International student Ning Li is studying for a Masters in International Journalism at the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Culture Studies. He describes his first impressions of Cardiff and his involvement with the Chinese Students and Scholars Association.
I visited the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Culture Studies on a rainy day last summer. At the time, I was holding a few MA offers from other journalism schools. However after spending a couple of days in the city I was committed to Cardiff for what I anticipated would be an awesome year.
I am in my sixth month of study now and absolutely loving it. You hear journalists and scholars around the globe saying Cardiff is the best place to study journalism in the UK and even Europe and when you get here you realise why.
A journalist from Times Higher Education called me last October to gather student opinions about their institutions. At the end of the phone call I realised I'd just spent 20 minutes praising my new university. I told him that I only felt one week's homesickness in Cardiff, because the University's noble academic atmosphere and friendly student life quickly got me started.
I study hard on weekdays and really enjoy my weekends. I always tell myself that this is the last year for me to live like a student, as I don't plan to do a PhD. I sometimes go to the student newspaper meeting and write for Gair Rhydd. Also being a big admirer of Japanese culture, I am thankful that the Japanese Society here is being run in a professional and exciting manner. However, outside my studies, the best thing has been my experience with the Chinese Students and Scholars Association.
I was previously involved in Chinese students societies at my old universities in Scotland and the US, so I was keen to see what I could do for students at Cardiff. After meeting the Chinese Students and Scholars Association's President Mr Gu Minhao, I became a member of the committee.
Our first social event attracted more than 300 students to a tiny room in the Students' Union. It was so successful that the Chinese Embassy took notice and sent a donation to support our future events. We recently held a gala celebration of the 2008 Chinese New Year. The event started at 20.08 pm as a sign of the year 2008 and the official day when the Beijing Olympic Games begin in summer this year (8 August).
Not only did we host a 21-performance gala, but the show also featured a generous donation to support people in China who had been suffering tragic snowstorms.
Six months down, and I felt like I have been here forever. There are still six months towards the end of my MA course. Hopefully, more meaningful experiences will come around to fulfil my student-farewell-year.