How much energy is there in a peanut (and other snacks)?

The students at the Leicester ISC were tasked to find out by performing a calorimetry experiment in the Chemistry labs, University of Leicester.

Leicester ISCLeicester ISCLeicester ISCLeicester ISCLeicester ISCFor information on studying at the University of Leicester International Study Centre, please visit the website.

7 Reasons to Study in the UK

By the Study Group University Fair

Choosing to study in another country can be a daunting prospect, but a brave one too. Here at the Study Group University Fair, we think you should study abroad and we think the UK should be your first choice.  Here are our top 10 reasons why the UK is one of the best places in the world to receive your education.

1.    Arts and Culture: as a student in the UK, new experiences will be just around the corner. Museums and art galleries will be on your doorstep and you can make the most of the vibrant music scene.
2.    British culture has been very influential on the world. Some of our brightest stars of the last century include The Beatles, J.K. Rowling, Kate Moss, Adele, and Damien Hirst to name a few.
3.    Britain has a fascinating and complex history and people from all over the world come to visit our iconic historical sites.
4.    In the UK, we’ve contributed more than our fair share to the scientific world and, as a student here, you can expect university faculty to be leaders in this field, producing some ground breaking research.
5.    Studying in the UK puts you at the heart of one of the world’s best education systems. Our universities are both innovative and dynamic providing stimulating and challenging environments in which to learn.
6.    88% of UK graduates were in work or further study within 6 months after graduation (HESA).
7.    Britain is a diverse and multicultural nation that welcomes people from all over the world. We are sure you will enjoy interacting with many international students while immersing yourself completely in British life.

The Study Group University Fair is here to help you make that decision to study in the UK. It is completely free to attend and we will have expert advisers to talk to you about what life is like living here and how to prepare for your arrival, so that taking that brave step to move to Britain is made as easy as possible for you.

Join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter and let us know what excites you about learning in Britain!

The Study Group University Fair is the No.1 university fair for international students. The University of Leicester International Study Centre will be there, along with over 75 other highly ranked UK universities.  It will take place on the 9th February at the Park Plaza Victoria Hotel in London, from 12-4pm. Visit the website for more information and details on how to register.

Studying in the UK: To Explore the UK with Passion

It has been reported that one of every ten international students from all over the world studies in the UK. In recent years, international students from China do not restrict themselves to certain sought-after subjects, such as Business, Computer Science, Engineering and so on when they study abroad. Humanities and Social Science, including Art, Design, and Media etc. are increasingly popular for Chinese students. But those who are doing Science are still in the minority today. Louis Lin, who graduated from Leicester ISC this summer, is one of the minority. Why this Chinese girl want to travel alone and study Biochemistry in the UK? With such a question, I interviewed Louis, who is from Zhongshan, Guangdong, China.

Louis just finished her foundation year in Leicester ISC this summer and she will progress onto University of Leicester for doing Biochemistry in this September. “Chasing my dream no matter how hard it is” is what she wrote in her personal message in QQ (MSN-like service). Through Louis’s sharing, I hope her enthusiasm and persistence could inspire those who want to study in the UK.

Boring or Fun?
When Louis was doing Science route in her foundation year, she had to take Biology and Chemistry modules. “Studying Biology and Chemistry in China, you will get a broad idea without discussion in depth. However, here, the teachers emphasise understanding in depth. When the teacher explains one concept in detail, you are learning something new,” she said.
Study skills are not only being trained in certain module, but also in academic subjects. The most favorite part of studying science in Leicester ISC for Louis is, “the teacher would ask us to complete a self-study project on a topic, sort of diseases, surgeries and so on. We need to study on it in depth and then make a poster and do a presentation for it. Our research skills, such as research methods, gathering, critical thinking, analysing etc. have been gradually developed and improved through this project. All these research skills will be very useful for our degree courses.”
It was the first time for her to do this kind of assignments, so she could not image herself can make it as a new student in the beginning. However, with the great help from tutors, Louis finally did a good job. Her friends who study in universities in China were surprised at her such huge improvement on her English and skills in such a short period of time when she shared her posters and good results online.

