My name is Xingyu, a sophomore from China. My major is Politics & International Relations. As most Chinese students choose to major in business, there are no other Chinese students in my study circle.
I initially knew little about western singers, movies or food, and so I found it difficult for me to fit in with Europeans because of cultural and language differences.
I do have some other good international friends, but they are not from China. I have realised that they all have their own families and jobs, so we seldom get to communicate with each other except for study purposes. However, as our major has a Mandarin course option, I have been able to make some friends who have chosen to study Mandarin. I’ve also created a Mandarin Group on WhatsApp to assist those wishing to study and improve their Mandarin, and also to help learn about Chinese culture.
In terms of study, when I first entered university, the difference in language and learning methods was a big challenge to me. I found it difficult to take notes, look up materials in the library, and write references and so on, despite my English language skills. However, after a year’s study, I feel I have adapted and relaxed into the British way of learning pretty well.
However, perhaps due to my natural introversion, I still find there are some problems in my communications. For example, I was also quite afraid of creating and participating in presentations. However, these problems have much improved since taking part in the Cultural Insight Workshops.
Cultural Insight Workshops
By chance, I found the project Cultural Insight and decided to participate in their workshops, with the significant purpose of making friends.
The aim of the project is to help foreign students integrate into British culture and improve their personal skills in study, work or social interaction and I have now attended three workshops altogether.
The first workshop was structured to help students understand British culture and life.
After taking part in the first activity, I was able to share this learning with one of my Italian classmates.
She has told me that she also found the workshop both interesting and useful.
The second workshop was designed to help students understand how to fit into a genuinely multicultural community.
It also taught ways to make friends quickly in a multicultural society.
The workshop also taught how to use LinkedIn to create our own social circles.
The third workshop was structured to help students improve their communication skills and how to fully and better express ideas.
These workshops were all interspersed with some interesting activities, such as teamwork with Lego, to make the workshops more interesting and engaging.
The programme of Cultural Insight workshops has been limited, but they have still enabled me to gain a lot of knowledge that I could not easily assimilate. It has definitely helped me improve my interpersonal and personal skills and also equip me to better adapt to and integrate into British culture.
In short, I have enjoyed and benefitted from the workshops on Cultural Insight.
Xingyu Liu is a Chinese international student pursuing an undergraduate degree in Politics and International Relations. She came to London after graduating from high school. She is taking beginners, Spanish classes. During her free time, she likes learning and practising Latin Dance and Ballroom Dance for dance competitions. She is a proud owner of two cats and enjoys taking care of them. She plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Chinese Studies upon graduation.