International Students - Case Histories
For International Foundation Programme student testimonials, please click here.
Adam - Malaysia
Adam joined MPW from Malaysia for 18-month A level courses in Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics. He achieved grades A*AA and won a place to read Chemical Engineering at University College London. Adam says:
I knew I wanted to come to the UK for my A levels and I chose MPW because of its location. Before MPW I was at a boarding school where everything was very strict and scheduled. I learn much better when I am managing my own time and so I really like the free periods at MPW that you can use for self-study. The teachers here have really helped ignite my passion for the subjects I am studying by teaching things outside of the syllabus, which has also helped with my personal statement. MPW has provided a great exposure to a new culture. I think the system here is better than the Malaysian education system: the class sizes are much smaller and the schedules are better managed. I was nervous about coming at first but now I am really happy and I have made friends through my lessons and through where I live.
Brandon - United States
Having moved from the US for one year, Brandon came to MPW Cambridge to complete an intensive one-year A level course and apply for an undergraduate degree in Linguistics.
I expected MPW to be a rigorous college that would prepare me well for university and help me to achieve good marks on my A Level. I believe that the college has accomplished this completely. The staff at MPW have been incredibly kind and supportive, and their level of academic expertise has been immeasurably helpful in furthering my academic career. I have seen my understanding of classical literature, my comprehension of spoken Spanish, and my knowledge of how language and society interact all skyrocket during my studies here.
I had a fantastic PT to work with, who was with me every step of the way during my university application process, and I will be eternally grateful for that guidance, especially in a country in which I have never lived before.I think my most memorable experience at MPW would be meeting my now best friend who has completely changed my outlook on life and the world. I would not be the person that I am today if it weren't for her, and I owe MPW for bringing us together.
Having achieved A level grades of A*AA in Spanish Language, classical Civilization and English Language, Brandon is now progressing to read Linguistics at Edinburgh University.
Anna - Poland
Completely new to UK A levels, Anna has greatly enjoyed her studies at MPW Cambridge. Comparing her studies in Poland and MPW Cambridge Anna shares her experience:
I must admit that at first I was a little worried. My main concern was not only the language barrier, but also how to cope with the new environment and teaching methods. Just the first few days at MPW were enough to convince me that this is the best learning environment that can ever be provided for a student. There is nothing more encouraging for my independent learning than my teachers’ involvement and attention they pay for each individual student in class.
The brightest memory I’ll take with me is International Evening at MPW – I enjoyed Chinese calligraphy and international quizzes.
What I enjoyed most in my lessons is the way we discussed problems in class and the fact that even the silliest question will be answered. Moreover, I was taught not only the subject specification, but also how to learn properly, revise efficiently and target exam questions which was undoubtedly very helpful.
I am sure, that without the support from my Personal Tutor my UCAS application would not be as successful as it was. As an international student I have never came across UCAS, Personal Statement, university interview preparation. I was fortunate to be selected for an interview with Cambridge University – I will never forget this experience.
In my previous school in Poland I have never been the strongest student, but always an average one. At MPW I was able to achieve the best grades I possibly could and secure a place at my firm choice.
Having achieved A level grades of AAA in Chemistry, Biology and Maths, Anna is now progressing to study Genetics at KCL.
Ellie - Hong Kong
Ellie came to MPW for one-year A level courses in English Literture, History of Art and Chemistry which she completed with great success. She achieved grades A*A*A and won a place to read English at University College London. Ellie says:
I found MPW to be a busy, intellectually fulfilling place. Everyone is very focused towards helping students achieve their goals. The teachers are so supportive and committed, and the school offers so many resources, making it easy for us to do well. I think there is an effective blend of close guidance academically and much room for independence otherwise.
London reminds me of Hong Kong in its vibrancy - only that it is much bigger. It is such a diverse, incredible place; there is something for everyone and I found places to pursue my most eclectic of interests. Even just within the South Kensington neighbourhood, there is the V&A, the Royal Albert Hall and the Natural History Museum.
