March 9, 2015, by International students

My inspiration to study in the UK

Having an older brother who studied in the UK when I was still a child, I grew up with a curiosity for British culture and a dream of studying abroad. My brother studied in Grantham for a few years and the whole family witnessed his change from a moderate student in Hong Kong to a knowledgeable, independent and well-rounded person.

I literally thought it was something I would go through as my brother did. The particularly close relationship between my mum and me made me sceptical about whether I was going to leave her for a few years, and she really wanted to keep me in Hong Kong too. What I took for granted didn’t come easily to me, due to family pressure and the daunting misconceptions people shared about living abroad. Instead, this was a big choice for me to make: to go or to stay. It was not easy for an indecisive person like me. My nails were digging into the palms of my hands during those sleepless nights, struggling to make the right decision.

Eventually, I decided to take a leap of faith to pursue my dream. I was fuelled by my inner spirit, pushed by encouragements from friends and lured by an irresistible offer from a school here in England.

I’m an adventurer, I like to travel, as much as possible. For me, living in my home country throughout my lifetime is really not for me, it does not offer any excitement, challenging opportunities except boredom. Especially as I grew up with listening to my brother’s foreign anecdotes. I was longing to experience all those and fitting myself into the environment. He was always telling me about valuable friendships he made with British students, sometimes with funny cultural shocks, travel accidents he came across and the peaceful learning and living atmosphere here. All of his words crossed my mind, and I was really driven to experience this cultural exchange.

Although Hong Kong has a well-established education system, with a number of top-class universities and a talented pool of international students, stepping out from my comfort zone is entirely different. I wanted to take this chance to develop personal skills, to be an independent young adult; I wanted to experience foreign education, to have some multicultural knowledge and I wanted to learn more about myself to see who I actually am, what can I do and to challenge my capacity. Britain is renowned around the world for its excellent education, and I realised it is a place where I can fulfil my wishes.

Being an international student in UK for the third year, I indeed know so much more about myself. I found that I don’t like doing housekeeping; I realised that so much education and knowledge are needed for me to know more about the world. I familiarised myself in unfamiliarity. To look back at the days when the difficult decision made my head spin, it was absolutely unnecessary; I never regret coming, and I am having a great time here.


Paula Chung, an international student from Hong Kong studying BA International Media and Communication Studies at The University of Nottingham.

Posted in AcademicCultural integrationStudy abroad