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My Experience of Queen’s and Belfast: A Chinese Student’s Perspective

Read why Chinese student Xinxin regrets nothing about the decision to study her LLM at Queen's!

Samson and Goliath cranes in Belfast

For most international students, adapting to a new environment is the biggest challenge upon arrival. I myself often feel stressed out by unfamiliar people, language, information gaps, culture, and even different weather.

Making the most of welcome week

Due to my delayed arrival when I first started at Queen’s, I missed welcome week, which provides effective help to new students to quickly adapt to study and life. This year, however, I participated in some of the activities during welcome week and shared my experience with the new students.

Students and Staff in the One Elmwood Students Union building

Help is always available for new students during and after welcome week

So, I encourage you to take part in the various activities or just have a walk around campus and the Cube when you arrive, appreciating the beautiful building views and finding more opportunities to attend various welcome events. I’m sure that you will feel relaxed and get a better understanding of what life is like at Queen's.

My goals while at Queen’s

While writing this blog, memories flood into my brain, bitter and sweet. Everything is brand new, and I have to start from scratch. The feeling is just like swimming in the ocean, confused and fearful. However, I tell myself that the most important thing is to stay calm so that I can find ways to get my studies and life well organised.

Student looking at MyFuture website on laptop

Visit MyFuture for the latest volunteering opportunities and graduate jobs!

Thus, my first decision was to narrow down the information gap as soon as possible. The first step I took was to divide my goals into three categories: life experience, academic study, and getting ready for the future. Then I started to find various activities, workshops, and boot camps via student email promotion and website resources like MyFuture.

Making use of digital resources

I can still remember the first workshop I attended to explore the digital campus, which was held by students. They assist with the use of digital applications like Canvas Student (currently Queen’s Online), Queen’s Sport, Qsis, Office 365 etc. In terms of finding content in the library, the librarian of the law school, Deborah, taught us how to use databases like Heinonline, Westlaw and Lexis in our academic research.

Four Students in McClay Library on desktops

Liaise with your subject librarian for information on digital resources at Queen's

I also learned OSCOLA with her in another session, which is the citation method in law studies. I still can remember the great help from Deborah, she had a very quick response to my enquiry about ordering the eBook on data protection and cybersecurity after I attended the information session held by the author and the law school.

Improving English language skills

In terms of academic study, the nature of law research and law terminology can be difficult at times. I have had a very happy and efficient time with Abbie Edgar who held a series of boot camps on research methods and academic writing; and I was invited to share my experience on the website of the Graduate School; and benefitted from great support from my teachers and dissertation supervisor.

Find out more about INTO Queen's

For English study, I benefitted a lot from sessional English courses, which are called INTO classes and include Irish culture, grammar, presentation, academic English, etc. The courses helped me to get well prepared for life, research and the dissertation process from the beginning of my studies and, more significantly, improved my skills in using English. Once my language skills improved, I became more and more confident, and my horizons broadened.

Getting Future Ready

However, being ‘ready for the future’ is never easy because it requires comprehensive employability skills. Don't worry, our university has a lot of resources to help, like the Future Ready Skills programme, Spotlight and Work Shadow series, stock market challenge, Real-world Consultancy, Student Ambassador Programme, and entrepreneur events like SFF and Dragon’s Den. The only thing you need to do is to keep an eye on MyFuture and choose whatever you are interested in.

From these activities, I worked with supportive mentors like Nathan who helped me with the job application, Brendan who helped me a lot in Real-world Consultancy and IoD (Institute of Director), and Louisa who offered me the opportunity to be a speaker at a China Fam event, building my confidence further. More surprisingly, some of the activities counted towards the Future-Ready Award, either single route or combined route.

Titanic building

The iconic Titanic Belfast

It is hard to express everything in this blog. I experienced a lot during my one-year master's programme, like clubs and societies, part-time job experience on and beyond campus, visiting key Belfast attractions like the Titanic Museum, hiking along coastal lines including Newcastle and Tollymore Forest Park, Cave Hill and Belfast Castle, Giant’s Causeway, Dark Hedges, Lurgan Park; enjoying the sunrise, sunset, and rainbows, undergoing various volunteering opportunities like One Young World Belfast 2023, celebrating the Chinese New Year with BT1 Accommodation and with friends…there are endless words in telling my experience.

Last but not least, good planning and a positive attitude are key tips from me. Nevertheless, if you want to know more about our campus, Belfast or any suggestions about time management or future career support from me, please do not hesitate to contact me. I will be glad to share more details with you!

Find out more

Chinese students: Admissions Guide

Student life in Belfast

More blogs by Chinese students

Xinxin Wang

International Commercial and Business Law | Postgraduate student | Tianjin, China

Hi, I'm Xinxin Wang from Tianjin, China. It has been a wonderful experience studying and living at Queen's University and in Belfast which was a brave decision for myself.

Because I had worked for more than 10 years and built a broad network in China, moving to Belfast meant that I had to start from zero in a new environment, therefore I hesitated for a long time before coming.

However, after I started my new life and studies, I knew I had made the right choice and was glad that I did not give up this opportunity. My experience at Queen's University has improved my expertise in business studies and employability, enhanced my interpersonal and problem-solving skills in a more complex environment and in a calm manner, and has changed my views towards working and life.

I highly recommend those who are struggling with work or confused about the future to come and study for a while. It's a good chance to take a breath and create a space to refresh ourselves.

Xinxin Wang