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【The Standard】The experience of studying at the University of Nottingham

UK University


Last week in this column I introduced the University of Nottingham. Now I want to tell you a bit more about this place and try to give a sense of what it’s like to be an international student there.

I spent several years studying at the University of Nottingham after being at Gresham’s School, a British boarding school.

Though you might think that the experience of living and studying at these two institutions would be similar, you’d be wrong.

They may only be 190 kilometers away physically but in other ways, they are a world apart.

As a university student, your life is much more your own than it is as a boarding school student.

Staying in a hall of residence, which is what most students do in their first year, there can be a slight resemblance to a dormitory, especially if the accommodation is catered with a private room.

However, moving into a shared house for your second and third years, it’s a case of learning to manage your own life. You must balance your studying with doing your own washing, cooking, shopping and participating in any sports or societies that you might be involved with.

In essence, it’s all about learning to be a young, independent adult and for international students, there’s the added element of doing this in a foreign culture.

Somewhere like Nottingham was, and is, an excellent university for doing this. This year, it was named International University of the Year for 2019 by The Times and The Sunday Times newspapers in their annual Good University Guide. This strong, global approach is no doubt in part due to having campuses in China and Malaysia and in part due to the influence of the city of Nottingham.

There is cultural diversity here that comes through in many ways, not least the food. As an Asian student, if you miss the taste of home and you’re cooking for yourself then you can easily get hold of Asian ingredients. When eating out there are also many options. My pick for dim sum was always Yun’s (now renamed Lucky Restaurant). For Thai food, Sukho Thai was a real favorite of mine.

Then, for a sense of community, there’s the Chinese Students Society. This runs various events and is one of the largest societies of its kind across the UK’s universities.

Of course, you should try to integrate and enjoy British life too and one of the best ways to do this is through sport.

Nottingham has also been awarded Sports University of the Yea” for 2019 in the Good University Guide. (This is the first time in the history of the guide that a university has been given two awards.)

Sport at university needn’t be intimidating. You can choose to be very competitive or just to have fun. The facilities here are excellent for top-level athletes but, equally, there’s no need to commit to intense training schedules.

Activities here range from classic British sports such as football, rugby, cricket and tennis to more unusual ones such as canoe polo and rock climbing.

The academic options are equally diverse.

As well as staples such as law, medicine and accounting there are courses such as industrial economics with insurance, international management, and music with philosophy.

There are also several international foundation programs here that allow you to feed into a degree course after a year of preparatory study.

International clearing is now open, and representatives from the University of Nottingham are coming to Hong Kong soon if you would like to meet them to discuss your options.

To find out more about clearing availability, visit our website or and we can guide you through the process.