Students Staff

Our students

Our students follow a wide variety of degree paths after leaving Essex Pathways Department. These profiles of our students give you an idea of how our courses helped them.

International Foundation Programme

  • Winnie Igbokwe, Nigeria

    Photo of Winnie Igbokwe, Essex Pathways Department graduate

    "I chose to study law at Essex because it has a good reputation for the subject and for helping international students settle in. For example, the Law Society Ball and Freshers’ Week in the first term, give students an opportunity to make friends soon after arriving.

    Staff within the Essex Pathways Department were fantastic at helping me settle in – I soon felt right at home, and the modules I studied provided me with a well-rounded foundation to undertake my degree with confidence."

    Winnie went on to study LLB Law.

  • Danni Zhu, China

    "I chose the International Foundation Programme as I wanted to study economics at Essex. I was attracted by the friendly appeal of the campus, and the unique accelerated route that would enable me to reach my academic goal. All my lecturers were knowledgeable and supportive, and I was continuously encouraged to apply my learning in practical situations. This enabled me to gain a better understanding and develop solid background knowledge for future study.

    Due to the small class sizes within the Essex Pathways Department, I received a high level of attention and support from my teachers – many of which I maintained contact with throughout my time at Essex.

    Danni went on to study BSc Economics.

Degrees with a foundation year (Year Zero)

  • Kasey Adu-Poku, London

    Photo of Kasey Adu-Poku, Essex Pathways Department student

    "My experience during my foundation year in Computer Science has been a blessing. I have studied Computer Science since I was 16; however I decided to take the route of the Essex Pathways Department because I wanted to improve my academic style of writing. I think if I had not taken a foundation year, I would have struggled to reach my full potential. Year 0 has enabled me to improve my academic writing skills, it has increased my confidence in public speaking and it has taught me the fundamental skills I need for my undergraduate degree.

    One thing that has helped me progress further throughout the year is the detailed marking and feedback on my assignments. The comprehensive feedback from my lecturers has helped me to improve in subsequent assignments and as a result I’ve reached the highest possible mark.

    I have made the most of the opportunities here at the University of Essex. I have joined the Residence Life team as a Residents’ Assistant, worked as an Applicant Day Ambassador for the Essex Pathways Department, and next year I will act as a Peer Mentor for the department too.

    My advice to you is whatever subject you choose to study, if you think that you will struggle at university then choose the Year 0 route in Essex Pathways. It is worth it and will make a difference to your degree."

    Kasey is completing his Year 0 and hopes to go into the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering starting in October 2017.

  • Maria Dede, Greece

    Photo of Maria Dede, Essex Pathways Department student
    Where did you study before?

    Originally I’m from Greece, and I went to University there for a while but I subsequently withdrew. I decided it wasn’t for me, so I chose to study in the UK as I could speak English and I wanted to experience a different education system.

    Why the University of Essex?

    When I was looking at universities I saw the University of Essex and it just clicked. Other universities were very competitive and encouraged their students to be competitive too, which didn’t interest me. I wanted to enjoy my studies and Essex was more than just studying, it was a community. I liked the idea of studying in an international community with people from all over the world.

    Why computer science?

    I knew I wanted to study something, and I knew I enjoyed computers, so I made my decision based on that. I think the more I get to know computers, and the more I learn about them, the more I enjoy the subject. The foundation year is definitely helping me achieve this. There was a lot I didn’t know before I started this course, and the foundation year is great for helping me build on my knowledge. I would definitely recommend this course to people who haven’t had a lot of contact with programming languages.

    Why did you decide to do a foundation year?

    I wasn’t completely sure that I wanted to study Computer Science, or another related subject. I knew that there were many Computer pathways in the Essex Pathways Department, so I knew I would have the flexibility to change my course after the foundation year if I wanted to.

    How has the department helped you to adapt to the UK education system?

    The department has helped me to feel very comfortable whilst I study. The Academic Skills module in particular has helped me to come out of my shell. I was very shy before but Academic Skills has helped me to develop and feel more confident.

    How have you found the staff in the department?

    Everyone I’ve met is great; I can’t say anything bad about anyone. If you need help with anything you can speak to the academics.

    What is your favourite thing about your course?

    I like that I have time to do my projects, whilst also exploring other interests at the University. I know this may change next year, but for now I have been able to take things a bit slower.

    How has your course helped you to prepare for your first year of study?

    I definitely know more about computers now than I did before. Because we have already begun to study things we will cover again next year, our first year will be easier for us and less of a jump compared to other first year students. I think this will give me confidence and allow me to achieve good marks, which will motivate me to continue getting good marks.