Louis won a bottle of sweeties in the celebration of Diamond Jubilee

Louis won a bottle of sweeties in the celebration of Diamond Jubilee

So how about your classes? Louis frankly said, “Science students might feel a bit bored in classes because everyone is concentrated on note-taking and discusses professional questions.” Although what the Science students have to learn is serious and intellectual, ISC teachers try their best to make their students have fun in the classes.
“I remember that when we were learning PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction), our teacher played a video. The video shows the process and application of PCR in a humor way so we can remember the concepts more easily. Also, their lyric is quite simple so we can sing along with it. When we were singing along with the video, students from other routes were surprised and watched us through the windows because our classroom usually was very quiet,” she said. Furthermore, ISC teachers are not only good at helping student to study happily, but also good at motivating student to study science. Louis added, “As a gift for excellent students, we had an opportunity to visit the Science Museum in London together with our teachers in a weekend.” She felt honor to be one of the excellent students and join into the day trip.
As a foundation year Science student, of course, Louis could have classes in the lab. There were many different experiments she tried, such as burning crisps for calculating calorie, dissecting animal’s heart for studying and so on. But the most impressive one was DNA extraction. She extracted her DNA and then made it for a necklace. In Louis’s perspective, doing experiment in the lab is the most interesting part in doing science courses.

Louis's DNA necklace

Louis’s DNA necklace

Though sciences might be very boring for others, Louis enjoys it and has fun in it. Even though I am not interested in sciences, I was quite enjoying in listening her interesting sharing. And you can tell how much does Louis love and enjoy what she was doing.

Leicester ISC Teachers
Louis mentioned Leicester ISC teachers many times during the interview. She thinks they are very nice and knowledgeable. When Louis arrived at University of Leicester, she did not know how to go to ISC building from her accommodation. So she had to spend a longer time than she expected to arrive at ISC building. Unfortunately, there were some admission tests being held at that day and she missed the Math one as she was late.
“I was very worry and upset at that time. It was the first test in Leicester ISC but I messed it up”, Louis said. She was frustrated by this missing test. So some ISC teachers over there attempted to comfort her. They explained that the admission tests were used to test the students’ levels only and the results of admission tests would not affect her results of her foundation year. However, Louis was still feeling down, so ISC teachers decided to specifically give her a makeup test. There would be makeup tests for all students who need it during the term time, but ISC teachers particularly held a personal one for cheering her up. Therefore, Louis was deeply moved by what those ISC teachers have done and she would never forget it.

University of Leicester campus

University of Leicester campus

What’s more, Leicester ISC teachers represent a longing for the future to students. “Our tutor graduated from University of Leicester with a PhD degree and she was doing Biochemistry as well. During the classes, she would share her studying experiences when she was doing PhD degree. So we are looking forward to be someone like her in the future. We have a longing for being excellent in our studies like her.” As a student who is going to study Biochemistry at University of Leicester, I believe Louis is approaching the future which she is looking forward to.

To Choose the Most Appropriate one
Why Louis wanted to study abroad? She said that she did not get a good result in Gaokao so that she had to study a subject she does not like. Thus, for doing something she is interested in, she decided to study abroad and study the subjects she likes. There were many universities Louis could apply for, including some universities which have higher rankings than Leicester. Finally, she chose University of Leicester.
“First of all, the higher ranking means there will be a fiercer competition than others. I’m not confident enough to perform very well in such fierce competition. More importantly, from the first step, I decide to study Biology or related subjects. Biology is one of the top subjects at University of Leicester. And Leicester also has a good university ranking,” Louis explained why she chose Leicester.
According to the latest Times university ranking, University of Leicester is ranked No. 17 and always being the top 20 university in the UK as well. Additionally, Leicester is also famous for its high     quality, innovative and world-changing research and remarkable results. For example, the technique of genetic fingerprinting was discovered by Professor Sir Alec Jefferys in a lab at the University of Leicester. Interestingly, Louis met one of the members in the research team of genetic fingerprinting at school. She thinks it is amazing that you can meet someone you found in the books in the real world.

