Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at 5pm

Differences Between China and the UK: My Study Abroad Experience

Study abroad experience in the UK

Being a student in the UK is very different to being a student in China.

I’m from Beijing and, compared to my study experience in China, my one-year master’s in management (MiM) course at UCL School of Management has been much more intensive and interactive.

The study abroad experience took me by surprise at first. The MiM professors at UCL get the students involved much more, using a variety of methods to ensure students take the initiative in learning, through case studies, role play, group work and presentations, for example. But, the most distinct difference is the teaching philosophy.

In China, if students are taught the numbers ‘1’ to ‘100’ in class, they would then be expected to try and remember as many of these numbers as they possibly can. But, they would only be subjected to an exam that tests, maybe 20 random numbers, out of the original 100. However, this is not the case in the UK. Here, professors might only teach the numbers from ‘1’ to ‘50’, but students are then expected to explore further and learn the numbers ‘50’ to ‘100’ by themselves. And when they are subjected to tests, the contents will cover all 100 numbers.

In other words, I would say that the UK is different to China because students are expected to take more initiative in their studies. The educational purpose seems to be more focused on honing the skills to learn and a passion for knowledge. Although this may sound exciting, to study abroad can be a daunting challenge during the first few weeks or months for a student who has only previously attended schools in China.

While studying abroad can be difficult, I am enjoying all of the resources. I’ve received amazing career support and have access to MiM networking events, one-on-one CV checks and mock interviews that are exclusively for management students. Plus, in the first few weeks, people from the likes of Goldman Sachs, IBM, London Stock Exchange, and Deloitte came [to campus] and presented their graduate programs.

For me, being located in London has advantages that being in China doesn’t. I’m at the center of the UK and have been so impressed by UCL School of Management’s campus at Canary Wharf where we’re a step closer to world-famous financial giants. I hope that, with skyscrapers housing top-tier investment banks just a few minutes’ walk away, more networking and application opportunities will open the door to a financial career. It may sound contrary but I love the UK’s weather too! There are not the same extremes of climate and temperature that there are in Beijing.

My best piece of advice for anyone who is considering studying abroad for business school, as I was a year ago, would be to fully participate – not just in class, but to also look for opportunities to enroll in practical activities. Many of my MiM classmates enrolled in a mobile app course, with the aim of designing an app with other students, or in a consultancy project, where students act as consultants to a UK-based SME to help them solve problems.

Main tag

Yue Chen is a master's in management student at UCL School of Management.

Tags used in this blog post