I am a freshman student of the UWIC for the first semester of 2010 studying Software Development and Networks. I personally chose UWIC, mainly for two reasons: it is popular in my home country-Saudi Arabia and the institution boasts of excellent facilities. Likewise, this school enjoys the reputation as one of the best institutions for higher learning in the United Kingdom. Its programs for Management and Education are renowned for producing top alumni. UWIC has five sections that offer undergraduate and graduate studies, namely: Cardiff of Art and Design, the Cardiff of Health Sciences, the Cardiff school of Management, and the Cardiff School of Education (www.uwic.ac.uk.).
Lately, the institution has invested in a Research Center that amounted to five million pounds. This exhibits how much resources are being placed to enhance the learning process of students and members of the academe. Indeed, the school is one of the world’s finest institutions. This reflection paper would narrate my life as a student in UWIC and how much learning I have absorbed since I studied here. Moreover, this essay will cover the challenges I have encountered during the first two semesters of my stay here. I never thought that studying on UWIC would be an enjoyable learning experience from the very start. However, that is not to say that I had no adjustment difficulties as an international student. Being exposed to a new culture as well as a different educational system was not that easy. I am thankful for my devoted teachers who have been patient with my shortcomings. Also, I exerted my best effort possible, so I can overcome the challenges that surrounded me; indeed, I prevailed. One of the very first challenges presented to me was the referencing system for academic papers. Back in my country, referencing styles have been taught to students but they were not enough to meet the strict standards imposed by United Kingdom universities such as UWIC. There were many errors from the beginning that were overwhelming to an international student like me. The problem stems from the fact that we were only taught the rigors of APA which is the only style used in Saudi Arabia’s universities. Here, I have to develop more skills using different styles like Harvard style, APA (American Psychological Association) style, MLA style and Vancouver style; AGPS style (Newcastle University). Apparently, most schools here use the Harvard referencing style which is easier to adapt and use in my own experience. After a few lessons and diligent practice, I have already polished my skills using Harvard reference style. On top of learning how to use Harvard referencing, I also learned how to write a full CV which is crucial for getting employed in the future. The second challenge I had to overcome was time management. Even when I was still living in my country, this was already an issue for me. Not learning how to manage my time carefully posed many problems at the end of the first term. There were numerous papers to submit at different deadlines. Since I was not good at prioritizing my activities, I felt so much pressure when deadlines came. After that harrowing experience, I learned my lessons well so I made a plan. Truly, some good things can come out of bad events. My plan involved assessing the difficulty of the assignments that were given to us in class. Then, I plotted how much time was needed to complete the assignments. What I did was I persisted daily to finish any task that required immediate attention. Sometimes, I have to do more than two assignments just so to meet the deadline. I tried to move fast so I would not get stuck on one project. Lastly, I sought the help of other people such as classmates and team members so we can all brainstorm and help each other. Because of these experiences, I have improved my communication and social skills. This was a big plus aside from learning time management since I used to struggle when communicating with others. It wasn’