MA TESOL student, Yue Zhu, tells us more about her experience studying at the University of Birmingham.
Why did you choose TESOL at the University of Birmingham?
“Firstly, it is because of the ranking of the major and the university. UOB is quite famous for its academic atmosphere and the outstanding arrangement of TESOL. I majored in English teaching for my undergraduate and during that time, most of my teachers in my university recommended me to take further study in TESOL at UOB because this major is top-ranked and there are many achievements in applied linguistic and corpus.
“Secondly, it is because of the useful courses. Before I came to study in UOB, I searched for the possible courses on the website and from other students, and I found that this course was really suitable to my future teaching.
“Finally, it is because of the good reputation of UOB from my friends. To be honest, I have two friends who studied in UOB last year and they really recommended this university because they have brilliant learning and living experience in UOB. And I was persuaded by their real life and their friendly treatment in UOB.”
What has been the highlight of your course?
“Firstly, I really appreciated that I have had a personal tutor during the whole semester and we meet in very small group every week and have discussions with my group members. Even all of the questions were answered by my tutor and we felt relaxed to join in with the small group discussions. I also have a supervisor who was very responsible and patient when I prepare my dissertation. Each supervision was helpful and was arranged every one or two weeks. The one-to-one supervision was efficiently conducted and was very useful in my writing.
“Secondly, I could choose the modules that I was really interested in after semester two, which means that after learning the basic courses in semester one, I have the opportunities to choose the modules that I want to participate in. I think this was really flexible and helpful.
“Thirdly, I really like the modules that I can put the theories into practice. Specifically speaking, at the beginning of the module, we were asked to learn the teaching theories and some basic knowledge about teaching and learning. After that, I have the opportunities to design my own classes with my classmates and then we conducted a real class with the rest of our classmates. At last, all of the students and teachers gave us the suggestions. I really like the modules that combine the theories and practice together and the modules which give me lots of opportunities to do the presentations with my classmates.”
What have you learnt from your programme?
“Firstly, it is the knowledge of language teaching and learning, especially the different teaching and learning styles in UK. I think they may help me a lot in the future. For example, when we study task-based language teaching, we not only study the definitions, advantages and disadvantages, we learned a lot about how to design classes.
“Secondly, I learned a lot from my teachers. Since I worked in a middle school for one year, I thought I know what teaching was like and what they should do. However, after studying TESOL as a student in UOB, especially learning from my teachers, I learned a lot. For example, the teachers in our major never complain about the students’ mistakes and give the real encouragement and help in their study. Students confidence was built during the class and their interests were stimulated by the interesting activities and teachers’ passion in the class.”
What is life like as a student at the University of Birmingham?
“I really like the life when I study in UOB. I always went to the sports and fitness centre with my friends. This sports centre was the biggest and brilliant sports centre that I’d ever visited and I really enjoy doing sports there, especially swimming. Besides, the day-trip which was arranged by my university in the pre-sessional course was very interesting and it provided me more opportunities to make friends. Moreover, the campus itself is very beautiful and it provided me with more opportunities to meet people from different majors and I even met my boyfriend in this beautiful campus. In addition, the 24 hours opened library is really brilliant and I can borrow lots of books when I write my essays and prepare for the dissertations. Last but not least, I get a lot of help from my university, not only in my study, but also in my life, such as my visa issues and my living issues.”
Find out more about MA TESOL over on our course pages.