Interview with an international student
It takes great courage and a huge responsibility to the decision of studying in another country. You leave your family, friends and a whole life behind to start anew while seeking knowledge in a foreign country, especially when you don’t understand the language of that country.
Luckily, there are kind-hearted people in the world who are willing to help international students feel at home by showing them around campuses and cities, taking them to restaurants to try out different cuisines, and exchanging diction along the way.
Yet, what is it like for international students to leave their home country and go to an unknown place; oblivious of what they might discover?
I was kindly given the opportunity to find this out by conducting an interview with one of the students, whom I now call a friend.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Ting-Chen, Chiang. I am 21 years-old and I am from Taiwan. I study English and Literature in Taiwan, and I came to England to study English.
What influenced your decision to study abroad?
To have a better understanding of the subject, language, and the culture.
How would you describe the international students’ community in Birmingham?
The community is very respectful and diverse. In my country, peers will show their curiosity in international students. Although they don’t mean to be rude, it sometimes makes the students uncomfortable. However, in Birmingham, there are different ethics and races, and people are very kind to each other.
What advice would you offer to someone looking to study abroad?
Do not be afraid of living in a country you are unfamiliar with. It may be scary, but just enjoy it and broaden your horizons as you may not get another opportunity like this again.
Did you use an agency when applying to study abroad?
No, I applied by myself.
And, did you face any difficulties while applying by yourself?
It was a long wait. I had to wait for the full transcript to get the CAS (confirmations of acceptance for studies) from Birmingham City University. After that, I can apply for my visa. I had to wait for three months, and by then I thought I didn’t get accepted, and it was impossible for me to come here.
I’m glad your wish came true. Tell me, what is the one thing you miss back home?
Everything! But, I think I miss my family the most.
What has your experiences been like studying in a U.K. University compared to your home country?
The way of teaching is completely different. In Taiwan, we only have lectures and no seminars. Therefore, I felt nervous at my first seminar.
It is most certainly daunting to live and study in a foreign country, but once you meet the right people and get used to the environment, things start to get easier. Speaking to Ting-Chen has really opened my mind about studying abroad, and I do hope that one day this dream comes true. Birmingham City University has embraced culture and diversity by welcoming international students, and I hope they continue to do this in the future.