‘Please Can I have some support with my English language writing skills?’
‘I don’t know where to start with writing my assignment, could someone help me?’
‘Will there be someone to advise me on how to structure my essay?’
‘Is there guidance available on referencing?’
‘I need to demonstrate ‘critical analysis’ in my writing – please can someone teach me how to do this?’
The answer to all of these questions is YES!
Language was one of the first barriers I faced when I came to study at Cardiff Met, because English is not my first language. At the beginning I thought that essay writing would be easy and I could manage to do it. I was overconfident with my writing skills. Unfortunately, I was wrong and I found that academic writing is different than my usual writing style. It was my first month in the university when I received the first assignment task. I did not know how to begin so, for the first few days I was generating ideas for the essay and I was concerned that it could result in a fail. I will never forget my feelings during that period of time and the stress I went through. However it was a good start for me as I realised that I needed to learn more about academic skills, especially writing.
I arranged a meeting with Louise Macphail, English language and study skills tutor from the International Office, who helps international students with their writing skills. She went with me through the task and she showed me how to break the question into multiple parts and she asked me to write the first draft according to the ideas that we discussed. I went back to my laptop and started to write. I arranged another appointment with Louise a week later to revise my work. She found that my writing style needed to be improved a little bit and she helped me to correct my grammar and vocabulary.
The meetings helped me to understand how to plan for my assignments, how to research and what I need to consider when I am writing any assignment. I also learned the difference between essay and report writing. All the knowledge I gained will help me in the future. I learned from what happened and I achieved better grades in my following assignments where I succeeded to get A- and B-, without any negative comments on my writing style.
Mohamed Al-Husaini, international student from Oman studying