    What has been your favourite module?

    It’s between Computer Programing and Academic Skills. I like programming because there is logic behind it, and when you solve a problem it’s rewarding. But I think Academic Skills is one of my favourite modules because of how it has helped me become more confident. We also get to talk openly with our teachers and have interesting discussions about the subject.

    What is your favourite thing about Essex?

    There are so many things to do here on campus, and lots of societies you can join. I’m glad that I am away from home and I can find my own path and live independently. Everyone is very accepting of others and it feels like everyone wants to help.

    What advice would you give to someone considering the foundation year?

    I would tell them to consider their choice carefully, to make sure the foundation year is the best option for them. If you want to take things a bit slower, or if you are new to the subject, or if you have taken a break from education and you’re not used to studying, then I would recommend the foundation year.

    Maria is completing her Year 0 and hopes to go into the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering starting in October 2017.

  • Connor Buckley, Norwich

    "Unfortunately I didn’t get the A-level grades I needed to start in first year, so I decided to take the foundation year route to increase my subject knowledge and improve my academic skills.

    I wanted to study at the University of Essex because it is close to home, it is a great choice for Mathematics, and the foundation year here would help me to progress into the Department of Mathematical Sciences.

    Essex Pathways has introduced me to areas I knew nothing about before. It's given me a good understanding of subjects that are closely linked to my degree, such as Economics and Computer Programming, as well as Mathematics.

    To achieve the best possible grades, I'd recommend practising the material you are taught and ask questions. It’s important to not be over confident and to use the time wisely. If you make the most of this year, it will make the rest of your degree much more manageable by improving your academic abilities."

    Connor is completing his Year 0 and hopes to go into the Department of Mathematical Sciences in October 2017.

  • Vinnosh Jaya Kumur, Malaysia

    Photo of Vinnosh Jaya Kumur, Essex Pathways Department student

    "I was researching universities in the UK after finishing my A-Levels, and had difficulty finding many courses that catered to the needs of a student who did not have exposure to legal subjects or courses, prior to attending university. Finding Essex Pathways was a relief- the foundation year was a perfect fit for me as it allowed me enough time to settle in the UK and adapt to the academic expectations from a university-level student.

    The best part of being in the foundation year is that it gives an indication to what studying law is going to be like. The constant support from my lecturers and the amazing friends that I made only made me realise how passionate I was in pursuing the fine art of law. I am confident in my ability to do assignments and coursework in my first year, because I have already had exposure to the methods and techniques required to write essays and answer problem-solving questions. My final advice to those contemplating a foundation year is to go for it."

    Vinnosh is completing his Year 0 and hopes to go into the School of Law starting in October 2017.

  • Tryphena Darko Owusu, Hertfordshire

    Photo of Tryphena Darko Owusu, Essex Pathways Department student

    "The University of Essex has an excellent reputation for the teaching of Politics- my chosen area of study, and this attracted me to the University. On my first day I was a bit anxious as it was a new experience, however the welcome message from the University touched my heart, so much so that I now see Essex as a home away from home.

    Each lecturer has a unique style of teaching, but they all ensure we understand the topic before they move on. Lecturers also encourage us to utilise academic support hours, for students to have a one-on-one discussion with the lecturer about topics they might be struggling to understand.

    I particularly enjoyed the events organised by the department’s Project Worker. These events were helpful for socialising, especially when I first arrived at the University. They created a friendly atmosphere for students from different backgrounds and pathways to easily get to know each other.

    My time in the Essex Pathways Department has been both informational and experiential, and I have learnt the academic skills needed to help me achieve good grades in my future studies."

    Tryphena is completing her Year 0 and hopes to go into the Department of Government to study BA International Relations starting in October 2017.

  • Sofia Bounahai, Morocco

    Photo of Sofia Bounahai, Essex Pathways Department graduate

    "My experience as a student at Essex has been extremely rewarding and at so many levels. Essex was my firm first choice. Instead of applying for direct entry to the Bachelor of Science in Economics, I expressed interest in the foundation year course. In retrospect, I think that was a wise course of action. The foundation year at the Essex Pathways Department allowed me to adapt fairly quickly to the British system of education and acquire the academic skills necessary to complete subsequent tasks successfully. It also gave me a first-hand exposure to various aspects of Economics, statistics and Mathematics and allowed me to transfer knowledge acquired in my mother tongue into English and thus proceed confidently towards my academic goals."

    Sofia is completed her BSc International Economics in July 2014, then went onto study for her Masters degree MSc Economics and is now researching a PhD in Economics.