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International Students in the UK

Zhaohua Shi - Bradford

Twenty-one-year-old Zhaohua Shi has come to the UK to study Accounting and Finance at the University of Bradford. Originally from China, Zhaohua believes that the opportunity for independent learning in the UK will make her more employable. 

Why did you choose to study in the UK?

Because of the cultural differences between China and the UK, and the fact that the education system is totally different. In the UK, I am learning to work as part of a group whilst thinking independently. Teachers in university play a role as guiders and supporters; they are not like teachers in China who prefer didactic teaching. So the main reason I chose to study in the UK is the opportunity universities provide for independent learning.

How did you find the application process?

Agents which specialise in consulting on studying aboard helped me through the application process. They helped me apply to the university I wanted to go to. 

Did you consider studying in any other countries?

I considered Singapore. It is not far away from my country and also provides a high quality of education. However, UK universities have a more prestigious history and as a result the education system is more developed.  

Was it easy to find useful information about the UK?

I could easily find useful information about the University of Bradford on its official website. However, some information, such as the specific requirements needed to apply for a scholarship, was difficult to find out online, so I sent emails to the university to ask for more details.

As for info about the UK, there are lots of movies and TV series' which give you an idea about the culture and way of life in the UK.

How do the fees compare to your home country?

Because of the exchange rate, the tuition fee and living expenses are higher than my home country. It evens out though, as scholarships in the UK are worth more than in China.

How are you finding the experience of living and studying in the UK?

In order to strike a work-life balance between my academic studies and my personal life, I volunteer as a Chinese language class teacher and particularly enjoy sharing and discussing cultural differences with other students. This has helped me adapt to the foreign culture quickly. The rigors of studying in the UK have required overcoming challenges with discussing thought-provoking questions with my classmates, and also my lecturers and tutors.

Anything you’re finding difficult?

I think the big challenge for me is learning the language. Although I have passed the IELTS, it is difficult to quickly improve my language skills in writing and speaking to the equivalent of a local student, so when I write some reports or essays, I sometimes lose marks.

What do you plan to do after your course?

After my bachelor's course, I am going to apply for a master’s degree in the UK to improve my academic ability even further.

Do you feel that studying in the UK will help you to achieve your ambitions? 

Yes. The UK education system helps me bridge a gap between theory and practice, so it will improve my employability for sure. Moreover, the interactive and hands-on system of learning in the UK enables me to plan my future career in advance, so that I can set a clear objective to pursue, which certainly motivates me to study harder.