It has been reported that one of every ten international students from all over the world studies in the UK. In recent years, international students from China do not restrict themselves to certain sought-after subjects, such as Business, Computer Science, Engineering and so on when they study abroad. Humanities and Social Science, including Art, Design, and Media etc. are increasingly popular for Chinese students. But those who are doing Science are still in the minority today. Louis Lin, who graduated from Leicester ISC this summer, is one of the minority. Why this Chinese girl want to travel alone and study Biochemistry in the UK? With such a question, I interviewed Louis, who is from Zhongshan, Guangdong, China.
Louis just finished her foundation year in Leicester ISC this summer and she will progress onto University of Leicester for doing Biochemistry in this September. “Chasing my dream no matter how hard it is” is what she wrote in her personal message in QQ (MSN-like service). Through Louis’s sharing, I hope her enthusiasm and persistence could inspire those who want to study in the UK.
Boring or Fun?
When Louis was doing Science route in her foundation year, she had to take Biology and Chemistry modules. “Studying Biology and Chemistry in China, you will get a broad idea without discussion in depth. However, here, the teachers emphasise understanding in depth. When the teacher explains one concept in detail, you are learning something new,” she said.
Study skills are not only being trained in certain module, but also in academic subjects. The most favorite part of studying science in Leicester ISC for Louis is, “the teacher would ask us to complete a self-study project on a topic, sort of diseases, surgeries and so on. We need to study on it in depth and then make a poster and do a presentation for it. Our research skills, such as research methods, gathering, critical thinking, analysing etc. have been gradually developed and improved through this project. All these research skills will be very useful for our degree courses.”
It was the first time for her to do this kind of assignments, so she could not image herself can make it as a new student in the beginning. However, with the great help from tutors, Louis finally did a good job. Her friends who study in universities in China were surprised at her such huge improvement on her English and skills in such a short period of time when she shared her posters and good results online.
Louis won a bottle of sweeties in the celebration of Diamond Jubilee
So how about your classes? Louis frankly said, “Science students might feel a bit bored in classes because everyone is concentrated on note-taking and discusses professional questions.” Although what the Science students have to learn is serious and intellectual, ISC teachers try their best to make their students have fun in the classes.
“I remember that when we were learning PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction), our teacher played a video. The video shows the process and application of PCR in a humor way so we can remember the concepts more easily. Also, their lyric is quite simple so we can sing along with it. When we were singing along with the video, students from other routes were surprised and watched us through the windows because our classroom usually was very quiet,” she said. Furthermore, ISC teachers are not only good at helping student to study happily, but also good at motivating student to study science. Louis added, “As a gift for excellent students, we had an opportunity to visit the Science Museum in London together with our teachers in a weekend.” She felt honor to be one of the excellent students and join into the day trip.
As a foundation year Science student, of course, Louis could have classes in the lab. There were many different experiments she tried, such as burning crisps for calculating calorie, dissecting animal’s heart for studying and so on. But the most impressive one was DNA extraction. She extracted her DNA and then made it for a necklace. In Louis’s perspective, doing experiment in the lab is the most interesting part in doing science courses.
Louis’s DNA necklace
Though sciences might be very boring for others, Louis enjoys it and has fun in it. Even though I am not interested in sciences, I was quite enjoying in listening her interesting sharing. And you can tell how much does Louis love and enjoy what she was doing.
Leicester ISC Teachers
Louis mentioned Leicester ISC teachers many times during the interview. She thinks they are very nice and knowledgeable. When Louis arrived at University of Leicester, she did not know how to go to ISC building from her accommodation. So she had to spend a longer time than she expected to arrive at ISC building. Unfortunately, there were some admission tests being held at that day and she missed the Math one as she was late.
“I was very worry and upset at that time. It was the first test in Leicester ISC but I messed it up”, Louis said. She was frustrated by this missing test. So some ISC teachers over there attempted to comfort her. They explained that the admission tests were used to test the students’ levels only and the results of admission tests would not affect her results of her foundation year. However, Louis was still feeling down, so ISC teachers decided to specifically give her a makeup test. There would be makeup tests for all students who need it during the term time, but ISC teachers particularly held a personal one for cheering her up. Therefore, Louis was deeply moved by what those ISC teachers have done and she would never forget it.
University of Leicester campus
What’s more, Leicester ISC teachers represent a longing for the future to students. “Our tutor graduated from University of Leicester with a PhD degree and she was doing Biochemistry as well. During the classes, she would share her studying experiences when she was doing PhD degree. So we are looking forward to be someone like her in the future. We have a longing for being excellent in our studies like her.” As a student who is going to study Biochemistry at University of Leicester, I believe Louis is approaching the future which she is looking forward to.
To Choose the Most Appropriate one
Why Louis wanted to study abroad? She said that she did not get a good result in Gaokao so that she had to study a subject she does not like. Thus, for doing something she is interested in, she decided to study abroad and study the subjects she likes. There were many universities Louis could apply for, including some universities which have higher rankings than Leicester. Finally, she chose University of Leicester.
“First of all, the higher ranking means there will be a fiercer competition than others. I’m not confident enough to perform very well in such fierce competition. More importantly, from the first step, I decide to study Biology or related subjects. Biology is one of the top subjects at University of Leicester. And Leicester also has a good university ranking,” Louis explained why she chose Leicester.
According to the latest Times university ranking, University of Leicester is ranked No. 17 and always being the top 20 university in the UK as well. Additionally, Leicester is also famous for its high quality, innovative and world-changing research and remarkable results. For example, the technique of genetic fingerprinting was discovered by Professor Sir Alec Jefferys in a lab at the University of Leicester. Interestingly, Louis met one of the members in the research team of genetic fingerprinting at school. She thinks it is amazing that you can meet someone you found in the books in the real world.
Louis enjoys her life in Leicester
Compared with the pressures of Gaokao, studying in foundation year was easier and more relaxing for Louis. So she prefers to travel to other cities when she is in the weekend and holidays. “The cost of living in Leicester is not very expensive and train tickets are not expensive as well. So we always travel around in the UK”, she said. Louis enjoys traveling. She has been here less than one year, but she already visited a large number of cities, such as Liverpool, Manchester, Oxford and so on. She explores and experiences the local
life and cultures through her travels.
Obviously, Louis did not choose the university with the highest ranking, but she chose the university which is the most appropriate for her.
“Chasing my dream no matter how hard it is.” Louis found her dream in Leicester ISC and work hard to achieve it. It shows that when international students apply their university and courses, ranking and trend are not the most important. To study the subjects you are really interested in is the most important. It will be worth to spend your money and time on something you have a passion for it when you study abroad.