Mirza Zainal, MA TESOL Studies student

Mirza Madihah Zainal

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I am from Malaysia and I used to work as an English teacher at an international school in Malaysia. I had my primary school education in Leeds and after that, I came back to Malaysia along with my family. I have a Bachelor Degree (BA) in English language studies from the National University of Malaysia (UKM). During my degree years, I had the opportunity to spend one full semester in Almaty, Kazakhstan as an exchange student.

I’m very passionate about the English language as it has lead me to various opportunities and I plan to expand my study in the future.

What motivated you to apply for your course at Leeds?

Leeds has always been a home to me. I wanted to find an English teaching course that wouldn’t require me to have a lot of teaching experience and MA TESOL Studies was the ideal course. I searched online on the school website and it provided with the understanding that the course would introduce me to teaching theory and there would be a specific course on micro-teaching. This really made me want to apply to Leeds University and it proofed to be a great choice.

What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study?

I’ve always wanted to be an English teacher and since my degree wasn’t focused on teaching, I had this eagerness to apply for an English teaching course. Being a teacher is a huge deal for me as I would like to join the movement of empowering young learners mind. Besides that, having this type of qualification would enable me to travel worldwide and help students from other countries in developing their English language. 

What do you think of your course so far?

I personally think my course is great and challenging at the same time. Since I am quite a newbie when it comes to teaching, it challenges me when I have to learn new theories about teaching language to foreign speakers like me. But through this, it really has opened up my mind about the various type of teaching theory around the world. When I first applied for the course, I was looking forward to Teaching Methodology since that class is where we had to create our own lesson and teach it in front of our classmates. After experiencing it myself, I really love it! My classmates are the best since they were really encouraging and we had a really fun time.

What would you say about the learning facilities?

The facilities are very good because when I needed help, there was always someone to support me throughout my studies at the university.  I could easily contact any support staff from the school and they would gladly help.

In terms of my studies, the university provides various type of references and support through the library website. It has helped me a lot to find many types of journal articles for my assignments. Besides that, the school itself has provided a specific room to use when students from the school of education need to find books for their studies.

How do you find the student support in the School?

I think it’s great since I could easily get any support from people in the school. My personal tutor and course tutor really helped me build up my confidence as they guided me with constructive comments regarding my assignments.

Have you been involved in any extra-curricular activities?

I think that there are many activities outside and inside of the university. I once joined my classmates celebrating Chinese New Year and it was held at the school of education. It was really fun since I managed to make a special good luck bracelet by myself with the help of a few Chinese students. They even explained why they had to wear red clothes during Chinese New Year. Besides that, I even joined the Leeds University women basketball club and met many new people and that was very nice.

What would you say about Leeds as a city?

Leeds is very charming. One of the reasons I applied to got to Leeds University was because I wanted to go to an area that would be very calm and away from the city life. Leeds was one of those places. The city is not very crowded and I could walk for hours around the city just to calm my mind. Leeds city also has these really good bookstores that I usually go to when I need to stock up my novel books.

What would you say to anyone thinking of applying to your course?

They should really consider the School of Education at the University of Leeds. Many international students choose to be in Leeds as they provide good education and carter the needs of their students. There are many things that you could explore here and school of education provides many types of opportunities that could suit your interest.

What do you plan to do once you’ve finished your course? 

I would like to go to various countries and provide support in teaching the English language. My main focus would be teaching young learners English and motivate them in terms of knowledge and education. Probably in the future, I would consider furthering my studies in a higher level but for now, it is a great passion of mine to help and aid students education around the world.

Any other comment you would like to make?

Thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout my studies in the School of Education, University of Leeds. With the support I received, it made a huge impact on my postgraduate studies.