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This content is taken from the Cambridge Assessment English's online course, Aim Higher: Access to Higher Education for Refugees and Asylum Seekers. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 4 seconds The challenges for higher education can vary. One of these challenges is the language itself for somebody who is an overseas student. When they come here, they need to have first, the survival language to survive in the country. And they need the academic language to survive at university. One of the most difficult aspects for study at higher education for overseas students is the fact that the environment at the British university, or at any British university, is different from the environment at a home university. And the environment here promotes understanding, evaluation, critical thinking, rather than memorisation of information and then going to the test.

Skip to 0 minutes and 51 seconds So this is an environment that promotes independence and independent study rather than teacher-centered classrooms and lectures, where you have to listen passively, take notes, and then go and memorise.

The challenges of studying at university

Listen to Zak talking about what he found most difficult about studying in Higher Education. What points does he mention?

You can also think back to the difficulties Ahmad and Rassina talked about in the last step.

One of the points that he mentions is not having a ‘support network’. When things go wrong you can really feel on your own. Your usual support network of family and friends may be hundreds if not thousands of miles away. Even if you weren’t previously aware of how important they were, this is when you’ll find out. Although most universities have an International Student Support team that organises activities for students throughout the year, building up a new support network is really important, and will help your studies go much more smoothly.

Task: think about your own situation and what support you need from a network. What challenges have you got? Share your challenges and find someone with similar concerns and suggest ways of dealing with them.

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Aim Higher: Access to Higher Education for Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Cambridge Assessment English