Zane - Latvia
Zane joined MPW from Latvia for two-year A level courses in Biology, Chemistry and Maths alongside an AS in Religious Studies. She achieved grades A*AA and won a place to read Medicine at Queen’s University Belfast. Zane says:
I was purposefully looking for colleges that would help me get into Medicine and chose MPW because of the help with UCAS applications and interviews. From the first year they really involved me in getting ready for the process, I think it has paid off. The teaching is great and the lessons are really high quality. I was surprised the first time I came here because the whole teacher/ student relationship is so different to what I was used to. In my old school, we were supposed to stand up when a teacher walked in and say hello properly but here it’s a relaxed kind of atmosphere. It’s really nice as it makes it easier to ask question, there’s no reservation or awkwardness. I’ve realised so much more of my potential, the teachers saw I could do more and challenged me some more. If you’ve got a clear goal, it’s definitely the school to come to because there are so many highly qualified people who can help you achieve it.
Kriztee - Malaysia
Kriztee joined MPW for an 18- month A level programme which she completed with great success.
I can say that MPW Cambridge has allowed me to thrive academically. I could always rely on my Personal Tutor who was very supportive. Small classes and personalised teaching have helped to identify my academic strengths and weakness.
At MPW teachers respect you and treat you as an individual. They encouraged me to perform to the best of my abilities and to not be afraid to express my opinion. My lessons were fun and I particularly enjoyed class discussions which have helped to build my confidence.
There is a good mix of UK and international students. The college atmosphere is very friendly and students here are open-minded. The whole experience and life skills I gained at MPW are fantastic.
Having achieved A level grades of A*AA in Economics, Politics and Mathematics, Kriztee has secured a place to read Accounting and Finance at Warwick University.
Emily - China
Emily joined MPW from China for two-year A level courses in Economics, Geography, Maths and Further Maths. She achieved grades A*A*A*B and won a place to read Mathematics with Economics at UCL. Emily says:
The teaching has been very helpful throughout my two years at MPW. The UCAS week at the end of the AS year gave us a general idea of university applications as well – and we also got lots of help on completing them in personal meetings with our Directors of Studies. MPW met all of my expectations. My Economics tutor has been fantastic, for example he taught us the Economics in the textbook and also applied it to real-life. It allowed us to evaluate the subject and understand it more deeply and I found I had a real interest in Economics.
Esther - Singapore
Esther joined MPW from Singapore for one-year A level courses. She achieved grades A*A*A* in Economics, Politics and Mathematics alongside a B in AS level Chemistry. Esther won a place to read Law at UCL. Esther says:
I really wanted to apply to read Law at university and chose to do my A levels at MPW because I had heard good reviews from friends who came here about the teaching and the UCAS support. I really like the teachers here, they are so passionate. I never used to like Maths but now it is one of my favourite subjects – our teacher is great and instead of relying on textbooks he comes up with relevant examples for us to practise and makes it interesting. In my Politics class we all get on really well and we work as a team to make the most of our time on such an intensive course. We decide on extra work amongst ourselves and prepare model essays. Our teacher is always happy to mark anything extra and then we share all the work between us and learn from it together. My Director of Studies has a legal background so she was very helpful with my university application. She lent me her own LNAT book [for the university entrance tests in Law], arranged tutoring for the tests and was really reassuring while I was nervously waiting for my offers.
Zahan - India
Zahan’s goal at MPW Cambridge was to achieve a good set of GCSE grades in a single year. Zahan says:
The school vibe was fantastic! My GCSE lessons were fun and never boring. Small class sizes helped me to get the attention I needed while the teachers knew each student’s strengths and weaknesses. My teachers were all extremely helpful in expanding the subject even beyond the classroom walls and motivating us do the best in our exams. MPW Cambridge was very successful in supporting me with my GCSEs. I’ve made lifetime friends and each day at school was a new adventure.
