Course: BA Theatre and Performance
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I first came to Leeds on a study abroad exchange year – I used to be a student at Shanghai Theatre Academy and learnt Drama, Film and Television Literature. But I enjoyed the course here so much that I ended up transferring onto it and finished my studies in the UK.
What made you want to apply to your course and to Leeds?
To tell the truth, I had been looking forward to coming to Leeds since I was just a first-year student. At that time I didn’t think too much about the reason, I just thought maybe it was a good chance to go abroad, so I took the IELTS exam during that summer vacation as a preliminary. But when I enrolled in my second-year of study in Shanghai I started to be bored with my current life, and I thought living in a different environment might broaden my horizons and cultivate my independence.
As a developed country, the culture of UK has attracted me for a long time but I had never visited, and I always heard that the quality of education in British universities is among the highest in the world. I researched Leeds and found it is a university with outstanding achievements, so I was quite excited to come and experience it.
I still felt unsure about my decision before coming – believe it or not, I spent almost a whole night thinking about whether I should study abroad, as it always needs a lot of money. But eventually I convinced myself, and fortunately my parents were both glad to hear that I wanted to go to another country. In the end, all my uncertainty about about my decision was totally eliminated.
Why did you decide to transfer onto BA Theatre and Performance here at Leeds?
For me, the main reason I chose to transfer is that I really like the learning environment and modules here in Leeds – I think they are much suitable for me than the ones at Shanghai Theatre Academy as I like both academic research and creating work and the libraries here can support me a lot.
Also from a utilitarian point of view, a British bachelor degree will improve my chances of getting a job both in the UK or my own country. It’s not only more authoritative in my field of study but also good proof of my English language proficiency. Last but not least, I found it quite hard to say goodbye to my life in Leeds – I believed I would miss my time in the UK when I returned home so I decided to apply for an extra year.
I can say that transferring into the final year of the course is the best decision I’ve made in recent years. If there is anything better than being an exchange student, this is it!
What aspects of the course did you enjoy the most?
My favourite part of the course was a performance module called Studio Practice. In Shanghai I didn’t have as much time to rehearse and practice performance skills with my classmates, so I was quite excited to receive the training here. I enjoyed doing the rehearsal for the final performance very much, and I miss the days I spent thinking about the concept and practicing again and again with my group members.
Although as a foreigner I sometimes couldn’t even understand what they were talking about, they were all very kind and encouraged me as much as possible. When getting along with others, I feel that in most cases they didn’t treat me as a foreigner but just as a normal member of their society. To put it in a nutshell, I was glad to be involved and appreciated the support.
I also really liked working in the Brotherton Library. I got into the habit of studying in a quiet place during my first year at Shanghai Theatre Academy, but the library there is quite small and I was shocked the first time I saw the Brotherton. It is so big and classical – the kind of place I had only seen in films. I could easily stay there all day.
What did you think of Leeds as a city?
I come from Shanghai, which is a very big city. Leeds is not as big as Shanghai so it doesn’t have as many facilities by comparison, but I must say it is exquisite and met all my daily needs. I bought day-to-day items in Morrisons, had food at my favourite restaurant, YO! Sushi, and went shopping in Trinity Shopping Centre. I think to some extent it’s good not to have too much choice as you can concentrate on other things like your studies. Furthermore, the environment here is much cleaner than in Manchester and London. In general, I love this city and it is almost my second hometown except for Shanghai.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
I want to say thanks to every tutor who taught me, encouraged me and supported my study here. I couldn’t have met the entry requirements without them. Although my course was a lot of work, I will never give up as this is the road I chose. Finally, thank you, Leeds, for giving me the opportunity to do the exchange and then stay on. This is my first step in studying abroad, and will definitely not be the last.