Joanne Chan (BA English Language and Literature) started her studies at the University this September after receiving the Hong Kong Outstanding Achievement Scholarship. Having found the transition from Hong Kong to Birmingham relatively easy, Joanne is already an active member of the student community and has becoming part of the Birmingham PASS Society where she recently attended a Public Speaking Competition.
What are you enjoying about studying in Birmingham?
My course is exactly how I imagined studying English to be. The curriculum for English in my secondary school never covered linguistics so everything I’m learning in the language part of my degree is new and exciting. The literature readings are well-chosen and generate enough interest that you would feel inclined to do additional research on the topic. I love that seminars take place on a collaborative floor and are conducted in such a manner that you feel your input matters when it comes to finding an answer.
What impact has your scholarship had on your time at Birmingham?
I’m so grateful to be at Birmingham as it is a result of the contributions of many different people – my parents who worked hard to send me to a good school, my teachers who put me on the right track and the alumni who sponsored the scholarship that made my journey to England possible. I attended the Vice Chancellor's Reception in Hong Kong in September before coming to Birmingham, and it was quite a humbling experience to stand in the same room with so many alumni of different generations who grew to be so successful. What was most memorable was listening to Chief Justice Ma. His speech gave me a sense of pride to be part of the University of Birmingham. I always strive to do nothing less than my very best at Birmingham because I know it’s a privilege to be here.
How have you found the transition from Hong Kong to Birmingham?
I actually found it rather easy to settle in. The fact that it gets dark quite early took a bit getting used to, but otherwise adapting to the lifestyle here was not a problem. The place is beautiful, the people are amiable and the learning environment is healthy. I did struggle a bit with the self-checkout machines at the supermarket though- we don’t have them in Hong Kong!
What advice would you give to students thinking of coming to Birmingham to study?
Don’t be afraid to raise questions and voice your opinion. The mode of learning in Hong Kong might be different but here you’re encouraged to challenge the principles that are taught. That’s the quickest way to learn. Classroom discussions happen frequently and are integral to your understanding of your subject.