Having achieved A*A*A*A* AAA in his GCSE subjects (English, Maths, Economics, History, Geography, English Literature and Science) Zahan is going to continue with Maths, Economics, History and Politics at Bedford School.
Ernest - Singapore
Ernest joined MPW from Chelsea Independent College for a one-year A level course in English Literature, Psychology and Sociology. He achieved grades A*AA and won a place at NYU to read Anthropology and Social & Cultural Analysis. Ernest says:
When I was exploring my options for schools, I found out about MPW leavers’ exam results and university destinations and that really aligned with what I was doing so I decided to move from my existing college to MPW. The more casual environment really suited me, MPW does not feel like a ‘pressure cooker’ and the teachers gave you enough material to initiate discussion and then open the floor up to the students. The course materials and course notes were fantastic. I was used to being given a load of material and having to sift through it but in the MPW-written course notes the material was pre-sifted which I found immensely helpful. The teachers have been very sensitive to me and my learning and my Director of Studies has been patient, understanding and kind. She also really helped me with my application to a US university.
Vlad - Russia
Vlad joined MPW from Millfield School for a two-year GCSE course and then remained with us for a further two years while he studied for his A levels. Vlad achieved grades A*AAA in Russian, Economics, Mathematics and Religious Studies alongside a B in AS level Physics. He won a place at SOAS, University of London to read Economics. Vlad says:
The thing I have enjoyed the most about being at MPW is the close communication between students and their teachers and Directors of Studies, as well as how friendly everyone is. The teaching is very good because the small class size allows you to have almost individual guidance on each topic. The atmosphere is welcoming and friendly, like a home. My Director of Studies is fantastic. She has done everything for me and helped me with anything I had going on. She was always there for moral support as well as helping me academically, for example with university. I played football for the MPW team while I was here which was really fun. It is a great team and we did really well in our league.
MPW has a unique teaching style. All the teachers are very experienced and really know their subject. As a result, they do not teach by the book. They provided us with a great deal of in-depth research in each and every topic we were tackling. Their encouragement was essential when I found my subjects more challenging and they also used a variety of teaching styles. This experience was beyond helpful. It has helped sharpen my writing skills and provoke my critical thoughts, especially when I was studying an essay based subject like Economics. One last thing I love about MPW teaching skills was that the teachers here always knew how to create a friendly and relaxing studying atmosphere. They helped me relieve all my stress during exam times and I think that this is one of the reasons why I was able to achieve good A level results. It was a great experience.
Lavinia - Italy
Schooled in Italy, Lavinia had always wanted to study Art History at Cambridge. At MPW she found the encouragement she needed to follow her dream and studied one-year A Level courses in History of Art, English, Religious Studies and Italian, gaining grades A*A*A*A* including full marks in six of her papers. She duly won a place to read Art History at King’s College, Cambridge. She says:
At MPW, all my plans and projects were appreciated and supported. It was not only about passing exams: studying was just as much about personal experience and growth.
Akmaral - Kazakhstan
Akmaral came to MPW as a two-year A level student without having previously studied or lived outside of her own country - Kazakhstan. Having achieved A level grades of A*A*A* in Economics, Mathematics and Further Mathematics, Akmaral is now progressing to read Mathematics and Statistics at University College London.
International students have many aspects to think about, such as accommodation and guardians, but MPW surprised me by having a highly organised and supportive administration. Also, because most MPW Cambridge students are local, as an ‘international’ student, I found this very useful in both improving my English and in giving me a taste of a genuinely ‘English’ college. Studying in small groups has also made it easier for me to participate in discussions and build my confidence.
Sam - South Korea
Sam joined MPW Cambridge as a student for one-year GCSEs followed by two-year A levels. Sam had already studied in international settings before arriving at MPW Cambridge. With overall A*AAA grades in A level Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics, Sam went on to read Civil Engineering at the University of Bristol.
