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Building a Strong Foundation on the Path to University: Cathy’s Story

This article is sponsored by Flinders University Academy

A student’s journey to university and a successful career doesn’t always have to follow a straight line. Cathy’s sure didn’t.

The international student hailing from Vietnam knew she wanted to study abroad ever since she was a child. After she fell in love with Adelaide, Cathy chose the path less travelled and completed an eight-month International Foundation Studies Program at Flinders University Academy as a stepping stone before beginning her university degree. 

Choosing Flinders University Academy 

Cathy always aspired to see more of the world beyond Vietnam. After plenty of research, she landed on Adelaide as her destination of choice, thanks to the city’s reputation for an exceptional education environment, quality of learning and Australia’s breathtaking landscapes.

While looking for pathway programs, Cathy came across Flinders University Academy and its Foundation Studies Program. After further exploration and support from an education agent, she was given the opportunity to meet students on a short tour around campus on a trip to Australia in 2023. 

“During my trip to Adelaide last year, I had a chance to visit Flinders University and met some of the students and staff. My first impressions came from that experience, as well as feedback from the students about the friendliness and conscientiousness of the teachers and staff,” she shares.

Having already completed her year 11 studies, Cathy recognised the hurdles she could face as a student in a new city, country and environment, so she took the opportunity to fast-track her tertiary studies by enrolling in Flinders University Academy.

“I did acknowledge the challenges that a lot of international students encounter, especially in language and academic culture. That’s why I chose to switch my year 12 high school studies to the foundation program to be well-prepared for college [university],” Cathy says.

Choosing a pathway program

There are a number of reasons why you would choose to enrol in a pathway program. If you don’t meet your preferred degree’s entry requirements, are not confident with your English language skills or want to ease into university life, the International Foundation Studies Program could be right for you.

Offering 8 or 12-month courses, Cathy developed a passion for mathematics and numeracy to help bolster her knowledge in her chosen degree of computer science. Not only that, she also continued to improve her English and research skills. 

“Since I was not fully confident in my language skills, I had the opportunity to enhance my general English skills through lots of activities from in-class presentations to group investigation projects,” Cathy shares. “Additionally, I really enjoyed the Research and Study Skill class as it allowed me to enhance my abilities in conducting thorough research and effectively using references, which I had not previously experienced in high school.”

Cathy’s first-hand experience

Moving abroad is not an easy decision. For Cathy, her move from Vietnam to Australia was met with obstacles to overcome. However, choosing a pathway course gave her the confidence and practical skills to flourish in a new country.

“Since this is my first time studying and living far from my own country and family, I did experience a lot of difficulties. From the change in lifestyle, culture, and language, to a new and unfamiliar study environment. However, through the foundation studies course, I slowly started to get used to a new study environment, and I felt more confident and comfortable when communicating and working with other people in English without any language difficulties.”

Furthermore, the International Foundation Studies Program gave her the chance to build a strong knowledge base before she begins a bachelor’s degree in computer science. 

“If you are hesitant and concerned about moving to a new country and starting a new journey, or if you lack confidence in meeting the prerequisites to enter your chosen degree, both Flinders University Academy and the International Foundation Studies Program can help you with all aspects of your transition,” she concludes. 

Cathy’s story is a reminder to students considering the move overseas to stay open-minded and be flexible in how you get to your goals. Seeking alternate routes to your chosen degree can be an excellent choice for those like Cathy wanting to ease into a new environment while making the most of their time abroad.