International Foundation Programme | University of Edinburgh

Hear from Former Students

Former IFP student, Karlen, shares his experiences of the University of Edinburgh’s International Foundation Programme.

IFP student Karlen reading

Name: Karlen Gomtsyan 

What are you currently studying: Business Management, at the University of Edinburgh 2021/22

How did the IFP prepare you for undergraduate study at The University of Edinburgh?  

One of the best things is that whatever you want to study after the IFP, you can do courses in IFP which are related to your future major. Imagine you walk into university with some knowledge and understanding of the sphere you are going to study as an undergraduate - that's what the IFP can offer.

Personally, it helped me to improve my language skills and feel confident at lectures and tutorials.

What were your favourite aspects of the IFP? Any highlights?

The group work in the IFP was my favourite part - when you work together with peers to solve problems . It’s beneficial when the abilities of each member in the group all come together to achieve the best results. It is also a good way for networking and making friends on the programme.

Please explain how the support you received (either academic/personal or both) helped you complete the programme.

Academic support is not the only thing that you need during your university studies, personal support helps with your mental health and helps you get ready for the challenges of the course. I clearly remember getting support from Anya, that changed my whole IFP life. I'll never forget the way in which she motivated me to work hard and reach my goals.

I'll explain briefly what happened and how she helped me. At the beginning of my studies, everything seemed like it was going to be impossible - the possibility of passing the courses and proceeding to undergraduate studies seemed very far away! I was also struggling with my English which was making it even harder. The situation started to annoy me when the Philosophy course grades came out. I failed 2 of the weekly quizzes. The only thing I needed at that time was some personal support, but, of course, my family and friends were not around. I went to talk to my personal tutor Anya. Our talk wasn’t long but the words that Anya told me were wise and helpful. She said “ I believe in you, you can do it,” “ work hard for your goals”. These words helped me to overcome all the difficulties and barriers I had.

What made you decide to come to Edinburgh to take the IFP?

To be honest, I didn’t know much about IFP before coming to Edinburgh. That time the inspiration for me was the opportunity to study at one of the top universities in the world. And also, the IFP could provide me with an acceptable degree and competitive knowledge for studying at the University of Edinburgh.

How was the social aspect? Did you meet good friends?

The IFP program gave me an opportunity to meet peers from different countries and make lifelong friendships with them. The activities organised by IFP like group work and trips, helped me to know my classmates well, and meet people who share the same hobbies as me.

Also, the IFP students are free to join the University societies which is also a good way for networking and meet students already studying at the University of Edinburgh.

How did the teachers on the IFP help you to achieve your goals?

Teachers on the IFP gave me a lot of support and motivation to achieve my goals. Their patience and helpful character traits made me more self-confident and open with them. That type of relationship with the teachers made me talk to them much and discuss doubts I had from classes. Also, the way in which the materials were delivered made the class much easier to understand.

Did you feel safe in the city of Edinburgh during your time on the IFP?

The city of Edinburgh is considered to be the safest city in the United Kingdom. During my IFP studies, I used to stay at the university accommodation which was named Pollock Halls. I think it’s the best choice for students to stay as there is 24/7 monitoring on CCTV cameras and security staff who walk around the whole day.

What’s your favourite spot/thing to do in Edinburgh?

There are plenty of things to do in Edinburgh, but I enjoyed joining societies provided by the university. Currently, I'm part of a table tennis society, where we train three times a week and even play tournaments with other university societies. I also enjoy watching sports games with friends.