What do you like most about LSE?
It’s hard to choose just one thing, as my experience has genuinely been so excellent. The quality of teaching is excellent, and I find myself healthily challenged in almost everything I do. I have to say that my favorite thing has just been learning how to learn: I’ve found that my capacity for reading, critical thinking, and writing have improved so much over the last few months, and while I was pushed out of my comfort zone, I really appreciate being able to think at greater depths about topics that I’m really interested in.
Of course, the community is also so important. Due to the pandemic, I’ve been studying online all year, but I never felt alone, even though many of my peers were in London: whether it was through meetings with my academic mentor, or through the small classes teachers held for me and the other online learners, or through the socials my teachers planned, or through group projects, or through the many texts and chats I had with my classmates – both those who were in London and those who were not – I always felt like I was a part of the LSE community.
What language are you studying and why?
I’m on the BSc International Relations and Chinese course, so I’m studying Chinese. I was basically a total beginner to the language when I started, and I wanted to learn Chinese because I have a love for learning languages, Chinese was different than any language I had ever learned, and of course, Chinese is and will continue to be an extremely useful language to know. Most importantly, though, my wife is from China – so being able to communicate with her family and friends is my main goal.
What is your favorite course this year?
Thus far, my favorite course is probably my Chinese course – LN104. It’s a smaller class – just around eight of us – and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know everyone very well. The class is really intense, but it’s also rewarding to see the progress that my classmates and I are making week after week. The teacher put a lot of effort into making sure that those of us online were able to participate, and it was nice to be able to spend a lot of time each week with a small group of friends: it gave me a strong connection to LSE.
What do you think is best about the teaching in the Language Centre?
I think the best thing about the teaching in the Language Centre is how personalized it is. Every teacher from the centre has been willing to accommodate the needs of any student and reach out to them. When a classmate and I were the only two students still studying online, our teacher met with the two of us for an hour each week to hold a class, just for us. In that same course, on intercultural communication, our teacher always connected what we were learning about to our own cultures, engaged with our own experiences, and was always ready to meet, give advice, and provide feedback as we wrote essays, case studies, and engaged in research. In my other course from the Language Centre, Chinese, I distinctly remember how on the first day of class, he took the time to learn something interesting about each student: and I could tell he wasn’t just asking for fun, but because he really cared. I was having doubts at that point about studying Chinese; but after that first class, I knew it would be an amazing experience. Since then, it has been much the same: he has given personal feedback to everyone, and always is ready to provide advice and assistance if needed.
What excited you most about your studies and the future?
I’m really excited about some of my modules in the coming years. In my last year, I’m excited to be able to take some really specific modules about topics I’m interested in. In second year, I’m really excited for ‘Mandarin and IR’, because it’ll combine the two things I’m studying! And of course, I’m excited for going to Fudan in the coming summer and in my third year, to learn in a different environment and realy develop my Chinese.
What do you wish you had known before you applied to LSE?
I wish I had known how good everything was going to be! Especially since I was studying online, I had a lot of concerns coming into the school year: but they were all unfounded, because everything has genuinely been excellent.