My name is Wanlin and I am a student at Bath studying Applied Economics with Banking and Financial Markets.
As an international student from China, the first time studying abroad is always challenging. It is even harder for me who has left university for a couple of years. Going back to study meant leaving my current job position and starting a new venture. Since I didn’t want to rely on my family, I also had some financial stress.
Even so, receiving the offer from the University of Bath was just like a dream come true. What was also amazing was that the university provides opportunities of applying for scholarships to help fund our study, which is rare among most universities for postgraduate level.
Considering I have experience of working as a team leader in a world-leading corporation and as a programme manager at a startup company I decided to apply for the Global Leaders Scholarship.
Those who apply for the scholarship need to answer two questions (these can change each year). The first one for me, was “What has driven you to study your chosen Masters course at the University of Bath?” Since I have thought through this question when I decided to apply for the programme, it was easy for me to answer this one.
The second one was to give an example of when you have exhibited excellent team working and problem-solving skills in a maximum of 350 words. This one was pretty hard because I needed to think of a case in point and also needed to be concise regarding the word limit. I spent a long time thinking about how I can better tell my story. And since English is not my first language, I also did a lot of proofreading to ensure my application is readable.
After working hard for several weeks, It was reassuring to know that I was one of the successful scholarship candidates. It not only eases my financial pressure but also gives me confidence to step out from my comfort zone for the whole new journey.
This academic year 2020-2021 must be the most special year for the teaching staff and students. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to study online for most of the time. It is hard for both the teaching staff and the students. As a student, I have a lot of things to be worried about. Whether I can receive equivalent teaching quality, whether I can be self-disciplined without the supervision, how can I make new friends and so on?
But so far, I could say I enjoyed the study more than I expected.
In the first term, we have most of the course online and one 4-hours in-person teaching session on the campus. To ensure we have good studying experience, our course conveners are so dedicated to the teaching material and the online session, we have a specific online learning platform to access all the learning material and live online sessions to interact with the teaching staff. Having left campus life for several years, the feeling of studying is just so amazing. Sometimes life under lockdown can be boring, so having my course became one interesting activity for me. And one of the best things about studying online is that I can save a lot of time commuting, and I can enjoy wearing the pyjamas all day long. That is really comfortable!
The pity is that compared with in-person study, I do not have much chance to meet new friends. But the university has provided many online opportunities for us to get to know some people. We have the PG virtual kitchen to meet people. And for international students, we have the international student association to share experiences of studying. And through the coursework of some sessions, I got the chance to interact with my coursemates and some of us became good friends. I can share my questions about the courses and also interesting things in my daily life with them.
In a word, even though it is tough to study under the pandemic, I have got enough support from the university and I enjoy this study experience so much.