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THE UK: Subject Guides

Student Spotlight: Electrical Engineering

Hotcourses interviews Tiancheng Li, a Chinese PhD student, about his experience studying in London.

Electrical Engineering

Name: Tiancheng Li

CourseElectrical Engineering

Study Level: Doctor of Philosophy

University: London South Bank University (LSBU)

Country of origin: The People's Republic of China


Q. Why did you enrol on your course and how did you choose your university?

It was introduced by my supervisor in Northwestern Polytechnical University (NPU) of China. I got an opportunity to take part in an exchange programme signed between the NPU and LSBU.


Q. Why did you choose the UK as a study destination?

It might be due to its English-speaking environment. In addition, the school had a good connection network between British and Chinese government.

Q. How did you feel in your first month?  

I felt very harsh in my first month in London. I failed to book the accommodation and my speaking English was bad at that time. It was very difficult to me.


Q. How did your institution help you settle in to university life in the first few weeks?

They provided some helpful information to me about London. Also, they tried to help me to find an accommodation inside campus and outside the campus. My supervisor also gave me some help.


Q. Where did you live and how did you find suitable accommodation?

I lived outside the university because the university residence was fully occupied.  In addition, I found a single bed room from some advertisements on Powerapple (in China) and Gumtree.


Q. How did you integrate into the social scene at your university?

I mainly made friends with my research follower/teammate and some Chinese friends. I always dated with them for sightseeing activities and played cricket with them.


Q. Did you experience any culture shocks when you arrived in the UK?  

Yeah, one of them was about food. The food here was different from my home country. Also, there were many international students coming from around the world with different culture. Their religion beliefs mostly were Muslim or Christian. But Chinese people generally did not have religious beliefs. Also, they only knew Chinese Gongfu and they thought every Chinese knew about this.


Q. How did you fund your studies? 

I got my funding from China Scholarship Council.


Q. What were the biggest challenges that you faced in your first year?

It was mainly in language. I needed a period of time to adapt to the language here.


Q. How does the English teaching style differ from that in your home country?

I think the main differences are on the way of thinking and teaching style. Such as, everyone can raise hands up and ask question at any time in the class. Lecturers need to spend more time and concentration on student’s questions. This is not common in China.


Q. What were the best things about studying in the UK?

You can have your thoughts freely and more freedom. Also, I can meet people from everywhere around the world.


Q. What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned since you started your studies?

I think it is better to do some research on the internet before you are going to buy anything. You can get some discounts and cheap offers on the internet. I have got a £1 coach ticket in a website called Megabus before.

Q. What advice would you give to new international students?

It will be better if you can practice more on your daily lives English before you arrive. It will make your life much easier. Also, learning how to cook food and establishing a good self-discipline attitude is also essential for a student. Furthermore, be polite and have good behaviour will make you impress others.

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