I wanted to combine my knowledge of French from my A level with something a bit different. Asian Studies struck me as very interesting, and also gave me the chance to study another language – in my case, Mandarin.
I’ve enjoyed French philosophy and learning about various forms of nationalism: Indian and Chinese.
We get lots of different types of students for Asian Studies, because it’s offered as a joint honours. There are philosophy students, religious studies students, people studying languages. It’s a good mix, with diverse input during classes.
I split it between France and China, with about five months in each. It was a challenging, but fun and rewarding experience.
I went to Université Grenoble Alpes. It was located in the Alps, as the name would suggest. There was lots of cheese and fondue, essentials of the alpine diet.
It was really fun – I met lots of cool French people and Erasmus students. A lot of Kent students went there as well. I studied some great French literature and culture modules. In my spare time I travelled around France with friends.
I went to United International College in Zhuhai, which is in the south, close to Hong Kong. The culture was very different and the university culture was very regulated and disciplined – it was good for getting things done.
I travelled to different regions of China and saw how the country differed from region to region, with different cultures and languages depending on the area. The dialects of Mandarin differ according to the area. That was the one thing that really stood out for me. It made me want to explore more of the country.
It made me grow up quickly, having to sort things out myself. Linguistically and socially, you’re dropped in at the deep end and have to adapt swiftly. So I’d say that I’m a bit more mature and better prepared for life after university.
I chose to do a dissertation connected to Asian Studies.
It’s not compulsory, but I’d recommend doing one – I’m enjoying it. It’s about the debate and social commentary on perspectives of jihadi terrorism: of how discourse in the public domain affects views of terrorism. My title is Discourse and Reality in Debates of ISIS.
I was the social secretary for the French society in my second year, and I played cricket. I’ve done some rock climbing and taken part in an investment society. There are lots of opportunities to join things.
I’m considering doing a Master’s, applying for graduate schemes and even just securing a job. I’m looking for temporary employment while I plan for the future.
Think about what you want to do at university other than just studying –the experience is not only academic. If you haven’t thought about what you want to do afterwards, then make sure you do so and plan your route towards that.
Choose which societies to join, so you’re not overwhelmed when you get here. Planning your workload, even in your first year, sets a good precedent for the rest of your time at university. Think about how to maximise your time because university doesn’t last that long.