Junhan Xu

International Business BSc

It’s important to communicate with people from different backgrounds about their own ways of doing business.

Why did you choose to study International Business?

In high school, I was interested in business, and we talk about business a lot within the family. I felt that this was going to be my field and, since I’ve been studying business and talking with the lecturers and other students, I’ve grown to like it more and more.

What attracted you to Kent?

The most important reason for me was that it is in Canterbury and I really like Canterbury! I did a lot of research before I came to the UK and I love the fact that Canterbury is a historic city but it’s more than that too. I very much hope that, despite the pandemic, I will be able to graduate in the Cathedral.

Had you lived outside China before you came to study at Kent?

It was my first time coming to the UK. I thought I would experience a big culture shock but actually I didn’t because I always met friendly people and good teachers. I also did two foundation years in China where we learnt about Western culture, so that helped too.  

How have you enjoyed the course – what have been the highlights for you?

I’ve especially enjoyed the cross-cultural aspects. It’s important to have the cutting-edge expertise that you get at KBS [Kent Business School] but I also think it’s important to communicate with people from different backgrounds about their own ways of doing business, in their own countries and cultures. I hope to explore this more by doing a Master’s degree.

What about the teaching?

I was partway through my second year when the UK went into its first lockdown, and I came back home to China last summer. To begin with I had some technical issues with online teaching but I contacted my lecturers and they were really helpful going over the content I’d missed. Once I got used to the new way of learning, it was fine and I don’t think having to learn online has had a negative impact on me.

Have you been able to interact with fellow students?

Yes, we are all using social media anyway so it is not such a problem for uni students. Even for things like group projects and presentations, we used Microsoft Teams to meet and plan our work, then we just used WhatsApp to keep in touch. Luckily ,with my group we were able to schedule meetings despite being in different time zones.

What do you think of the facilities available at Kent?

I showed a friend from another university around the Sibson building [the base for Kent Business School] and he wanted to come to Kent! It’s so new and big, and the facilities are so good. I also want to emphasise how good the library is too, especially the e-learning resources. I think our uni has invested a lot in the facilities and that helps students a lot.

Did you live on campus?

Yes, in first year I lived in Keynes College. I had an en-suite room and then shared a kitchen with seven other people from five different countries. It was a great experience and I made some good friends.

What about social life – how did you spend your time when you weren’t studying?

I played badminton and sometimes basketball, and I went to the gym three times a week. Kent Sport is so good. I’d also recommend the food – you can get food from all over the world in Canterbury, even though the city is not that big. There’s a Mexican restaurant that I especially like and am looking forward to being able to visit again.

Are you in any societies?

Yes, I’m actually chair of the Kent Chinese Society and when we were on campus we did a lot of stuff – we had a Chinese New Year gala every year, some food festivals and a Chinese Voice night. When the Covid outbreak began, we helped to distribute masks supplied by the Chinese embassy.  The other society I am in is called Trekent and it’s a rambling and hiking society. I always like to explore new places, and going with other students to find beautiful views like the white cliffs of Dover was a great experience.

What kind of careers support have you had?

I have attended a lot of the careers presentations. I really recommend the careers service to other students. They can help with your CV, virtual interviews, even psychometric testing. I applied for internships in China last summer and the careers team helped me to prepare my CV. I succeeded in getting an internship doing PR work for an American company based in Shanghai.

Do you think your internship helped you when you returned to your degree studies?

Oh, yes! It was hard work and a lot of pressure but I learned a lot from it about how uni study connects with the real business world. It’s one of the main reasons why I want to go and do a Master’s because I feel there is so much more to explore to prepare me for a future career.

 What do you hope to do as a career?

I would like to work for a consulting company. Eventually, I might want to set up my own company and I have done an entrepreneurship module as part of my degree, but first I want to learn in a big company how the structures work and how people connect.

 How do you think you have developed as a person during your degree?

I’ve become more open minded. Learning with people from different backgrounds – students and lecturers – has helped me to see that there is more than one way of looking at things. And I’ve become more global too. I have lived in China for more than 18 years and I’m looking forward to exploring new opportunities in different places.

Finally, what advice would you give to prospective students?

I would say have the courage to explore and embrace different cultures and different lives. People at Kent are so friendly, teachers are so nice and teammates are so good. Take advantage of the resources the uni provides and don’t waste your time. Enjoy life here!