UCL Pre-University Summer School students in class

Group work

We often discuss problems and solutions in small groups and then tell the rest of the class. This is a better style of learning as I can learn something deeply, because by talking to other people you have to search and discuss the information, leading to active learning.

At the start of the course this style of learning was very difficult for me, but I got used to it and learnt the importance of team working and sharing ideas.

What advice would you give to a student who wants to do the UCL Pre-University Summer School next year?

Be prepared to be busy: there is a lot to do on the course, so you often feel tired. However, it gives you pleasure as you are always improving yourself. The teachers make the classes enjoyable and interactive so you can concentrate and participate.