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Chinese students - what it's like to study in the UK?

20/05/2015
 
At iQ Student Accommodation, we have a lot of tenants from China who have come to study in the UK as international students. But for many international students, moving to the UK can be quite daunting, and deciding to go to university in the UK prompts some scary questions... What is it actually like to study in the UK? How will life be different from China? How will I cope living so far away from home?
 
So we've put together a simple introduction to living and studying in the UK as a Chinese international student...
 

Studying 

Your UK university course may seem very different from your previous education in China. The teaching methods at UK universities generally involve a mixture of 'contact hours' - attending lectures, seminars and tutorials - and self-motivated independent study time. To a large extent you will be expected to plan and organise your own learning and to work alone outside of formal study hours. If you're not sure how your course works, check with your tutor to find out what is expected of you.
 

Friends 

Arriving in a foreign country where you don't know anyone can be intimidating and it can be comforting to have people around who speak the same language as you and understand your background and culture. Try joining your university's International Society or Chinese Society. You may also find that there are a lot of other Chinese students in your halls - at iQ Student Accommodation, many of our student tenants come from China! 
 
On the other hand, it's good to make an effort to meet people from other countries and cultures - after all, you're living in an exciting new place and should make the most of it! Making friends with locals from Britain will give you an insight into how things are done, and it's great to have someone to ask about everything from studying to socialising! Meeting people from other countries will give you the chance to practice your language skills, learn about other cultures, and try out other foods... and studying abroad is the perfect chance to spend time with people you would otherwise never get to meet.
 

Living in Student Accommodation 

For many Chinese students moving abroad to study, one of the biggest changes to adapt to is living away from parents. If you're going to be staying with us at iQ Student Accommodation, we do everything we can to make sure you feel at home! For example, all our sites have onsite security teams and CCTV cameras to make sure our students are safe and secure - and to stop your parents from worrying! We also organise multiple social events throughout the year, giving you some great opportunities to make friends with your flatmates and neighbours. Many of our sites even have Chinese New Year celebrations, so you'll feel right at home.
 

Food

Coming to the UK for the first time may be a shock to the tastebuds! If you want to try out the local cuisine, the best traditional UK foods include roast dinner, fish & chips and an English Breakfast. But if you're not keen on the local food, you'll be pleased to hear that most UK cities have Chinese supermarkets. In fact, some British cities - including London - even have whole Chinese districts! Check online or ask other students at your accommodation to find out where to buy Chinese ingredients.
 
One of the other slightly daunting things about living on your own at university is having to cook for yourself. If you don't have much cooking experience, try making some joint meals with your new flatmates and make sure you invest in a student cookbook.
 

Homesickness 

If you haven't spent much time away from home previously, moving to the UK may make you feel a little bit homesick. It's important to keep in touch with your friends and family back home (make sure you find a phone tarrif that allows cheap calls to China!) but it's also important to throw yourself into your new life at uni. Not only will you distract yourself from your homesickness, you'll have some fantastic experiences... Remember, many of the other students around you may be missing home and feeling lonely - use this opportunity to make new friends and you'll both feel better.
 
Moving to the UK as an international student can be a daunting prospect, but rest assured that you won't be alone! We have hundreds of Chinese international students staying with us at iQ Student Accommodation each year. And although it's a scary life change, studying abroad is also an incredibly exciting opportunity that you should make the most of. And remember that if you have any issues, problems or questions, there will always be an older student who has experienced something similar who you can turn to for advice. 
 
Looking forward to seeing you at iQ Student Accommodation this September!