We find out why Law PhD student Yunxiang Shi describes life as a researcher at the University of Birmingham as “busy, fruitful and colourful”.
Why did you choose to study a PhD in Law?
“I have a curious mind. Since I was very young, I always enjoyed the process of asking questions and seeking answers by doing a little research. My postgraduate study in Beijing brought me into the “palace” of law research and made me feel the charm of academic studies. With great interest in international law and a strong desire to know more about this area, I decided to pursue a PhD in Law which allows me to work on my own research topic.”
Why did you choose to undertake research at the University of Birmingham?
“I chose to undertake research at the University of Birmingham because of its strong academic expertise in WTO law, its conducive academic environment, as well as its fame as one of the top-ranking competitive universities in the UK. Another reason for choosing the University of Birmingham is that many famous Chinese scholars and politicians graduated from here, such as Chinese geologist Li, Siguang and former Chief Executive of Hong Kong Dong, Jianhua. This made me firmly believe that the community of Birmingham University must be multi-cultural, vibrant, fair and tolerant.”
What are the best things about your course?
“Both of my supervisors have been giving me great support and assistance since the beginning of my PhD journey. We have regular meetings to discuss my work and they read my drafts and give feedback efficiently. Whenever I encounter problems, they always offer advice and suggestions patiently. This is definitely the best thing about my course. I also feel the lectures and seminars held by Birmingham Law School are very helpful, because they offer chances for PhD students to get to know each other, to have some knowledge of each other’s research projects and exchange ideas. The new library also provides a better environment for doing research.”
What is life like as a researcher at the University of Birmingham?
“It is almost inevitable that PhD students need to spend quite a lot of time on their research in order to reach the goals. I am always busy, sometimes excited about my findings and sometimes depressed by the difficulties encountered. But fortunately, whenever I need a time out, I can always find activities in the University of Birmingham that interest me. I used to go one day trips organised by Birmingham International Academy, which took me to different towns and cities in the UK to experience their cultures. I also make good use of the sports centre to do exercises, which not only keeps me healthy, but also helps release pressure. There are, of course, plenty of occasions on campus to meet new friends. So generally speaking, life as a researcher at the University of Birmingham is busy, fruitful and colourful.”
What support have you received during your PhD?
“I attended some workshops on academic skills which offer great support for my PhD study at different stages. These include workshops on research presentation, publications, thesis writing and thesis submission. Apart from these, the free English courses and individual language tutorials were really helpful for international students like me, especially at the early stage of our study in the UK. At present, I am in my last year of PhD study and have started to plan my future career. I feel the career advice service offered by Birmingham Career Support is helpful and supportive. Also, I am extremely grateful to Birmingham Law School for the funding they offered me to present my research papers on international conferences.”
Outside of your research, what experience have you gained and how will it help you in the future?
“Here at the University of Birmingham, I meet and communicate with talented people from different cultural backgrounds. This is a fantastic experience that broadens my horizons, keeps me open-minded and lets me know the world better.”
Find out more studying for a PhD in Law over on our course pages.