With my degree certificate awarded last Friday, I can finally take a deep breath. There are quite a few experiences I would like to share with you — my fellow juniors from China. Studying abroad is far from a journey for pleasure, and the following 5 points may save you a lot of grief.
Never forget that you are a student whose primary task is to study. Just remember that exams, wherever and whenever, are always the fairest means to assess your academic performance. Make full use of the library and online resources, and do not hesitate to ask your teachers questions if you have any problems with your studies. Plus, do not spend too much time socialising — at least not until you get your degree!
Be brave- talk in English
It is essential to continue with your oral language ability development. So try to keep a distance from a group of your compatriots for a while and actively communicate in English with your foreign friends, teachers, schoolmates, and even strangers in the street — the more, the better!
Seize working opportunities
It is not easy for a Chinese student to get a job in the UK, so when you first land in the UK, apply for a national insurance number and never let a chance fly away so long as it knocks at your door (especially when it is closely related to your major). No matter whether you decide to stay in the UK or return to the motherland, 1 to 2 years’ experience working abroad is definitely a treasure for planning your future.
Take an excursion if you have time
There are a number of places of interest and historical relics in the UK. It would not be a bad idea to arrange a visit to the country’s natural and cultural sights once you feel a little tired or bored of studying. Travelling can be an effective way to refresh your body and soul, and to make your later studies more efficient!
Watch what you say
Always think about what you are going to say before you say it! Although the level of free expression appears higher in the UK, speech related to race and violence can be much more sensitive here than in China. Inappropriate words can probably cause you unnecessary trouble. So be careful when you are talking in public or writing posts on Facebook or Twitter!
About the author: Lizhi (Roger) Zhao has been in the UK for over 3 years and has been granted an MA in Chinese-English Translation and Interpreting by the University of Essex, as well as an Academic Certificate of International Law by the University of Bristol. With good knowledge of law, culture and IT, he is passionate about becoming a professional and specialist translator.