I feel incredibly grateful to be chosen as an IELTS Prize winner and IELTS ambassador. Not only will the prize be a great help for my studies as a veterinary science student, contributing to both my tuition fees, travelling costs and living expenses for external placements. It is also a great honour to take on the role as an IELTS ambassador, knowing that I will have the opportunity to share my IELTS journey and study experience, hopefully inspiring and helping others who are unsure of their abilities or uncertain about their options and opportunities.

The selection process of the IELTS Prize has inspired me to reflect a lot on my journey. Especially how continuously improving my English proficiency has opened doors and led to some wonderful opportunities and memories. Compared to other scholarships that I have applied for, the IELTS prize emphasis is more about my views and experiences, especially on how I can make use of this opportunity as a prize winner and ambassador rather than focusing solely on academic merit. I have thoroughly enjoyed my interviews and cannot wait to meet and work with the interviewers again.

My experience of taking the IELTS test with the British Council was smooth and straight forward; from registering, preparing for the tests, arrangements made during the tests, and to accessing my test results. Everything was arranged quickly and efficiently. The well-organised in-test arrangement certainly played a big role in ensuring that every candidate would be able to do their best and for me personally this was an important factor contributing to my great overall experience, especially as I am usually quite nervous during tests. Getting the results were quick and easy, which is essential for candidates who need to submit their results to universities as soon as possible.

I have taken the IELTS test twice. I chose IELTS over other English proficiency tests the first time after completing Grade 10 because I didn’t know where I would be applying for university. IELTS is recognised by universities all over the world, including the most popular ones in the US, UK and Australia. Taking the IELTS meant that I would be able to keep my options open regardless of the language courses, universities and majors I chose afterwards. When I was taking my second IELTS test, I chose IELTS again as I had learnt from my previous experience that the test would be able to help me immensely in both daily and professional contexts. As a veterinary student, IELTS has strengthened my English ability and given me the confidence to interact with my colleagues. I have been able to fully enjoy my experience on campus in Australia, to communicate with clients and mentors during placements, and to read scientific research articles efficiently for assignments.

In terms of improving my English proficiency, I have learnt from my own experience that you always improve the most when you fully immerse yourself into an English-speaking environment for a long period of time. Especially when you can communicate and interact with other people in English outside the classroom environment. In terms of preparing for the test, apart from doing practice tests, there are other ways I found useful. Especially when the test was approaching, listening to podcasts, watching news reports or documentaries, reading short stories or articles from authors with distinctly different styles, and in the end writing my reviews or analysis of what I had listened to, watched or read, helped my preparation in acing the test. I also find reading what I have written out loud helpful when it comes to improving my speaking and writing ability.