Michelle Ma Testimonial

Michelle looks back on her time at the Institute of Education and provides some useful tips on settling in and making the most of your time at UCL.

Michelle on campus in the Main Quad

What are you studying and when do you graduate?
I am studying the MA TESOL In-Service programme. I will graduate in September 2020.

Why are you interested in this subject and what do you plan to do in the future?
This programme fits very well with my professional background and interests in English language teaching. It offers a wide range of modules that enable me to exploit new effective teaching methods and develop my own language learning materials. My cohort all have several years’ work experience. It is enjoyable to talk with them and hear their thoughts about teaching and education. In fact, I have got many inspirations for my coursework from classroom discussions.
I plan to continue to work in the education sector after graduation, and would like to see myself involved in developing educational products and delivering educational services.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve done, seen or got involved with while at UCL?
There have been so many interesting events on campus. I find the events organised by the Hiking Club of the Students’ Union particularly interesting, as they take you to some picturesque places such as Snowdonia, Dartmoor and Lake District.

What’s your top tip for new students?
My top tip would be connecting to your new environment at UCL.

Studying abroad is not just about studying, but also about experiencing new cultures and lifestyles, and gaining insights into yourself. So, connect with others, keep an open heart, and try to have some fun by being part of your environment. You will probably get new perspectives on life and on yourself throughout the process.

Any advice on starting at UCL and settling in – is there something you know now that you wished you had known when you started at UCL?
Remember to make good use of the various resources that UCL offers to students.

There are diverse resources available on campus, such as career guidance, academic writing support, and student wellbeing services. For example, I have learned how to write an effective CV and covering letter in webinars run by UCL Careers. But it is a pity that I was not aware of such resources until Term 2…

What do you miss most about being away from UCL and what’s the first thing you’re going to do when you get back to UCL/London?
I really miss doing some reading in the quiet study space in the Main Library. The first thing I am going to do when I get back to UCL would be to visit the Main Quad and the library.

Who inspires you and why?
I get inspired by different people in different life stages. During my masters, I have been most inspired by Prof. Amos Paran. He has taught two modules of our programme. I am very impressed by how he builds various activities into a lecture, and encourages critical thinking in class. He has been responsive to my enquiries and given me valuable advice on academic matters. From Prof. Paran, I have come to know what a top teacher is like.

What would it surprise people to know about you?
I often need several alarm clocks to wake up in the morning (definitely not proud of this…)

What does UCL mean to you?
A worthwhile experience.

Looking back at my UCL journey shortly before graduation, I am thankful that I decided to come here one year ago. I have enhanced my academic credentials and experienced many new things at UCL. I feel more self-assured and get to know myself better. So, totally worth it!