The basics
Study abroad : Once you arrive

Make the most of your guest lecturers

Have a guest lecturer coming into town? Read our guide on what you should do to make the most out of it here.

guest lecture

So, you’re halfway through your first year and the professor for one of your classes suddenly announced that they will be inviting a guest speaker down next week. How do you prepare for a guest lecture? This is a rare opportunity and one that you should endeavour to get the most mileage out of. We’ve shortlisted a couple of things you could do to better prepare yourself for it.



Do your research

Given how infrequent nature of guest lectures, we highly advise that you do your research prior to the lecture. Be thorough about it. Look for the organisation that he or she works for, their specialisation in the field, the kinds of expertise he or she will bring to the table and most importantly, the topic that he will be discussing during the lecture. This will help you understand the subject matter of the lecture better and enable you to ask relevant questions. If for some reason, you’re unable to figure out the answer to some of the questions above, speak to your professor about it. Since they were the ones to organise it, they will have more information for you. Watch any videos of he or she speaking, that will you give a rough idea of the kind of tone they set during their lectures and will prevent you from accidentally offending the guest lecturer.


Save slides

If the guest lecturer uses presentation slides, request for either a soft or hard copy. This will serve as additional notes to supplement what your professor has already given you and may come in handy when you write assignments.


Write down your questions

Do not pass up on asking a question. Whether you choose to ask in class or speak to him personally after the lecture, it is important that you clear your doubts about the industry you hope to go into or even ask for his opinion on the subject you are studying. This way, not only will you be able to expand your knowledge, but you also get to learn from someone outside of the university. This will also create a positive impression on the guest lecturer, who may be able to help you with job opportunities in the future.


Write down the answers

During the debate, things can get a little heated, or the information can be flying back and forth at a very quick pace. Note down the points that have been raised and any counter arguments that were presented. Don’t forget to jot down anything that you’re not clear about. Head to the library or google the answers for the questions that you have from that debate. If you’re still unable to find your answers there, speak to your professor. Writing down issues or topics that you’re unclear of during the debate will help you understand the subject matter better when you find the answers and aid in memory recall.


Apply critical thinking

Having a someone give a guest lecture in class opens up a whole field of debate issues. During the lectures, you are expected to contribute and take part in discussions rather than just sit and listen. This is the time for you to apply your critical thinking skills and compare views on what you have studied. Treat this as sharing session. Learning does not always have to involve grades and CGPAs.


Keep in contact

Make sure that you ask for the guest speaker’s contact number and email. The goal is to keep in touch. This will help you in your networking and might even yield a potential job opportunity for you in the near future. Chances are, even if he or she does not know of any company currently hiring, they can help spread the word and eventually, there will be someone who knows of an open position or two. Furthermore, having someone from the company recommending you will give you an edge over other applicants.


Placement opportunities

Once the lecture is over and if the speaker has some time, talk to them about the possibility of you participating in an internship or a work placement with their organisation. As you know, employers are increasingly looking for graduates who have some form of related experience for the job that they’re applying to. We recommend students to have at least one internship or work placement under their belt before graduation.


Last but not least, enjoy the guest lecture! Guest lectures are conducted as a way to expand a student’s understanding of a certain subject matter, by bringing in a someone with a different perspective and keep students engaged.


We hope that this guide has helped you make the most of your guest lectures.


Contemplating studying abroad? Check out the courses available here.

Or download a university’s prospectus now!


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About Author

guest lecture

A fan of anime and all things Japanese, Khai has been writing professionally since 2010 and “unofficially” for much longer. In her free time, you will often find her baking, reading, travelling and doing everything else in between.