December 5, 2014, by International students

My life in ABC as a Chevening Scholar at Nottingham

Yuhan Robin Hood

Yuhan at the Robin Hood statue

It is exactly the 2 months’ celebration today after my arrival at The University of Nottingham. I even did not notice that time flew by so quickly without a second thought, because my story about the life here could not be described as boring words. Let’s start with ABC.

A. Awful vs Accommodated

My first day of arrival in Nottingham is ever the most awful one so far in my dozens of international travelling experiences. I took a Qatar Airways flight from Shanghai and transferred from Doha after almost 21 hours. And I was stuck in the National Express bus for another 5 hours for the weekend traffic jam on the way from Heathrow Airport to Nottingham. It was a deep, dark and absolute quiet Autumn night after I jumped off a taxi and knocked the reception room of Cripps Hall. I remembered clearly that such a kind senior-aged lady greeted me with the unforgettable words “Darling, do not worry.” She quickly called the security man and brought me a bath towel and bedding cloth, and helped to find a tiny room available, even though it was her first day for the night shift and did not get any pre-notice that I would come in unexpectedly at midnight. I was saved and accommodated eventually.

B. Busy vs Brilliant

Before I left for Nottingham, I had been working for local Chinese government for more than 15 years. I had been away from a university campus for 17 years and never got any education background outside of China. I was driven by a feeling of loss and depression on the Orientation week, when I was told to finish a 1,500-word formative essay within 15 days. I tried to contact my tutor and talked with my classmates, who came from 10 different countries with different ages and background. The words of “Keep calm and come to ask me” also are echoed in my conversation with the teaching staff in my Department of Sociology, when I was struggling with essay preparation, group discussion and seminar research. I survived and was not defeated at last.

I started to recognise that there are so many brilliant people around on the International Scholarship Awarding Ceremony organised by the University International Office. I met the other five Chevening Scholars and my Programme Officer James Farren, who came specially for the celebration. It was an overwhelmingly warm and enthusiastic afternoon and evening with traditional English tea and Scone Cakes, and a happy and open gala with more than 200 scholars under different scholarships.

The University of Nottingham's 2014/15 Chevening scholars with Ira Pozon and James Farren

The University of Nottingham’s 2014/15 Chevening scholars with Ira Pozon (far left) and James Farren (back row, centre)

C. Complicated vs Convenient

I visited Nottingham University for a quick pass-by business trip 15 years ago, and had not noticed it was such a big campus until I set a real foot on the University Park Campus. There are so many facilities and complexes on a single campus, which I could name a few: full-functioned Portland Building with a hair-dresser room even, cosily-designed study room in the corner of Law and Social Science Building, and a sports centre which is open 24/7. And my first try on searching for a Chinese-version book on the local government governance shocked me after I was guided step by step by the IT service staff and a volunteer student. High above the second level of bookshelf, are 10 brand-new versions published in 2012.

One week ago, I was invited by a programme called International Family Link, which pairs international students with friendly people from the local community, and met with my Hostess Vicky during the face-to-face match-up event. Actually Vicky herself just moved to The University of Nottingham from Scotland 1 year ago, and coincidently both of us had a daughter at the same age. When we laughed over the most embarrassing episodes we had ever come across in getting settled down in Nottingham life, we are totally convinced by the fact that longer you stay here, the happier you will become. Definitely my future story about Nottingham University will not be limited to ABC.

Yuhan Zhang, a Chevening scholar from China studying a Master of Public Administration at The University of Nottingham.

This post is also available in: Chinese (Simplified)

Posted in AcademicAccommodationScholarships