International Student Services (ISS)

U of A+ program kept me going throughout my UAlberta experience

By Fatima Mohamed, BComm 2019

Attending the U of A+ program helped me in a lot of ways during my undergraduate degree. I remember when I first moved to Edmonton, I was super excited about starting my new adventure as an international student, but I was also very anxious about the new environment and education system. I tried to read articles online and do my own research, but that only took me so far. It was only after I went through the U of A+ program that I was able to better prepare myself for what was yet to come.

One of the most beneficial aspects of the U of A+ program for me was the academic workshops, especially the workshops on communication, critical thinking, and academic writing. I had many classes in my first year that required group discussions, writing essays and other projects that I wasn’t very familiar with, so I was very grateful to learn those important skills by attending the U of A+ program.

My first English class at university was ENGL 123. I was particularly nervous about this class because I always studied English as a second language in school – not really through literature. We wrote a lot of papers and essays for this class – which was scary at first – but I felt the academic writing workshops at the U of A+ program, eased me into it. My first writing assignment was an annotated bibliography; you can imagine my shock when the Professor announced the due date of only one week later. I didn’t even know what an annotated bibliography was let alone how to write one!
I was nervous about doing well on my first writing assignment, so I kept going back to the tips I learned from the U of A+ program. I didn’t get an A or an A+ on my first paper, but I know I was much more prepared and familiar with the types of assignments UAlberta Profs request. The U of A+ program taught me, in particular, how to approach a writing assignment, as well the importance of visiting the Professor’s office for help. I also learned more tips on how to structure my essays and how to manage my time at university. I ended up using these tips throughout my entire university career, even down to my last semester!

The U of A+ program will always hold a special place in my heart. It was the first experience I ever had at university and it truly shaped who I am today. Whether it was the people I met, some of whom I am still friends with to this day, or the skills I learned during the program such as oral communication, time-management, and writing. There were many times I struggled in university assignments, but I always went back to review my notes – the U of A+ program kept me going!