Louis enjoys her life in Leicester

Louis enjoys her life in Leicester

Compared with the pressures of Gaokao, studying in foundation year was easier and more relaxing for Louis. So she prefers to travel to other cities when she is in the weekend and holidays. “The cost of living in Leicester is not very expensive and train tickets are not expensive as well. So we always travel around in the UK”, she said. Louis enjoys traveling. She has been here less than one year, but she already visited a large number of cities, such as Liverpool, Manchester, Oxford and so on. She explores and experiences the local
life and cultures through her travels.
Obviously, Louis did not choose the university with the highest ranking, but she chose the university which is the most appropriate for her.

“Chasing my dream no matter how hard it is.” Louis found her dream in Leicester ISC and work hard to achieve it. It shows that when international students apply their university and courses, ranking and trend are not the most important. To study the subjects you are really interested in is the most important. It will be worth to spend your money and time on something you have a passion for it when you study abroad.

Hoang Nguyet Minh Vu: Scholarship Winner

Congratulations to our very own blogger, Hoang Nguyet Minh Vu, who was recently awarded a High Achievers Scholarship by the University of Leicester. Here she talks about her experience in winning the award.

Hoang Nguyet Minh VU

Hoang Nguyet Minh VU

I heard about the High Achiever’s Award since the beginning of my course at the ISC. That was so appealing to me. However, honestly, I did not think about getting that award at first. It was really competitive. Only after the first term, when I received results for the final exam, was I more confident and hopeful to achieve the award.

The high mark that I got at the final exam of the first term was the motivation and encouragement for me to make more effort in my study. I started with making key notes of the lessons after school. I found that quite helpful because I could learn one more time and also save revision time for exams. Especially for Economics, as it would be my major in university, I did not only make notes after each lesson, but I also read other A-level books as reference. And so lucky my teacher always posted teaching material on blackboard before lessons so I usually went through it beforehand in order to grasp new knowledge better.  Having a good plan for study as well as for exam was my tip to obtain good marks. Each time I came for exam period, I spent at least a week for revision and arranged appropriate time for each subject. Moreover, past papers have always proved effective to me. I often did them over and over again for several times to make sure I really understood the lessons. Last but not least, I did believe patience played an important role in the “somehow success” I have achieved. I did not let difficulties put me off but tried to get over them gradually.
Now I got the award. That was a very meaningful present to me. It was the recognition of my effort and all of my teachers’ dedication to us – students at the ISC. I am deeply thankful to my teachers who guided me through every single step during my foundation year at the ISC, as well as the ISC in general for giving me this award. This used to be the motivation for me to try hard and now it acts as a great support during my undergraduate study at the University of Leicester. I will now regard the award as an important turning point that I have attained, so that I will study and work better in the future to prove that I deserved it.

For more information about studying at the University of Leicester ISC, please visit the website.

University of Leicester’s Recognition to our High Achievers

Hoang Nguyet Minh VU

Hoang Nguyet Minh VU

Four University of Leicester International Study Centre (ISC) students have been awarded the University’s High Achiever Scholarships. Each competitive scholarship is worth £2500 per year of the undergraduate degree programme and is awarded to the top performing students at the ISC.

TAM Yi Ling from Hong Kong is progressing to read BSc Biological Sciences (Biochemistry), within the School of Biological Sciences, ranked top 5 in the country by the 2013 Guardian.

YIP Kin Tung from Hong Kong will be studying BEng Mechanical Engineering within the Department of Engineering, ranked top 10 in the UK by the Guardian 2013.