I had even gone to a Mandarin speaking school in China at one point! However, I was probably a bit obsessed with the idea of going to a stereotypical British public school as a boarder and, to be honest, it has taken me until now to fully appreciate that coming to MPW has been for the best. In getting fab GCSE grades and an overall IELTS score of 7.0 in my first year at MPW, I really enjoyed my English classes and they gave me the confidence to feel that I could compete academically with British students as an equal. When it came to A levels, things had worked out so well at MPW that I thought why change? The teaching environment was so good, with the small classes and very expert but also friendly tutors, that I really hoped university tutorials would be just as good!
Anastasia - Belarus
Anastasia now admits to having been initially daunted by the challenge she had taken on by transferring her studies from high school in Belarus to two-year A levels at MPW Cambridge. Anastasia has secured a place to read Economics at University College London by achieving A*A*A* grades in A level Business Studies, Economics and Mathematics.
Honestly, I could not imagine when I joined MPW that, due to language and adaptation barriers, I would achieve top grades in my first A-level exam sittings. This view changed completely after only a few weeks in the college’s supportive and motivational environment; with teachers who aimed at finding a personal touch with each student and with my Personal Tutor who made my adjustment to the UK education system not only an easy step in my life but, more importantly, an enjoyable one. Furthermore, the friendly environment among tutors and students has helped me to combine my academic and social lives.
Van - Vietnam
Van joined MPW from Churchlands Senior School in Australia for our 18-month A level programme. She achieved grades A*A*AA in Economics, History of Art, Mathematics and Philosophy and won a place to read Management at the London School of Economics. Van says:
When I came to see MPW I really liked the atmosphere and the small class sizes. I was interviewed by Seán, who later became my Director of Studies. He was really helpful then and continued to be once I joined. I can ask Seán about anything. For example, he helped me settle in when I first arrived and advised me on practical things like getting a GP or organising all the paperwork for a school trip to Italy. He then read all 10 drafts of my personal statement for university and helped me with every step of my application, making sure that I was handing everything in on time and providing all the evidence the admissions tutors needed. I didn’t know anyone when I first came to MPW but I made friends through my classes. There are no niche groups and no-one is stuck up here. Everyone is friends, I think it is because of the diversity of the people here, and there isn’t a ‘typical’ MPW student. A big highlight for me during my time at MPW has been the Bank of England competition. We were so proud to get to the regional finals. Being in a team with such exceptional people who loved Economics was a great learning step and the teachers were amazing. They were so enthusiastic. It was a really fantastic thing to do.
Hermine - Sweden
After completing high school in her native Sweden, Hermine undertook a programme of one-year A levels at MPW in order to further her chosen area of studies in Mathematics at a suitably prestigious university. Overall grades of A*A*A in A level Mathematics, Further Mathematics and Physics have allowed Hermine to achieve her ambition of reading Mathematics at the top University of Lund in Sweden.
Being an international student, I did not know what was required of me in order to achieve this. However, MPW helped me understand the system every step of the way and made a hard and stressful application process manageable. This gave me a chance to focus on my studies instead of spending my time worrying about UCAS and my Personal Statement. In class, MPW allows students who are motivated to work ahead and comes up with new methods and plans to stimulate them, but they are also there when times are tougher. The moment a student seems to be falling behind, the teachers take notice and help them back on their feet. And, due to the small classes and frequent meetings with Personal Tutors, no problems or worries go unnoticed.
Zoe - Singapore
Zoe joined MPW from Singapore for our two-year A level course in Chemistry, Economics, History and Mathematics. She achieved grades A*A*AA and won a place to read Law at the London School of Economics. Zoe says:
The teachers at MPW are really attentive and whatever you need they are approachable and happy to help you. You get a lot of personal attention and feel like you are in charge of your own academic welfare. The surgeries in each subject tell you exactly what you need to know and clarify everything. I feel like I am able to maximise my academic potential and do well. Socially, MPW is really welcoming and my Director of Studies is always there to help me with any problems which made me feel safe and secure right from the start. I have also been to lots of events in college like Nauryz and Chinese New Year, it’s so nice to interact with people and get to know their cultures, you really see a wider perspective of life. When Sandra Gregory came to do a talk here [Sandra is the author of ‘Forget You Have A Daughter’ about her time in a Bangkok jail], it made me realise how lucky I am and events like that really help with students’ personal development.
