Wang wanted to come to the UK because of the reputation of its education system. “The undergraduate degree in the UK is the best in the world – it has so much history, especially Cambridge,” he says. Securing a place at such a competitive university wasn't going to be easy, so Wang decided to do A-levels first at Bellerbys College , an international college in Brighton. Students come to England from all over the world to study in places such as Bellerbys College, which has a 100 per cent international student population.
Like Wang, many choose to live with host families to improve their English and be immersed in UK life. He believes that is the best way to get the most out of your experience.“Getting a host family is good way to get into the British way of life," he says. "Make friends with British people and don't hang out with people from your own country too much – you are spending your money to come and make friends here.”
The transition into here in England hasn't always been easy, and Wang admits it was hard work learning to speak English, especially in a college of international students. The food, weather and traffic took some getting used to: Wang sometimes found himself standing on the wrong side of the road for the bus and frequently visited Chinese restaurants to get a decent meal! Despite all that, he is still very keen on staying in the country: “The Brits are really friendly and so polite.”
The route for international students to come to study in the UK can be difficult, because the qualifications needed abroad are often higher than for UK students. UCAS recommends that international students check that their qualifications are recognised in the UK and that they would be considered by higher education institutions for entry into UK higher education. An agency called Naric provides comparisons of international qualifications to UK standards, as well as letters and reports recognised by UK institutions. This is useful, but you can pay from £34 to £200 depending on the type of report and how urgently you need it.
Coming to the UK to study can lead to great success, but it takes hard work and determination.“Keep on doing what you are doing, have an aim and keep your dream alive,” says Wang, and he should know!