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Tuesday 13-Aug-2019
【The Standard】The experience of studying at the University of Nottingham

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.

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Education Experts

With an entrepreneurial spirit spreading across online, print and broadcast media, Samuel is an award-winning educational consultant and celebrated columnist.

As a leader in the field of education, he was honoured with the British Council’s Study UK Alumni Award and his most prestigious achievement to date includes the founding of Hong Kong’s premier educational brands - Britannia StudyLink, Anglo Belgravia and Ascent Prep.

In addition to streamlining the UK independent school application process for Hong Kong families and spearheading the first official UKiset-accredited educational centre in Hong Kong, Samuel has led his company, Britannia, to becoming one of Asia’s leading brands with diverse clients and distinguished institutions ranging from Radley College to HSBC Bank and Hong Kong Telecom.


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)

#School Analysis
Considering its reputation, Oundle School may not catch up to Eton, Wycombe Abbey and else top elite schools. However, Oundle’s academic performance is among the best in the United Kingdom. As a traditional top boarding school, Oundle pays huge attentions to student’s holistic development, by providing them diversified extra-curricular activities. In addition, Oundle still implements the House Dining System, which is rarely remaining among uk boarding schools. It is also one of the reasons why Hong Kong parents making a beeline for.
The ratio of teachers and students in Bromsgrove School is 1:8, which is lower than the average among uk boarding schools. In addition, according to my school visit experience, Bromsgrove has the best facilities, that it is undoubtedly one of the best three campuses in the UK. Besides, Bromsgrove spares no expense to provide students comfortable environment, it even invests on the nearby hotel and transfers it into dormitories. As a result, students can possess the “5-star enjoyment” on campus. To conclude, Bromsgrove is definitely a prospective and globalised uk boarding school.
Brighton College is Britain’s premier private school and one of the Hong Kong parents’ favourites. To understand a boarding school, despite of looking at its educational tenet, diversified extra-curricular activities and academics results, it is essential to observe the boldness of the principal. 10 years ago, after Mr. Richard Cairns taking up the duty of the Brighton College’s principal, the school ranking raises from the 150th to the top 20th. In addition to promoting educational reformation, Mr Cairns is such a good principal, that he still strives for maintaining students’ curiosity at the same time.
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