VU Hoang Nguyet Minh from Vietnam will be reading BA Banking and Finance in the department of Economics, and HO Jia Yi from Singapore will be pursuing LLB. Both academic departments are consistently ranked amongst the best in the country in the National Student Survey.

VU Hoang Nguyet Minh (pictured) was thrilled to receive her award, “My foundation year at the ISC was an enjoyable experience. At first I suffered a bit from “culture shock” as the learning environment here is quite different from that in my country. Yet what impressed me the most was my dedicated teachers at the ISC. They were careful in delivering the lessons and so willing to assist us when we encountered problems in doing our assignment or coursework.
I am very happy with the High Achiever Award. This used to be the motivation for me to make every effort in my study at the ISC.”

James Kingscote, Head of Centre of University of Leicester ISC stated, ‘We have a number of excellent students here at the University of Leicester ISC and I would like to congratulate our High Achievers on their fantastic achievements over the last academic year (2011-2012).  The success of these students is a reflection of their hard work, determination and commitment to their studies on a very academically demanding course.   I wish them all the best in their future studies at the University of Leicester and hope that they will return to the ISC for some of our events and inspire our new students.’
A formal scholarship presentation ceremony will be held at the University in October to celebrate this fantastic recognition of our students.

For more information on studying at the University of Leicester International Study Centre, please visit the website.


New forensic institute at the University of Leicester will help police forces solve ‘unusual crimes’

New Forensic Science Institute named after DNA fingerprinting pioneer Alec Jeffreys

The University of Leicester is establishing a new forensic science Institute which aims to help UK police forces solve unconventional crimes.

The Alec Jeffreys Forensic Science Institute is a new multi-disciplinary centre at the University of Leicester which aims to help police forces with some of the requests handled by the former Forensic Science Service (FSS).

The new Institute aims to be a leader, innovator and agenda setter in the field of forensic science and is named after the world renowned University of Leicester scientist Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys, of the University’s Department of Genetics, who pioneered techniques for DNA profiling and fingerprinting which are now used globally by police forces.

Professor Jeffreys said: “This is a very exciting new initiative, and I am so proud to have it named after me. The provision of forensic science in the UK has undergone major and potentially damaging changes in recent years, so this Institute has real potential to provide much-needed breadth and depth of expertise, especially in complex casework, as well as a voice for the proper funding of forensic science research in the UK”.

The Institute will initially involve the departments of Chemistry, Criminology, Engineering, Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine and will involve local and national police agencies in its running.

The project has been undertaken by Dr John Bond, a senior lecturer in Forensic Sciences in the Department of Chemistry who was awarded an OBE last year for his services to forensic science, and Dr Lisa Smith, a lecturer in the Department of Criminology. Dr Bond’s work on Visualizing Fingerprint Corrosion of Metal was voted one of the top 50 inventions of 2008 by Time Magazine and one of the inventions most likely to change the world in 2009 by BBC Focus Magazine

Dr Bond said: “The time is now right for forensic science research in the UK to be put on a sounder footing, with proper funding streams provided by the UK research councils so that institutions such as the University of Leicester can undertake meaningful and productive research to enhance the use of forensic science to detect crime both in the UK and overseas.

“We aim to provide a forum whereby problems in policing can be aired and ways found to overcome them.  We will do this by involving local and national agencies in the running of the Institute and by focussing on problem areas identified to us by the police service.”

The ways in which forensic work is carried out is currently going through a period of change, with much work now contracted out to private companies – but staff at the University of Leicester hope the new Institute will be able to help police forces with unusual requests.

Dr Bond said: “What we do want to offer is the ability to consult on unusual cases or pieces of evidence. A recent example was a request made to the University to oversee the analysis of evidence from a 80-year-old murder case as the University was seen to have specific skills in that area.”

Dr Smith said: “This new Institute is unique in its multidisciplinary approach to forensic science and criminal justice services.  By bringing together the various disciplines at the University (who traditionally work separately from one another), we will be able to provide the Criminal Justice System with a wider range of expert consultancy, research and innovation, teaching and continuing professional development.”

