Languages @ UCLan
Pre-Sessional 2005 – 22 August - 16 September 2005

In the Summer of 2004, the Department of Languages and International Studies held its annual Pre-sessional programme for international students. 365 students from across the world, including China, Asia and Europe, participated in the event, supported by 22 members of teaching staff.


The pre-sessional is over for 2005 but watch this page soon for details about our 2006 programme.

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What is the Pre-sessional?

The Pre-sessional is a free, month-long intensive introduction course to both the University of Central Lancashire and Britain as a whole. As the programme leader says, “The Pre-sessional has two principal aims. The first is to familiarise students with British culture, customs and general way of life. Second, the Pre-sessional equips students with the necessary academic skills needed, to study successfully at a British university.” Therefore the primary focus of this programme is on developing English language and study skills.

Unlike many programmes, the Pre-sessional is flexible and totally student-orientated. The programme leader continues, “If there are large numbers of students undertaking the same course, we can run specific classes, focusing on relevant English language and academic skills for that degree. We currently run these classes for Engineering, Electronics, Finance and Accounting. For subjects like Engineering, specific classes are advantageous as we can concentrate on specialised English that is required for this degree. This in turn benefits the student, as they can miss sections which are not applicable to their degree specialism.” He adds, “if there are significant numbers of students studying the same degree programme, we could consider setting up specific classes for other subjects too!”

What types of activities are included as part of the Pre-sessional?

Familiarity with your surroundings is the key to making students feel a part of university life. This is why the first week is dedicated to induction for all international students. During this time, students are shown around the city of Preston, the location of shops and how to register at the police station. Jolin, from North China, a student studying English for International Business, says, “Staff helped me to open a bank account. I didn’t know how to do it”. Similarly, students are shown around the University campus during the first week. Polly, also from China adds, “They showed us where the library was and how to find books.” Another such scheme run by the University is “Buddies”. Each new student is paired with an experienced UCLan student, (usually a second or final year student) who can answer any questions and generally support first year students during the first few weeks of term.

Academic skills

The remaining three weeks of the programme are aimed at developing academic skills. Students attend four hours of classes per day. These classes are small, with around twenty students in each, the focus being centred on developing written and oral English skills. Joanne Garner, a lecturer on the Pre-sessional describes the sort of work students undertake in these classes. She says: “I had sixteen students in my class. I taught mainly academic skills, note taking, listening to lectures, essay writing and oral presentation skills. We did a lot of group work to encourage students to practise their English. I estimate that half the lesson was devoted to oral work. These skills are all vital if students are to study effectively on their degree programmes.”

Although there are no examinations at the end of the Pre-sessional, students must complete an oral presentation and written research report, assignments which are typical degree assessments. Eve, a Tourism student from Beijing describes the assignments she completed: “I had to write a report comparing different brands of products. Also I did a presentation about culture in China and an essay on an event which I found in the newspaper.”

One aspect of the course which students found very beneficial was one to one tutorials with their teacher. As Joanne Garner explains: “Each student had three one hour tutorials per week. This gives the student an opportunity to discuss their progress, what they have enjoyed, what they find difficult and how they want to improve their weaknesses. We are constantly monitoring their progress.” The students agree, Jolin adds, “They were very helpful. I felt I was getting better.”


Social events

The Pre-sessional is not all work, socialising is another important part of university life. There are two parties held during the Pre-sessional, one in the first week, the other at the end. A tutor comments, “The first party gives students and staff the chance to meet and get to know each other, in a relaxed and informal environment. The second party is an opportunity to celebrate students achievements, before starting their degree programme for real.” These social events also enabled students to meet each other. As Polly enthuses, “When I came, I knew no one. Everyone is nice, Jolin and Eve are my best friends now!”

Has the Pre-sessional been an enjoyable experience? All the students agree, yes! Eve adds, “I wish it was longer!” How much longer? Eve giggles, “Two months.”

Has the Pre-sessional helped them cope better with their studies? Undoubtedly yes! Polly says, “I did not know how to take lecture notes, I do now.”

For further information, please contact

Tracy O'Sullivan
Faculty International Co-ordinator – CLASS
Telephone number +44 (0)1772-893153
Or email

Please quote your student ID number, i.e. GXXXXXXXX on all enquiries!

Quotation MarkWould they recommend the Pre-sessional to other international students coming to the University of Central Lancashire in the future? A resounding yes! Polly concludes: “Everyone was nice, the teachers were helpful. I want to take a Masters next year.Quotation Mark