Yuhui Dou

yuhui-douBSc Biological Sciences 

Graduated in 2015 from the 2+2 China Partnership Programme

“University of Birmingham has a good reputation in Biosciences, and many of the modules it offers fit my interests.”

Why did you decide to study Biosciences 2+2 at the University of Birmingham?

It is fascinating to live and study in a different culture. To study in a foreign country was always on my plan. So when there came the 2+2 programme in my 2nd year of bachelor’s in China, it was very attractive to me. University of Birmingham has a good reputation in Biosciences, and many of the modules it offers fit my interests. Also, in the end I could get two degrees from the two universities, what a deal! I felt it was a good opportunity for me to step forward, so I decided to join the 2+2 programme and study Biological Sciences at Birmingham.

What is your personal highlight of studying at Birmingham?

In the final year, every student has an opportunity to work on a real research project in the lab. I worked on a project that I really liked, worked with people who were very helpful. And the conversations with my supervisor was always inspiring. So I really enjoyed my final year project, and which made me determined to do a PhD to continue doing research. After my final year project, I got opportunities to go to two conferences with the lab and I presented my work in one of conferences as the only undergraduate presenter. So that is my personal highlight of studying at Birmingham.

How do you find living in Birmingham?

Life is very convenient living in Birmingham. The city is located in the middle of England, so it is easy travel around and have day trips to many cities and tourist attractions. The city centre is only about 10 minutes away from the campus by train, where there are countless shops and restaurants, and all kinds of interesting activities going on. There is even a china town in the city centre with many Chinese restaurants and grocery stores, so I had lots of options when I missed Chinese food.

What are the main differences between studying at the University of Birmingham and your university in China?

In China, the lectures are very intense and detailed, but you get solid foundation of Maths, Chemistry and Physics in the first two years. Whereas in Birmingham there are fewer lectures than in the Chinese university, so I had more free time for my own to do additional readings and other activities.

There is a personal tutor for every student at Birmingham. Students can get all kinds of advice from their tutor, such as choosing courses, projects, and even career path, which is extremely helpful. I got so much help from my tutor, and I am still in touch with her after I graduated.

What is your top tip for other students thinking of coming to study at Birmingham?

Be prepared to have some tough time in the beginning, in terms of language, culture, and studying, etc. But be confident and open to the new environment, after not too long you will get through this period.

It is very important to get work experience during the summer. Prepare early since you will have only one summer vacation in Birmingham if you are in the 2+2 programme.

What are your aspirations for the future and how has studying abroad benefited you?

I love Biology and enjoy doing research in the lab. My current plan is to stay in academia after my PhD, I wish I can establish my own lab in the future. The experience of studying abroad helped me to integrate better to different cultures and adapt faster to a new environment. I became more independent in the two years living on my own. My ability of critical thinking was improved, which is often not emphasised in the Chinese education but extremely important for scientific research. Last but not least, my English was a lot better after two years of study in Birmingham, which makes me more confident in communications with people.

I am currently a PhD student studying Molecular Biology at Aarhus University in Denmark and, fortunately, I got full scholarship from the school.

I work on the mechanism of human nuclear RNA decay. My research interest is to characterize protein complexes that are essential in human RNA decay. By searching protein interactors of a few key proteins, I aim to identify new nuclear RNA decay pathways.