Study abroad for the first time! – LeeJing Chan

September has been exciting for me as I have taken a big step in my life: Study abroad.  The journey from my country to Lancaster was long and tiring, luckily I was offered a help by a friendly student representative in settling down. My room is so beautiful which I thought it was a hotel room at first.    Later I found out that Lancaster University has earned the title of the ‘Best University Halls’ for six years running in the National Student Housing Survey and indeed, it deserves it.

I don’t think I imagined just how big it would be in terms of the number of students studying in this university until I was in the super long queue to enter Great Hall for Fresher’s Fair. It struck me then, that I was just one of many hundreds of students in the hall waiting to be introduced to a new stage of our lives: university. Lancaster University is a massive cultural mix and it is exciting to learn with people from different cultural backgrounds. During the first week, I managed to collect contacts of my classmates from all over the world. I strongly feel that this diverse learning environment helps me to expand my horizon not only academically but also culturally.

The best thing I like about Lancaster University is that they are very supportive in terms of giving career advice and insights to future working environment. Employability skills and personal development workshops are arranged throughout the year to prepare students for employment.  Besides, there are a lot of clubs and societies which are related to my course such as Finance and Investment Society, Financial Strategy Society and Economics Society. The first two weeks I have been busy joining introductory talks of different societies and I really looking forward to their activities including networking events with the Big Four which will give me added advantages in the future.

What I like about lecture here is the clear explanation by the lecturers. Besides, lecture slides are shared to the students before lectures and I found this is very useful because I could ask lecturers and pay extra attention to things that I don’t understand in class.

Outside of university life, there’s rather a lot to explore. During the second weekend, I went to the town to see some of Lancaster’s highlights. The Georgian Architecture is indeed a sight to behold. There are a lot of coffee shops which I found are great places for me to relax during weekends. The smell of coffee permeates the air as I wandered the streets, and I can sample everything from locally-brewed real ales to delicious home-made soups and cakes. Besides, I was fortunate enough to join Lancaster Music Festival and I was exposed to the musical abundance, excellence and diversity of Lancaster. There were some musical bands performing along the street and the performances were very unique with its local characteristics.  I was thrilled and mesmerised by the beauty of the city and culture.

Well, being so far away from friends and family does have its downsides. I believe feeling homesick is a natural reaction that most of us experience when we have to leave people that we love behind.  However, it’s easier than you think to make friends here, so you’re unlikely to feel lonely. The feeling reduces when I get along with new people and get involved in a new life. University life is like all adventures, it will have its ups and downs. It’s been a good start and I am ready to face challenges ahead and treasure every moment I have in university!