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Colinette from Hong Kong, BA Business and Management

Colinette at the Stockton International Riverside Festival in August 2013

Colinette Wang, 18, British-Chinese
Studying Business and Management at John Snow College, Durham University

"Born and raised in Hong Kong, I had always wanted to experience a ‘traditional’ English lifestyle; one that was completely different to the Chinese way of life. Ever since I was 7 years old, I watched my cousins graduate from top UK universities, and I waited in excitement for it to be my turn. I finally arrived in the UK when I was 17 years old to study at Durham University.

Sports, arts and culture

Most noticeably, coming to the UK has inspired me to participate in a number of activities, which as a result, have broadened my horizons. This is largely because the range of sports and arts on offer in UK universities is second to none. Amongst other things, I was able to try rowing, learn about Western and other international cultures, and sit under the sun on fresh green grass enjoying the unpolluted air! What I love most about the UK, however, is that there are numerous opportunities for cultural enrichment, including contemporary Broadway and classic theatre.

Although feeling homesick may be inevitable, I have always believed that student life in the UK has many benefits: for one, being an international student and living away from my family has transformed me into a very independent and adventurous individual; and this is certainly valuable in terms of personal development and character building.

Career advice and workshops

Whilst personal development is significant, UK universities are also very career-focused, thereby driving professional development. Career fairs, workshops and external lectures are regularly organised, and made accessible to students who can attend at any time throughout their undergraduate study. Some career workshops are even tailor-made to improve a specific set of skills, such as interviewing, CV and application writing. Such invaluable service and commitment across many UK universities will undoubtedly stand you in good stead for potential job applications, and may not be available elsewhere. As such, do not be deterred by increasing fees!

Exploring the UK

Finally, to make the most out of studying abroad, it is recommended that students explore the local area in which their university is situated, as well as neighbouring villages and towns. In my case, my summer in the UK included visits to York, Whitby and Fountain’s Abbey, all of which equipped me with historic background and insight into the region. Most importantly, I was able to taste a number of local dishes – something that I had always wanted to do. My enthusiasm for travelling culminated in an 84-mile, five-day charity hike across Hadrian’s Wall (essentially an expedition from the west side of the UK to the east)!

In general, my advice for you regarding student life in the UK is to use your time there, and to take part in activities which you would not have otherwise participated in. This ensures a new experience every day, and overcomes the challenge of meeting different people. As far as lifestyle is concerned, given the number of professional, social and recreational opportunities, you may be tempted to do one more than others; remember, everything should be in moderation."
 

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