Newcastle, the UK
Have you ever thought about living and studying in the UK? Which city would you choose?
UK universities rank highest in global university ranking and have good reputations. That's probably the reason why so many international students want to study in the UK.
Leah is currently a student in Newcastle. Read the conversation below to find out how she decided to study there, what she is studying and what she is planning to do in the future.
Leah: I'm studying in the UK now. I got here in January this year.
Reni: Oh, that's great. Which city are you staying in?
Leah: I'm in Newcastle now, but a few months ago I went to Manchester to do a short course. Then, I went back home and applied for university in the UK.
Reni: I see. What are you studying?
Leah: My major is Cross-Cultural Communication, but now I'm taking the pre-master's courses. If I pass the exams, I'll progress to a master's degree.
Reni: And how long is this programme?
Leah: It's from January till September. It's not that long. We have three semesters in total.
Reni: Sounds good. What do you think about your subjects? Do you like what you're studying?
Leah: I'm taking the compulsory courses to prepare myself for studying at postgraduate level. We have five modules: International Business and Management, EAP (English for Academic Purposes), social and cultural studies, and a few more. It's really academic and the way we study here is totally different from China. I mean, I'm still getting used to everything.
Reni: I see. What made you choose Newcastle?
Leah: Well, even though I was accepted in other universities, I really wanted to study at Newcastle University. I checked their website to see what courses they offer, and came across Cross-Cultural Communication.
Reni: What did you study before that?
Leah: Well, I didn't major in this field. I studied Financial Management, but that major was chosen by my parents. I didn't like it, actually, and I don't feel like I have taken away much from it.
Reni: Where in China are you from?
Leah: I'm from a city called Ningbo. I'm not sure if you've heard it before. It's south of Shanghai.
Reni: Yes, sounds familiar. Did you study there?
Leah: Yeah, I studied in my city. I didn't go to college in another city.
Reni: How old are you?
Leah: I'm 24 years old now.
Reni: Well, I think you have a lot of time to explore your interests and to decide what you want to do in the future.
Leah: Yes, I think so. I feel like it's a really amazing experience for me to come here because it's a very different country and I'm still getting used to everything, especially the food, the transport and the teaching style as well. You know, culture shock. Anyway, I'm glad I can experience what living in the UK is like.
Reni: But you've already been there for about three weeks, so I think that's enough to get used to it.
Leah: Yes. And I think the experience that I had in Manchester a few months ago helped me a lot as I've been to the UK before. To be honest, my situation was a bit complicated when I was applying for university. I arrived in Newcastle later than anyone else and I missed the orientation week. Basically, when I got here, it took me some time to catch up and I had to deal with everything by myself. That was a little bit frustrating.
Reni: Was your visa delayed? Was that the reason?
Leah: The main reason why I was late was because I got my graduate certificate later than others and I registered for my course later.
Reni: Are there any other Chinese students in your university?
Leah: Sure. Actually, there are a lot of international Chinese students nowadays. In fact, the UK is a very popular country for Chinese students who want to study abroad.
Reni: I suppose so. And what are your goals after you finish your education? Are you planning to look for a job in the UK or go back to China?
Leah: I will definitely go back to China because my friends and parents are there and I'm here just to study something different. I'm not planning on working here – at least not right now.
Reni: Well, I think that's a great place to be where you can use English every day.
Leah: Yes, and everybody is really friendly and polite in the UK. They always say 'Thank you', 'Excuse me', 'Sorry'. In my country, we don't say 'Sorry' all the time. We say 'Thank you', but we don't say 'Sorry' a lot unless you make a mistake or something, and you apologise.
Reni: What is your impression of Newcastle and if you compare it with Manchester, which city do you like most?
Leah: Newcastle is smaller, I think, and it's convenient for me. When I was in Manchester, I lived in a homestay and it would normally take me about 20 minutes to go to university by bus and the transport fee there is quite high. It cost me like £15 per week. In Newcastle, I don't really have to pay for that because I'm living in the city centre and the school is in close proximity. There are also supermarkets around where I go and buy food.
Reni: Do you live on campus?
Leah: Yes, it's a dormitory, I think.
Reni: Yes, dormitories are located on campus.
Leah: Well, the reason why I love living in Newcastle is because it's a very walkable city. I mean, you can get anywhere you want on foot.
Reni: That's great because you can save money on transport.
Leah: Yeah, definitely. Before coming here, I was worried about the transport cost but now I know that there's nothing to worry about as it takes me two minutes to get to university and there's no need to pay for transport.
Reni: How about Ningbo?
Leah: My city... Well, I mean, in China, the price of transport is not very high. I think, in comparison with the transport fee in the UK, it's much cheaper. And in my city the transport is actually really convenient, but China is really big, so if you travel somewhere, it takes a long time. It's much longer than here in the UK. Everything is in the neighbourhood, so it's convenient here.
Reni: Yes, everything is withing walking distance.
Reni: How about food prices?
Leah: The prices of eggs, milk, bread, or chicken are relatively low compared with prices in China, but fruit and vegetables are more expensive.
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