Before coming to study in Cardiff, Zhen – from Kuala Lumpur – studied in independent Chinese schools and completed her IB diploma in an Australian public school. She had never set foot in the UK or Europe before making the brave decision to move to Cardiff.
Name: Zhen Kok
Home country: Malaysia
Course: MEng Medical Engineering
Year of graduation: July 2019
Tell us about your course. How is it different from studying back home?
The course exposes us to the vast areas offered by medical engineering, whilst giving us room to strive towards more specific fields according to personal interests. A great balance exists between theoretical, exam-based learning and industry related projects presented by companies at the forefront of medical engineering. Medical engineering is a relatively new field and such projects are pivotal opportunities to learn and enhance our experience. I love how individuality is emphasised at Cardiff, with ample support provided to facilitate this.
What have you enjoyed most about studying at Cardiff University?
With parks everywhere, an easily accessible beach and bay area, the prospect of a nice day out with friends is a good stimulant to the endless studying done at the study desk or libraries. As a balance between studying, I also enjoy hiking and the various national parks near Cardiff offer magnificent views, perfect for a weekend trip.
What is the best thing about living in Cardiff?
The independence of living abroad with the knowledge that anything I need is within close reach. Cardiff is safe, with bursts of nature interspersed in a city that strives towards modernisation. You'll get to enjoy loads of outdoor or indoor activities no matter the season. Being largely student populated and rather multinational, you'll easily find a community of like-minded individuals.
Are you a member of any clubs or societies? If so, what’s it like to be part of a society?
I was a member of the tennis club, but sought out more part-time work and volunteering in my subsequent years here. Being a part of a society, working or volunteering, gives you the opportunity to relax and meet people from other courses or backgrounds. Uni based societies also organise various social events, a great way to take a break from studying.
How has the university supported you during your time here?
We are each assigned a personal tutor who oversees our progress as students, deals with personal issues we might face and helps us through challenging times. There are always student mentors or ambassadors around if we need a student's perspective. Cardiff also recognises student performance in the form of awards for high achievers, which compels one to aim for improvement. Career advisors and lecturers are always eager to offer up their knowledge and experience when it comes to finding internships or other forms of work.
Tell us about your experience as an International Student Ambassador
A fulfilling and rewarding experience that sharpens your communication and time management skills whilst offering an opportunity to get in touch with other Malaysian students. It also gave me the chance to get to know and work with fellow student ambassadors from other countries. A very meaningful way to spend some of your holiday time.
What would your advice be for prospective students thinking about coming to Cardiff?
Enjoy your time at home and fret not about the unknown. You'll find that integrating into life in Cardiff will come rather naturally. Although, you might face some bumps along the way, help is always around the corner. Make full use of the great support system Cardiff provides to its international students or students in general.
What are your plans for the future?
I'd like to experience working in the UK or another country before returning to Malaysia. There is a lot happening in the world of medical technology and I'd like to keep an open mind on which area of medical engineering to focus on or where I'd be working.