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Tuesday 26-May-2015
【The Standard:Study in the UK】The upside of uni life

For international students, the first year at university can be a hectic and quite lonely affair. Joining a society can help break up your day-to-day routine, meet new people outside of university halls of residence and regular study groups and boost your CV and future career prospects.


After enrolling for my course at university in the UK, I was gripped with intrigue and excitement as the Freshers’ Fair drew near. I had made up my mind that I did want to retreat into my shell and view social activities as a distraction from studying. The day of the Fair arrived and over 100 stalls must have been crammed into the main hall, each sporting an array of colours, ribbons, over-enthusiastic stallholders and sign-up sheets. The scene was a sight to behold.


Keep your interests alive

University life, of course, brings with it learning responsibilities and a buzzing social life. However, it’s important to not lose sight of your passions and interests. I had become interested in entrepreneurship and politics at A-level and followed this up by becoming engaged in related business and politics societies. It is worth signing up for societies based on your interests, and you can choose to become a member once you have attended introductory meetings and events.


Fight past disappointments and broaden your horizons

I was never a “sporty type” at secondary school, particularly when it came to team sports such as football and hockey. However, I did not let my past frustrations totally put me off sport. It is important to approach Freshers’ Fair, and university as a whole, with an open mind - and this mindset enabled me to sign up for cricket as well as more uncommon sports such as lacrosse and badminton.


I was surprised by the number of original and slightly unusual societies which attracted a great deal of interest at the Fair. I remember groups for pirate enthusiasts and mud wrestlers loudly trumpeting their cause. I did not quite get into mud wrestling but I very much admired the groups’ organisers who were not embarrassed to stand out a touch.


Feel part of the university and fight for your own causes

In their first weeks at university, international students may feel a little lonely and alienated from the wider student community. Joining societies certainly gives these students a chance to make new friends and the feeling that they are worthy newcomers to a university. It’s all about a sense of place and pride.


Additionally, students DO have a voice and these societies provide them with a platform to let people hear it. Environmentalists, vegetarians and feminists can all join forces in a society. These groups are all eager to accept new members and hear fresh input.


Overall, there are numerous benefits to joining a society. And joining a group relevant to your dream career can only serve to boost your profile and CV.

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Education Experts

Samuel Chan, the winner of Alumni Awards 2017, is the founder of Britannia. He had studied in the UK since the age of 9 for 15 years and achieved his master degree in International Political Economy at University of Warwick. Now he shares his experiences and professional advice in education columns in Hong Kong’s major newspapers.


Mabel Chan is the Principal Consultant of Britannia. Having studied in both the UK and the US, she is an expert in school matching for overseas education. She writes education columns for Sing Tao Daily and The Standard, and answers questions arising from parents and students patiently.


MB Cheung, our senior consultant, has been writing education columns for major local newspapers for more than 25 years. With his experience and unique insights, he shares a variety of tips and advice on overseas education for the readers (and DSE students)

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