Kaike Ren

Kaike Ren 396x300BSc Biological Sciences

Graduated in 2019 from the 2+2 China Partnership Programme

“The most important thing is that everyone’s need can be met as much as possible, something which Birmingham does very well”

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

There are many reasons why I decided to come to UoB. At first, it was the opportunity to experience a brand new place and experience a different life. Then I noticed my home university in China was operating the 2+2 program with UoB, which is a world-renowned university and offers great education. With a deeper look into the student life and experience of previous students in this program, I was attracted most by the independent study, and chance to work in the lab during the long summer vacation.

How do you find living in Birmingham? Was it how you expected it to be?

Birmingham is a nice place to live in, especially the regions near to UoB campus. In my eyes, the most important thing is that everyone’s need can be met as much as possible, something which Birmingham does very well. If you are a social animal, there are lots of pubs and clubs to have fun. If you are more independent, there are many quite parks or gardens to relax. The Winterbourne House and Garden next to the campus is a must-go place for me. All in all, it is beyond my expectation to live in Birmingham.

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

I found it easier to balance study, work and life at UoB. There were not so many modules here (no more than 5 modules each semester) and the workload of each module was lighter. So, I was able to spend more time in the lab, and to relax after working. However, when I was in China, sometimes I had 9 modules each semester and the lectures were scheduled from 8am to 9pm. It means I had to give up private time if I wanted to gain some lab experience.

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

Although there are not as many modules at Birmingham, the exams can be really difficult if you ignore independent learning. Ensure you complete as much independent reading as possible.

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

I have decided that I would like to work as a scientist in academia or the industry, depending on opportunities in the future. Besides the professional experiences and knowledge I have gained here, my communication skills have been greatly enhanced as well, which I think is vital no matter what I do in the future.