Graduation stories – a view from China11 September 2013
When Mo Hu – Phoebe to her friends – first arrived in the UK, she couldn’t speak much English. However, now fluent, she has just graduated with Honours in Human Resource Management and is about to start her first job.
Here, she tells us about her time at Abertay, and what other students coming from China should expect when they first arrive.
"When I arrived at Abertay I was very excited. I had wanted to come to the UK ever since I was a little girl. And although I didn’t know much about the geography of the UK when I applied, I’m really glad I chose to come to Scotland and Dundee.
"After studying English for one year at Dundee College I had a meeting with one of the Student Recruitment Officers at Abertay, and it was around that time that Abertay started to offer the course, which is what I’d always wanted to do.
"I knew I would need a good level of English before I could enrol on that course, so I did a two month intensive language course at the university before I started.
"English is an international language, and it’s becoming more and more important in China – if you want to find a good job or be able to join an international company, you need a good level of English to be able to do that. So the pre-sessional course was a great start for me. I’m now fluent in English, and I think being at Abertay really helped me achieve that.
"It’s a small university, but is very multi-cultural. You can find so many nationalities on campus, and for foreigners it’s always easier to start by getting to know other foreigners, because you all have the same feelings of being an outsider. And since you are all new to the environment, there are so many adventures you will want to try together, which is great, because the only language you have in common is English, so you really get the chance to speak it and improve.
"It’s not like being at a big university where all the Chinese people just stick together and speak to each other in Chinese!
"To meet new people and learn new skills, you need to get to know people from different cultures. And Abertay is a great place to do that.
"When you arrive, you get a lot of individual attention. You won’t feel lost here – there is always help and support. Just don’t be shy to ask – it costs nothing to do it. And always remember: to speak in broken English, it’s the one who’s listening who’s suffering, not you, so don’t worry too much!
"Although there are a lot of cultural differences between China and Scotland, the important thing is to be aware that these differences exist and to be open-minded. There aren’t any good cultural or bad cultural differences – they’re just different! Everything was new for me when I arrived and still I am learning new things sometimes, which is great – life is full of adventure.
"For example, I’ve tried all the traditional Scottish foods while I’ve been here – haggis, porridge, Irn Bru, fish and chips – and, although they won’t become my table dishes, I’d definitely recommend giving them a go!
"Abertay offers so much help for international students, both socially and academically – there are student helpers throughout the academic year to help with any problems, and the International Office, academic staff, and Student Services are wonderful. It doesn’t matter what kind of problem you are facing, you can always find the right help.
"I really enjoyed my time at Abertay, and I made life-long friends here. Graduation was fantastic, and I was very lucky to have found a permanent job before I graduated – in the current economic downturn it isn’t an easy thing to do. But I got some great advice from the Careers Centre who explained how to write an impressive CV, how to behave in an interview and so on, so the whole experience has been really good.
"Although I’m excited to be starting my career, I’ll really miss the university and all the friends I’ve made here. From not really being able to speak much English when I first arrived, to now having a permanent job, Abertay has been incredibly supportive and I would recommend the experience to everyone."
As well as starting her new job - with which we wish her the best of luck - Phoebe will be managing our new Weibo account. Please feel free to connect with us on there!