A new school term in the UK has just started and Chinese students here are starting to feel the challenges of studying and living in the UK.
Education specialist, Susan Fang, gives four tips on what Chinese students should do in order to get the most out of their study. She has helped thousands of Chinese students to overcome various difficulties when studying in the UK over the past decade.
1. Be more proactive
Embrace English culture, embrace the English language.
Chinese students must be more aggressive in their approach to learning. In the Far East, lots of learning happens in the classroom. It is often a one-way street, from teachers to students, but not the other way around. Teachers broadcast and students receive.
However, in the UK, it’s the opposite. It is much more about having two-way dialogues between teachers and students. Both sides give and take. Chinese students therefore need to adapt to this learning mentality in the UK if they want to thrive.
Students also need to read ABOUT the subject. For example, if you study Economics, besides textbooks, you need to be on top of current affairs and read about politics, sociology and history in order to get a full picture of the subject, to know what’s happening around the globe.
Moreover, students should take the initiative to go to events outside of their classrooms to gain intellectual stimuli related to their subject. For example, there are a variety of cultural, economic, arts, historical and educational events run by China Exchange in Chinatown.
In essence, Chinese students need to bear in mind that learning is not just about absorbing from textbooks. It’s far more than that.
2. Be better at time management and goal setting
Chinese students need to have clear targets on where they want to be, set a realistic timeline and then stick to it.
Let’s say you have an exam in January 2016 after Christmas. It is very unlikely that you will have time to do any revision during Christmas as you will probably return to China to see your family and friends.
So start early. You should start revision now. Don’t do things until the last minute and then be in a panic. Instead, try to break down a big project like an exam into smaller chucks so that you are reaching smaller, achievable goals along the journey and won’t feel overwhelmed by the task.
In brief, Chinese students need to be better at managing how they spend their time. Think twice before spending time on social media such as WeChat or Weibo, gaming such as Candy Crush and Sim City, and shopping.
3. Take the initiative to socialise and network
Chinese students need to learn to build and maintain a good relationship with their peers and professors. It is about building rapport with them everyday. If your professor already knows you well as a person and knows that you do study very hard, he or she is more likely to reconsider your grading if you don’t get a satisfactory one. Speak with your professor as often as possible.
Also try to keep a good relationship with your peers. You might need their help when you are looking for a job in the future or they may even become your business partners if you want to become an entrepreneur.
So start building these meaningful relationships now.
4. Plan the future now, not tomorrow
Chinese students must begin to plan what they want to do after graduation now, not only after graduation. Do you want to go back to China after graduation? Do you want to find a job in the UK? What you want to do after graduation ultimately influences and determines what you are going to do everyday from the moment you enrol.
If you want to stay in the UK and work here after graduation, you need to start thinking about the kinds of companies you want to work for and what kinds of skills you will need to get the job.
For example, if you want to become a doctor, do you need to gain a certain number of hours working in a hospital or charity before graduation? If you want to go into investment banking, do you need to take additional exams such as CFA Level 1 to enhance your competitiveness in the job market?
Plan now before it is too late.
In short, my final advice for Chinese students is “Keep an open mind and accept differences”. Be mindful of how things are taught in the UK. If you can embrace the differences, you will be surprised by how much you will learn.
The article was written by Susan Fang for Nee Hao Magazine, CEO of Academic Powerhouse (part of OxBridge Holdings), the world’s leading educational consultancy which provides independent and professional advice on all aspects of UK education as well as all aspects of China and Far East education.