Student Profiles

Hong Xuan
Interviewed in her first year

I decided to study engineering at a very early age. My father told me that it was the most interesting thing in the world. I believe that’s what he really thought because he loved his job working on projects and research on thermodynamics, but I didn’t take it seriously. I have sketched my future differently at different stages of time, and as I grew up, but I now believe that engineering is the best choice for me. I feel that studying engineering will make me live like an engineer – efficient, logical and professional.

Unlike many overseas students, I came here straight from China. I took part in the Chinese National College Entrance Examination then spent the next 2 years studying Electrical and Information Engineering at a Chinese university. When I discovered that the University of Cambridge holds interviews for local Chinese applicants, I couldn’t wait to have a try. Although some people ask me if it is really worth giving up two years in university, I always answer with a firm “yes”, and what I have experienced in Cambridge proves that I made the correct decision.

As an overseas student, I should say that I was somewhat at a loss on arrival. What I had to face was a totally new environment, a different language, and a different mode of teaching. But things went very smoothly. Teachers and students here are all very kind. After two months, I am now able to catch up with the lecturers’ words, and have managed to understand all the relevant routines. I am now enjoying cycling to the Department, making notes on lectures, doing experiments, discussing problems with supervisors and having fun with my new friends here. Some of what I am taught in class and example papers we have been given are not very difficult for me because they are what I have learnt in China, but the demonstrations of practical applications in the lectures, learning to put together presentations and the structural design project are all new to me. What impresses me most is that whatever knowledge we learn, we are always encouraged to use this knowledge to analyse real problems, which not only stimulates me to understand the theories better, but also makes me expect more of what I will do in future as an engineer.

There are a lot of things I do besides lectures and coursework. Many seminars are open for students, talks and social events are held for new members of different societies. Going to the Careers Fair to seek a summer vacation placement is a brand new experience for me. I have signed up for voluntary practical projects which I am interested in. Life here is busy and colorful.

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