Our Students' Stories
It has been seven years since I arrived in the U.K, as an ignorant little brat and now I am anticipating the torrents of the University life. I spent seven years in Talbot Heath School, thanks to Carey back then who had proposed for us a lovely selection of schools that fit my parents' budget and are well-performing. Throughout the journey, there were tears and laughter, hopes and bitterness... but most importantly I had come out of it with a stronger character and with friends to last a lifetime. On came the GCSE's and the memorable nights of group study in the Boarding House corridor; on came the expiry of my student Visa and Carey was able to help me sort out the documents for a new application; on came the A-levels and what I missed most was the Latin lessons from Miss Russell that felt like the arrival of spring... I was able to do lots of things I wouldn't have accomplished in H.K, such as going on The Duke of Edinburgh's Award expeditions, trekking for days over the Devonshire countryside. I had also developed a running routine, for there are always stretches of nature reserve and parklands around the corner. Doing so I had worked towards running a half-marathon along the Bournemouth Beach. What's worth mentioning is how I think that the U.K institutes do value individual's well-being greatly- I had a tiny psychological issue in Year 12 and all of a sudden I was showered with love and support from staff and students. I could even open up to my form tutor like a close friend, in return getting emotional and practical support. It was also a great opportunity to meet people from over the world and learn about their cultures, I had a Spanish friend who came for exchange, and we still keep in touch. Last year I visited her hometown in Valencia where her family kindly accommodated me.
All in all, studying abroad is a decision I would never regret, and it wouldn't have gone so brilliantly if not for all the nice people I met. When I applied for a new student visa over the summer, Carey was still the person I turned to for help. She could always give the best and detailed advice; I'm so glad to have kept in contact with her all along. Now I shall head to my first Biology practical in university, pray that it goes as brilliantly!
Under the influence of Hong Kong education, I have had a fixed way of thinking and knowing to just follow the structure that given by my teachers, studying the subjects that wasn’t interested at all. Whereas, in United Kingdom, I was forced to be more independent and to be more responsible of my life, for example, I learnt how to manage my time table effectively, organising my own room and to keep it clean all the time, controlling my outputs and doing monthly accounting, many skills of living you name it. In this way, I must thank the people that gave me their hands when they were needed. Lastly and as the most importantly, I indeed enjoyed studying in U.k, for my A-levels, I took Fine Art, graphic design and History of art, these are the subject that I choose base on my preference and they are useful for my future studies. The teachers here use a lot of modern artists as examples and always combining the concept of modern art into their education content, unlike Hong Kong, skill is no longer the most important thing in art, art in UK education is much boarder and highly tolerance to modern art. Now, I am going to Russia this September to study Heritage and Painting Restoration.
It is a very good experience to study in Overseas. I have been staying in New Zealand for two years. I enjoy studying in overseas very much as I like another country’s education and lifestyle. I think New Zealand education is better than Hong Kong because I just need to study one topic for one term only, I do not have much homework to do after going back to home. Almost it is classwork, so it is different from hong kong. It is very relaxing in here. I remembered that when I first term in here, I was nervous as English is not my first language and I didn’t have any friends in here, it was a new environment let me adapt it. Afterwards, I took the initiative to communicate with others (that’s very important), because all kiwi is very friendly, so don’t be afraid they don’t want to talk to you and make friends! However, peoples living in New Zealand like a retired life, but kiwi people like outdoor activities, such as swimming, boating, and baseball, etc. They like to eat beef, chicken, and lamp. Because I live with a home-stay, so I have known their lifestyles. It was fun and I am happy to stay with them.
Now I study media and communications at university of Sussex. Here are my study experience in the U.K and some advice. The main difficulty I faced when I started my study in the U.K is loneliness. When I arrived at the campus which was a completely unfamiliar place for me, I found most of my flatmates and classmates are foreigners. I spent some time to adapt to my new life and I missed my family and friends very much. Culture shock, being homesick are the main causes for loneliness. Shortly thereafter, I joined student union and met many new friends, this helped me a lot in involved in local communities. The best way to defeat loneliness is enriching your life, getting involved on campus, and developing some hobbies. Another difficulty is different study style. My course has debates and essays every two week, this requires adequate knowledge and also the ability to look at problems from different perspectives. Everything has to be self-taught after class, therefore, how to make time allocation is important. In the beginning, I was not used to this study style, then with my teacher suggestion I set a study plan and divided all the tasks into parts, and this reduced my study pressure. Study in the U.K is a good choice as this country has profound cultural deposits. Before arrival, my advice is focusing on English study and also learning some relevant knowledge of what you will study. Trying to avoid speaking mother language after arrival, maybe you will meet friends from the same country but the best way to practice spoken English is communicating with other English speakers. Joining student union is a good way to meet local students and find friends who have same hobbies. Remember the original intention of your overseas study, set goals for them and make a list of future plan. The most valuable treasure I gained there is not language or knowledge, but the ability to think and live independently, which has life-lasting value. Oversea study will bring many challenges but these can teach me how to confront difficulties in the future and change my attitude towards life. It also provides more opportunities and possibilities, to catch them or not is all depending on yourself.