It is hoped existing forensic science courses, including the new distance learning MSc in Forensic Science and Criminal Justice, will be run from the new Institute.

The institute will be formally launched at the University on Monday 19 November in the presence of the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Robert Burgess and Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys.
Source: The University of Leicester Press Office

Students that take the International Foundation Year at the University of Leicester International Study Centre can progress on to undergraduate degrees including Chemistry, Criminology, Engineering, Genetics, and Biological Sciences. For more information, please visit the website.

Jubilee Celebrations

Jubilee PartyUniversity of Leicester ISC joined in the Jubilee Celebration today with food, music, raffles and an auction!

Teachers Phil Stiles and Richard Day entertained students and staff to some music, playing their guitar and Ukulele. ISC students could not help but join in with the singing. There is so much talent here.

Head of Centre, James Kingscote, became auctioneer for the afternoon. Some fabulous and amusing donations from staff for the auction such as tickets to the theatre, hair cut at a top Saloon, hand-made cards to essentials such as plate and cooking utensils, all went at amazing prices, helping us raise £180 for Building Futures.

For information on studying at the University of Leicester International Study Centre, visit the website.

London 2012 Olympics: New technology will be used to measure impact of extra traffic on pollution levels in the city

University of Leicester research announced as part of Universities Week campaign.

University of Leicester researchers are set to use new technology they have developed to monitor the impact of increased traffic on pollution levels in London during the Olympics.

The announcement has been made during the third annual Universities Week campaign –starting today (Monday April 30)- which aims to increase public awareness of the wide and varied role of the UK’s universities. This year’s campaign will look at the contribution that our universities make – and have always made – to the Olympic movement, the sports industry and society as whole.

The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are expected to draw 11m visitors from around the world to the UK’s capital for seven weeks, and 3m extra car journeys are anticipated on the busiest day.

The team of researchers will use their CityScan technology, which gathers scattered sunlight to scan whole cities and take readings of air quality, to investigate the impact of this extra traffic on pollution.

Rather than existing technology, which can only give an accurate reading for certain “hotspots,” CityScan can show the air quality over every point of the city – including individual roads, playgrounds and other buildings.

It will also reveal the days and times when pollution levels are at their highest.

Sensors will be set up on a 30-storey building in North Kensington and a 14-storey building in Chelsea, in the west of the city, as well as a third location which is yet be determined.

The sensors will give readings of nitrogen dioxide, which is produced from traffic emissions and can decrease lung function and increase the risk from respiratory illnesses, including bronchitis and asthma.

Team leader Dr Roland Leigh, of the university’s Earth Observation Science Group, said: “We will be able to map the pollution in 3D to show emissions of nitrogen dioxide and how far they spread.”

“Traditional sensors take in a single point measurement, giving a very accurate measurement that might be by a roadside.

“Between two or three CityScan instruments, we can map out a complete urban area and tell you where the nitrogen dioxide is in that space.”

“CityScan makes the link between emissions and poor air quality downwind, enabling better management of the respiratory health of sensitive individuals.”

“We want to make a practical difference, and contribute to systems which inform people when and where poor air-quality may occur.

The technology is already being tested in Leicester, and the scientists hope their findings will help councils all around the country improve environmental planning and traffic management issues.

Universities Week 2012 follows a successful campaign in 2011, which saw 110 universities and 52 renowned ambassadors take part in showcasing the work of the higher education sector.

This year the week looks to be an even bigger success with a series of high profile ambassadors including Seb Coe, John Inverdale and Dame Kelly Holmes helping to highlight how universities benefit everyone, whether or not they have been to university themselves. Hear what the ambassadors have to say at:

From University of Leicester Press Office.

To find out which science programmes are on offer at the University of Leicester ISC, or to find out more about studying at a top UK University in this momentous year in British sporting history, please visit the website.