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Sameerah Almalki was a student on the Graduate Diploma course in 2014/2015.

Sameerah came on to the Graduate Diploma after completing our Pre-Foundation English course, so we all had a bit of extra time to get to know her. And what a privilege that was.

To see how well Sameerah has done is an honour. She really embraced academic study and worked so hard – both on her EAP and on her fascinating research project about academic writing. As the writing teacher, a lot of Sameerah’s research helped me to improve my own teaching! I think that is a real testament to the excellent work that she did while with us in DIFC.

Before Christmas, Sameerah came in to visit everyone at DIFC. She was a guest at our awards ceremony as she received the award for Outstanding Achievement in Research Methods. While she was visiting, she took the chance to chat to the Graduate Diploma class of 2015/2016 and impressed them as much as she impressed us. I also took the chance to ask her a few questions about how she is getting on now she is studying her Masters, which she was kind enough to answer.


Where are you studying now? How are your studies going?

I am studying Environmental Analytical Chemistry at University College Cork (UCC). I am trying to do as well as I can.


What difficulties have you faced in University?

Dealing with my Irish partners in the laboratory work was the most and first difficulty I met here – they were a bit quiet and their accent was not clear for me. The level, questions and speed of doing the work were different from mine which put pressure on me to deal with but after a while I changed the group and the lab work got better for me. Another thing is that most of the lectures are not put in the Blackboard before the lectures, so I could not have a look at the content in advance which made it difficult to catch up during the classes.


Why did you decide to study on the Graduate Diploma programme?

I decided that because I was not confident enough regarding my English and the Graduate Diploma programme offered me a proper education prior to starting the University as well as a placement in the University with no need to fight with the IELTS which would only improve my English with no additional academic skills to learn. Also it was recommended by a friend who had already done that program, she told me about some teachers there who I wouldn’t regret working with.


What did you enjoy and what did you find difficult on the course?

I enjoyed the English for Academic Purposes classes very much specially the reading. Life Science classes was difficult for me because I did not have the habit to read about the topics to understand the classes but when we did the listening assignments and had to read and that made the classes more understandable.


Can you tell us a little bit about your research project?

It was titled as ‘The experience of International students in Ireland regarding academic writing’. I chose it as I am interested in English and it was a chance to find out how my peers deal with this challenging task (writing in English as a non-native) and to help me finish up my project as I will be reading and working with writing and so applying what I am finding out on my own project. At the start, my project was about writing but when reached the results and conclusion I found it more about reading. In another word: if you are a good reader, you are a good writer.


Do you think that your time in DIFC was helpful?

Yes, definitely.


Do you have any advice for current DIFC students?

Do not waste your time waiting for help, find it. The other thing is read, find out from current students, do all what you can to be aware enough about your next year course. And finally, enjoy Graduate Diploma course and all the best wishes to you all.

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