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Testing questions: Xin Qu, LSE student

date:Jul 12,2013 source:意腾留学网 editorial staff:linan clicks:

In the second of our series on international admissions, Xin Qugives the student perspective on why English language counts”
In the second of our series on international admissions, Xin Qugives the student perspective on why English language counts
A good level of English gives you crucial confidence, says LSE international student Xin Qu. Photograph: Xin Qu

What and where are you studying in the UK?
I am studying for an MSc in management at the London School of Economics and Political Science. I chose management because it is closely related to my career goal to be a management consultant and LSE because the two-year masters is an academically rigorous degree, while still designed to prepare students for a career.

I get rigorous training in the analytical skills needed for business but also access to the context in which institutional and global business managers must operate. London is an unparalleled environment in which to live and study: a centre for government and law, Europe's leading financial market and a style-setting centre of cultural life, where there are plenty of opportunities, challenges and excitements for me whatever my interests.

When higher education opportunities are so plentiful back home, why were you so keen to study at a UK university?
I had actually been admitted to one of the top five universities in China, but I still chose to study at the UK because I wanted to experience something different. I was fascinated by the UK's history, culture, education system and the people's lifestyle. All of these are different from what I have known for the past 20 years and I wanted to experience them in person.

Studying in the UK will also help improve my English, which is extremely important today if one wants to perform at a global stage. Many multinational companies in China require a high degree of English fluency in their recruitment processes. I believe two years' study and life experience in an English-speaking country will be a great plus for my future career development.

How did you prepare for your English-language test?
I prepared for the TOEFL test for about three months. During this time, I received support from my friends who had taken the test before. From what they said, I got a good understanding of the test and summarised the most suitable way for my own preparation.

Another support I got was from English study forums, where people who have taken the test, who are preparing for the test and who are thinking of taking the test in the future share their studying materials and experiences together. Most of my preparation came from such forums.

How did you feel when your certificate finally came through?
I was excited and relaxed at the same time. I certainly didn't expect to get full marks in the writing and reading section. That was a real surprise and also a great encouragement to me. I was a little disappointed about my oral section score since it did not match my expectations.

But generally, I was satisfied with the result. Since I met most universities' requirements, it,felt like a passport to my degree, a stepping stone to my future overseas study.

Why does a good entry level of English matters to the university experience?
Studying at a UK university means doing a lot of reading, essay writing and projects to obtain a satisfying result, and none of these can be achieved without a good level of English. Personally, I have eight courses a year, and each course requires about 35 essential readings. I also have to do group projects with other students, attend seminars and express my own opinions, which all have to be done in English.

But the university experience is not all about study – social networking and extracurricular activities also play an important role. A good level of English gives you the confidence to communicate with others and blend into the environment.

What has been the most challenging aspect of your first year in the UK – and your biggest highlight?
The biggest challenge has been the culture difference between the west and the east. Before I came here, I had never attended seminars where I was expected to talk aloud about my own opinions. What I was used to was sitting there, listening to the lecturer and taking notes. I was very nervous when I was asked to express my opinion, let alone talking on my own initiative. I was also not used to attending social networking events, nor did I feel comfortable with the western life style.

However I quickly adjusted myself to all of these. The highlight has been securing an internship in a financial services company. I believe it is not enough to merely learn the academic theories in class; the important thing is to put them into practice, especially for us management students.

All of my classmates were looking for internship opportunities, so the competition was very fierce. And compared with local students, we international students had to overcome more obstacles in this process, such as language and culture. I managed to get it because I put much effort in polishing my CVs and cover letters, and attending career fairs. I think my English ability also helped me a lot.

What has surprised you most about the UK university experience?
Before I came to the UK, I had never thought of doing so much reading within such a short time. At the beginning of my first term, I received four course packs, each about 600 pages long. Then the next semester I received another four course packs, and to pass the final exams, I had to read all the essays contained in them. That was a huge challenge, especially for us non-native English speakers.

It was that moment I realised the importance of a good level of English. Through the preparation process for the TOEFL test, I had done lots of reading and writing practice, which helped me to improve my reading and writing speed and comprehension ability. If I had not gone through the test, I would have suffered much more in my studies.

What do you think international students bring to UK universities and their wider communities?
I think international students contribute much diversity to UK universities by building bridges between the UK and other countries. With different cultures, educational backgrounds and languages, international students bring global perspective into UK classrooms, making universities more diverse and energetic.

Through interaction with domestic students, international students bring new ideas and thoughts to the university too. They also contribute by getting involved in various volunteer works and supporting local businesses and communities with their spending on rent, transportation and other expenses.

Besides this, compared with domestic students, international students pay higher tuition fees, which bring the university funding to provide both better teaching facilities and higher education quality.

What are your career plans after graduation?
I am determined to start my career as a consultant and all my career objectives are based on the personal belief that I would like be a person who can give others a positive influence and a strong support when they are in need.I am studying at LSE to better equip me with the professional knowledge and skills I will need. Then I hope to work for a consulting company for three years to accumulate some practical experience before applying for an MBA programme. In 10 years, I hope to become a professional executive – to help others in need is my priority, in my career as in my community activities.


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