During the first week, we didn't have to attend the lessons. We were introduced about the content of our lessons, and there were different lectures who explain to every one of us in detail. I had known more about all the subjects which I had to study in the coming year and I had also met my subject teachers. I felt excited as I'm going to start a new school life in here, but at the same time I got nervous also as I was going to face a lot of new classmates or maybe strangers. I was afraid that I might not communicate with them well. It was good that I got a chance to study some specific subjects, and it was good that I could have a chance to study human interaction which I had never in touch with these subjects in Hong Kong. To reflect the first week in UK, I had already experience the life in the U.K and I thought I could adapt the U.K lifestyle in the future. I hoped I could experience more in here and I could communicate more with my new classmates.
Look back on the previous year, I realised my dream in childhood in the UK, which is studying aboard. I have had a valuable opportunity to broaden my horizon and be more independent and decisive when facing obstacles. Cultural difference is a big issue for me as it could not be adapted in a short period of time. Cultural difference means a lot, for instance, accent, language, cruise, living environment, education methods… you might feel hard to overcome in the beginning, even probably got homesick. In the first month, I literally felt helpless since I do not have any related knowledge about my course and not able to fully understand Scottish accent by my subject professor. I tried to ask teachers and course mates, however accent is still a big deal. At that moment, I recognised my language is not good enough as sometimes I am not able to go through fluent communications with people from other countries. Therefore, I have put effort in several months for improving English by utilised the library resource for practice, eventually my language problem has been overcame. Besides the cultural difference, education method is a new change for new students as well. Education in Hong Kong is sort of spoon feeding, on the contrary, the UK attaches importance to self-learning, which is distinct educational culture as compared to Hong Kong. In other words, it is believed time for lecture and seminar is relatively fewer than studying in Hong Kong. As a result, I noticed that time management is paramount important when you are studying aboard, academic achievement could be improved when time is utilised for self-learning. At the very beginning of studying overseas, it was a hard time for me to step out of comfort zone and confront by the huge different living environment and culture alone. However the influence of study aboard could completely change your life.
It is a good chance to learn from the experience during the time that studying overseas. I stayed in United Kingdom in the last academic year for my study and I finished my foundation programme successfully. I can now progress to the university and study the specific subject which I like. I have lots of fun and feel enjoyable to study in UK. I think the experience has widen my sight and influenced me positively. The environment of UK is very glamorous. Those architectures in there are historical and stylish. Nature is close to us that I can see some squirrels and birds on the ways. I also visited to a farm and saw some gorgeous alpaca. Those animals in there are cute and make me feel excited. I love the condition of UK that it makes me feel comfortable and relaxed. I can breathe fresh air every day and I think it is healthier to stay in this clean place. Also, people in UK are kind and friendly. I met people who come from other countries and we became friends. Through chatting with them I knew more about some culture of different countries. I feel very happy about this and I hope I can make more friends during the period of studying in UK. Besides, I am thankful to Carey that she has given lots of support to me. She not only helped me to apply for the course but also arranged for the relevant things professionally. These made me can settle down in UK easily and felt relieved about the new condition. She is reliable and I believe that she will help other students well with her passion. Last but not least, I quite recommend to studying overseas. More skills can be learnt from the experience and they will bring you to a bright future. Where there is a will, there is a way.
It was a fantastic experience to study art in the U.K as I have gained lots of treasures. The first time when I came to meet a new and strange environment, I was quite hesitant and didn't know how to live and study normally. I usually got troubles of communication. Since I am not talkative and seldom to speak English, it was quite difficult to understand what people said, as well as difficult to express my thoughts. I was afraid that people could not understand my English. However, the teachers were so enthusiastic, they would try to help students by asking them questions. They would give a lot of chances for students to use English. Gradually, I have built up my confidence so that I would’t afraid to use it anymore even though it still had some grammar mistakes. Moreover, the student life in the U.K. was also exciting. I have met new friends, and we would worked together. Although it was the first time that I was living out from my home town without my parents, I have never felt alone. I would find new friends and communicated my parents on the Internet. So, there was no necessary to scare, as you would find another way to forget the unhappiness. Apart from the study, it was also a fresh experience to see the beautiful places in the U.K. The air was so clean and comfortable. Besides, there were so many nature sceneries that I have never seen. Since I studied art, I have visited several Museums. The artworks were so attractive. I have learnt their art culture, which was very exciting and enjoyable. However, there was one thing that I still could not overcome with, which was the food in the U.K. The food was not the taste that I have usually eaten in my home. Also, fewer choice of rice would be listed in their menu. This made me always feel distress. Fortunately, there were several Chinese restaurant so that I could find the love from the U.K.