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International students

Shun Yan

Why did you choose to the University of Exeter?

I chose to study at the University of Exeter because the research facilities and professors here are second to none. The University is a member of the Russell Group and awarded a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). Furthermore, the engineering buildings have multiple labs for students to access. Thus, I know I would have adequate resources to support my individual projects and gain first-hand experience on various lab machines.

Describe your typical day at Exeter.

Wake up, have breakfast, attend morning lectures, have lunch, attend afternoon lectures, finish prework at Harrison (engineering building), leave university, go to the supermarket and buy grocery, go home, have dinner, leisure time, sleep.

What are the best aspects of studying within your department? 

  • Studying general engineering in year one so all students can have an all-rounded and basic engineering knowledge from which you specialise.
  • Fun and exciting field trips.
  • Excellent support system to look after students' academic achievement and wellbeing.
  • Grand Challenges are available to all students, which can broaden our horizons and gives the opportunity to discuss current global issues with students from different subject backgrounds.

How would you describe the vibe on campus?

Ethnically diverse, friendly, green & natural, relaxing, academic.

What activities did you take part in?

I joined the Archery Club, Latin and Ballroom Dancing Society. In addition, I participated on the student representative committee and Student Ambassador scheme. The society which I enjoyed the most was the archery club because I enjoyed meeting new friends outside my course and being part of a community that shared the same interest.

What particular skills are you gaining from this experience?

Apart from learning hard core engineering knowledge, I also developed interpersonal and teamwork skills via the social activities and roles that I participated in. To participate in more events, I also developed better time management and can manage stress with more maturity. All these experiences are invaluable as it allows me to experience the world outside my own educational bubble and develop resilience to face challenges ahead.

How have you dealt with any challenges/difficulties during your time at the University of Exeter?

To overcome linguistic challenges I joined several language training courses provided by the University and listened to English podcasts on the commute. Furthermore, I tried to start conversations with people around me as much as possible. When I felt stressed with my academic work or wellbeing, I would contact my personal tutor and ask for his advice. To overcome cultural differences, it's important to keep an open mind and show a sense of understanding and respect for others' beliefs and boundaries.

What’s the best thing about living in Exeter?

The best thing about living in Exeter is the peacefulness and natural scenery. It is pleasing to the eye to see all the lovely scenery on the way to the University. Also, I feel safe walking on the campus at night because the college security is very reliable, they provide 24 hours security services and keep students safe on campus.

Would you recommend Exeter to your friends?

I would highly recommend the University of Exeter to my friend because the engineering programme and facilities here are fantastic. The course has helped me understand engineering from a professional perspective and provided opportunities to access various innovation technology and advanced machinery. The professors are responsible and knowledgeable, and they care about the students' wellbeing and academic achievements sincerely.

Was there anything about your experiences at Exeter that surprised you?

I am surprised living far away from home and starting an independent life is not that difficult. At first, it was inevitably terrifying, but as I settled down at the Uni, I realised everyone was very easy-going and looking after myself is quite easy. I contact my family and friends at home via facetime regularly and I rarely feel homesick.

What advice would you give students planning on coming to the University of Exeter?

Coming to university is an exciting and adventurous experience for many students. My advice for freshers is to have a budget for weekly spending and have a planner to schedule events and tasks so that you know what to expect and don't run out of time. Also, it is a good idea to join the Exeter social media accounts, so you can receive the latest news and don't miss out on any fun activities. In addition, make the most of freshers' week, join societies and sports teams as they are an excellent chance to make new friends and develop a new hobby.

Has the University been supportive during your time here?

Yes, the University has been very supportive. I contacted the student service team multiple times for support and guidance about the issue I faced. Moreover, I am grateful that the wellbeing team and my personal tutors offered me a range of information and helpful guidance to get through tough times.

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