As the birthplace of many literary heroes and thought leaders whose works have shaped modern society, the United Kingdom (UK) has a rich history and heritage deeply ingrained in her culture. Boasting some of the world’s oldest and best universities which offer world-class education, the UK has been the study destination of choice for many youths. In addition to her celebrated pedagogy, the UK is also known for being a psychedelic melting pot of cultures where tradition, history and modern cultures collide and live in harmonious synchrony.
These were factors that steered Deborah Chan Pei En towards a UK education. Fascinated by all that the law has to offer, Deborah chose to take up a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) at the renowned University of Bristol. She shares, “Law is fascinating in that there are simply no right or wrong answers, but one discerns the “correct” answer based on core principles of justice and fair play.
A Unique Study Approach
While the traditional study approach consists of a high student–teacher ratio, Deborah’s tutorial classes are set in small groups of 10 students. This ratio provides a conducive environment for ideas to be shared and allows tutors to better ensure that each student is seen and heard. She tells us, “Such a class number is effective in that students would feel less intimidated by numbers and therefore are more willing to contribute their ideas to discussions. Tutors are also very friendly, and they treat students with mutual respect and patience.”
Rather than having the common top-down or lecture approach to lessons and discussions, classes conducted in the UK encourage higher cognitive thought and active debate. “A UK education encourages one to voice out opinions, without the fear of judgement. Students grow to become more receptive to constructive criticism and develop an open mind. Independent studying is also characteristic of the UK education system, encouraging originality and critical-thinking,” says Deborah.
Beyond Academic Development
Pursuing an education in the UK also provides avenues for travel and the chance to experience new cultures and languages. With a comprehensive transport infrastructure linking the UK efficiently to Europe and beyond, going on a travel adventure is something one can always look forward to. “Traveling around the UK during the weekends or term breaks to places such as Burton-on-the-Water, Westonbirt Arboretum and Stratford have been very exciting. I thoroughly appreciate the rich English history and the scenery of these places very much. For me, these short getaways are a great way to unwind from my rigorous academic schedule,” says Deborah.
When asked about what she enjoys best when travelling and living in the UK, she adds, “Café-hopping in England is also a pastime I enjoy. The people I have met at these places are always very warm and welcoming.”
Going beyond academic development, studying in the UK provided Deborah with a catalyst for her to grow on a personal level. From handling day-to-day household chores to balancing academic commitments, living abroad has helped her gain independence and learn responsibility. She shares, “Having gone through a holistic university education here in the UK, I have become more independent as a person, with a better appreciation of global culture. In doing day-to-day activities like laundry, cooking and cleaning, my time-management skills have also improved, as I had to learn how to balance these with the challenging demands of studying law.”
To conclude, Deborah imparts some advice for those who have their sights set on a UK education. She says, “Cherish every moment abroad. Do not be afraid of getting involved in the various events organised by your university, and make a conscious effort to interact with as many people as you can. Most importantly, remember to always embrace challenges and have fun!”
To learn more about studying in the UK, visit British Council’s Education UK Exhibition at Suntec Convention Centre on Saturday 11 March 2017. More information at: www.britishcouncil.sg/exhibition