Luca Fanottoli (21), who is originally from Olengo, Italy, but now lives in Stirling, has just completed his second year on the BSc Applied Computing.
The innovative integrated degree course allows students to spend the first two years studying at Forth Valley College, before completing their studies at the University of Stirling. They are also recognised as university undergraduates throughout the course and have access to resources and facilities at both the University and the College.
Luca, who is also an elite level triathlete, said: “I wanted to experience the two different types of teaching from college and university in order to gain more knowledge as well as practical skills.
“The facilities on campus are very modern such as the library, the gym and also the canteen. My lectures are friendly and always available to help students if they need assistance. The structure of teaching is really well organised and I think it plays an important role for a successful learning experience.
“I am an international student from Italy and when I moved to Stirling two years ago I had a very limited English vocabulary. The idea of studying in another language was very arduous at the beginning, but the course did not consist of many students so I had the possibility to explain to all the lectures my difficulties. But this course benefited me as I have improved my English during my first two years at college.
“I have not just been learning another language, but also how to make the best use of a computer and also a solid programming knowledge. I am sure that the practical experience here will be really helpful in the future because it is really close on what I will do during my IT career.
“I would recommend the college as the practical experience as I have already said is very important to understand how systems work and interact between each other.”
Luca, who hopes to become an IT analyst or a software developer, said: “Basically my connection with Stirling started when my triathlon coach told me that I could train and continue my academic career with this new integrated degree course through Forth Valley College and the University of Stirling. I applied and was accepted.
“When I arrived in 2016 my English wasn’t that confident, but at the college the lecturers are really close to you on a one to one basis and you that helps you to learn very quickly and develop language skills as well, especially understanding the Scottish accent better.
“It has been fantastic since the beginning and I have learned great practical skills, it is not all about the theory here at the college, and that is the thing that is missing from further education back in Italy.
“It is the best of both worlds as well as you can use all the sporting facilities at the university while you are studying for the first two years at the college. The computer facilities are fantastic here at the college and having one computer each at every single lecture is another thing that is ahead of Italy.
“I now feel that Stirling is my home. I love it here and I am now prepared to move on to my third year at university and it has been down to the structure of this course. I would thoroughly recommend it.”
For more information call 01324 403000 or visit https://www.forthvalley.ac.uk/courses/degrees/bsc-hons-applied-computing