Wendy LEE Mun Wai FS2010-11, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University | to UK
I chose to study at Loughborough University as an exchange student because of my professors’ recommendations.
I enjoyed my time at the host institute, Loughborough University, very much. Located at a quiet and small town, Loughborough University had provided me with an excellent learning environment. Without much entertainment and social activities inside the university campus as well as the town itself, the peaceful environment had enabled me to focus on my studies.
Since Loughborough University has the largest university campus among the universities in Europe, it was quite difficult for me to find the respective lecture theatres of each lecture as well as the way back to my hall during the first two weeks of my stay in England. Therefore, my recommendation is that a fellow Fung Scholar who intends to have his exchange at Loughborough, he should bring along with him a ‘campus map’ whenever he goes out during the first few weeks of the exchange!
One significant difference in teaching culture which I have observed is that, unlike PolyU which stresses the importance of the application of theories to real life, my host institute focuses on theory teaching and memorization of most of the information in the lecture notes. Such contrasting difference in learning culture made me found it quite difficult to adapt at the beginning.Â Another major challenge which I have encountered was that the study leave prior to the examinations was far too short in comparison to that of PolyU which has two weeks.
In order to enhance our working relationship as a team, one of the lecturers had arranged a four-day-long training camp for us. The camp not only reinforced my communication and organization skills, but also provided me with a valuable chance in mixing and getting along with the local students. By participating in the group activities, I have made friends with all of my teammates and also gained a much better understanding about the local culture as well as the education system of England and the host institution.
I also managed to pay a visit to the Parish Church on my own which is one of the most famous tourist spots of Loughborough. Built in the 13th Century, it has been refurbished regularly during the past centuries. The church was opened on Friday and Saturday mornings only. At the time when I arrived at the Church, a secondary school teacher has arranged a tour in the church for her students led by a preacher. I was grateful for being invited to join the tour which in turn enabled me to explore the ancient style of architecture in England.
I have not only gained a better understanding about the education system and learning culture of England, but I have also made friends with people from different countries including the locals as well as exchange students from places around the world (e.g. Singapore, Turkey, Australia, etc.). In particular, I have myriad chances to chat with the students from Singapore since we used to have our meals in the same dining hall. I learned that males in Singapore are required to serve in the army for three years after finishing their high school (i.e. prior to their commencement of tertiary education). Also, one of my friends from Australia told me that it is a common phenomenon that Australian students tend to study Bachelor degrees without honours rather than those with honours. Occasionally, I met an exchange student from the Shandong province who had given me some insights in preparing for my IELTs examinations later on.
After my stay in England, I have become much more independent, capable of cooking for myself in weekends and hand-washing my clothes. I managed to practice and improve my spoken English during discussions in group projects and grasped chances of getting along with Mainland students by chatting with them in the dining hall or in the school buses which had in turn improved my Mandarin.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to express my grateful thanks to Victor and William Fung Foundation for its generous donation of the scholarship and also PolyU for providing me with the chance to participate in the exchange programme.