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Slow Start, Strong Finish
It wasn’t the start that Liu Yu (pictured above) had hoped for when she first embarked on her degree programme at SIM-University of Birmingham. The Business Management graduate recalls the uphill task of having to adapt to a new environment and culture. Being an international student from China, conversing in English with her classmates was one of the biggest barriers that she had to overcome.
“I remember when I had to work in a team of 14 members and we were tasked with a big assignment and a 30-minute presentation. I was the only Chinese student in that team and everyone else in the team was more professional. I couldn’t cope with the demands of the team and I felt that my contributions weren’t useful. I called my mum and cried after the first day. I told her I could not carry on with this degree in Singapore,” recalls Liu Yu.
She drew strength from the words of encouragement offered by her mother who advised her to stay confident in her abilities and to keep going. It also helped that Liu Yu had supportive friends, some of whom she knew during her Diploma in Management Studies course at SIM.
“They encouraged me to present more in class and to never be shy of sharing my opinions with my team members. They never laughed at me during group projects when I had difficulties speaking and were very supportive,” says Liu Yu.
Liu Yu persevered to get better at the English language and took part in more presentations to build her confidence and sharpen her language skills. She also joined the Student Recruitment team at SIM as a student volunteer where she was tasked to give presentations on SIM GE to visiting university chancellors as well as at secondary schools and junior colleges. These experiences gave her a confidence boost. Liu Yu made a remarkable improvement in her language skills and was confident enough to volunteer to represent her 14-member group in their final presentation.
“They were so happy with the improvements I made. They taught me some presentation skills and I used them well. My team scored the highest mark in that project and I was so glad to be a part of them,” she says gleefully.
Liu Yu performed well in her degree studies and gained acceptance into the MSc programme in Strategic Marketing and Consulting at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom.
“I chose this University because I was already doing my undergraduate programme here and I wanted to explore life in another part of the world. The university is also ranked in the top 100 in overall rankings so I knew that I would receive an education of good quality,” Liu Yu shares.
Having done a dissertation on non-profit organisations and world peace during her undergraduate studies, Liu Yu hopes to further research on this topic as making a positive impact in the lives of others has always been something close to her heart.
“I believe it is important to do your part in making a difference in the world and I try to do my bit when I can. I’ve taken part in community work and volunteered at events in SIM. One of the most memorable ones for me was when we organised a trip for mentally challenged children with Club Rainbow. Although it was difficult for them to understand some of the games we played because of their conditions, it was very fulfilling playing the games and painting together,” she said.
Liu Yu aims to return to Singapore after completing her master’s degree and hopes to land a job in consulting or marketing.
Posted online, 15 June 2017