Simon - China
Simon joined MPW Cambridge as a two-year A level student after a successful but incomplete high school career in China and was motivated by the dream of reading Engineering at Oxbridge. Simon is now reading Chemical Engineering (via Natural Sciences) at St. Catharine’s College, University of Cambridge, thanks to overall A level grades of A*A*A*A* in Chemistry, Mathematics, Further Mathematics and Physics.
I had dreamt about studying at one of the very best of universities in the UK (and the world!) since a young age but I do not really think I had a plan before I came to MPW Cambridge. Of course I have found the academic organisation at MPW very beneficial: because there are few students in a class, you can actually speak with your tutor (this is impossible in China!) and the Timed Assignments give you a short-term revision target. But it would have been impossible in my view for me to get a place at the University of Cambridge without all the guidance and help I have been given at MPW.
Julia - Brazil
Over her two years of studying A levels at MPW Cambridge, Julia is in no doubt about the help she received in achieving her goals. Julia has secured a place at King's College London to read International Relations, courtesy of her impressive A*AABB grades in A level Portuguese, French, History, Government & Politics and Classical Civilisation.
The teachers really helped me overcome any difficulties I came across; they always seemed willing to offer support be it inside or outside of the classroom. I could safely say my teachers inspired me to work hard and aim for the best, sometimes simply by being passionate about what they do. The college environment is also very friendly and I hope I'll be able to keep in contact with many of the lovely people I met!
Sophia - Vietnam
Sophia was a Two-year A level student at MPW. She was originally educated in Vietnam and moved to England to undertake her A level study. Sophia’s remarkable academic achievements meant that she was awarded the MPW Outstanding Academic Achievement Award in 2012. She achieved grades A*A*A*A* and won a place to read Economics at the University of Warwick.
I was always so impressed with the level of support offered to me by my teachers during my time at MPW; they were always there to support me and offer help and advice. This provided me with all of the skills needed to obtain top grades. I was also grateful for the support of the other students at college; I was able to make very good friends who looked after me and helped me to feel part of the college community.
Nawaf - Saudi Arabia
Nawaf joined MPW Cambridge as a two-year A level student, aiming for a top university placement. He had previously enjoyed a successful academic track record in Saudi Arabia. Nawaf went on to read Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Durham University, courtesy of overall AAA grades in A level English Literature, History and Philosophy.
MPW was my first A level schooling experience and was also significant in being my first outside my country. What it signified, in my view, was a personalised teaching atmosphere which hadn’t previously been available to me. Small classes, Personal Tutors, personalised and steady assessment, as well as an informal class atmosphere gave me a taste of what to expect in university tutorials. The two irreplaceable factors in my MPW Cambridge experience were Timed Assignments, which tested my learning regularly, and the Personal Tutor system, which aided me most in choosing what I truly wanted to study at university. I will forever cherish the friendships I made at MPW.
Elena - China
Elena is an international student from China. She achieved grades A*A*B and won a place to study Electronic and Electrical Engineering at UCL.
During my time at MPW, I always found the teachers to be extremely supportive, both in relation to my academic studies and improving my English. I have always been supported when I had any problems and this gave me the confidence to achieve my goals, including getting into a top university. The teachers and the Principal have always listened to my worries and then given me excellent advice. The Timed Assignments have served as an effective way of pushing myself to study harder and check my work. Overall, attending MPW has helped me to achieve top grades, gain confidence in my own abilities and massively improve my English. I am now looking forward to going to university and using the skills I have learned at MPW to enrich my life further.