Piling Higher and Deeper (PHD) at Surrey

A Chinese student's life as a PhD candidate at Surrey

再多一点社团生活 | A bit more about social life

This post is written in both Chinese and English.

前情提要:在上一集上一篇文章中我介绍了一下我的课余社团生活,即运营中国社团。在这一集这篇文章中我将介绍一项我们在复习季所做的具体活动。

所有人都知道期末复习是多么闹心、多么有压力的一件事情。想象一下当你需要准备的还是用外语进行的考试,情况只会更糟;这就是中国学生和许多其他国际学生在期末所面临的状况。作为一个学生社团,我们理应为同学们提供支持与帮助,无论是在物质上还是在精神上。于是乎,我们想到了发放 “复习补给包”。

复习补给包

“补给包” 计划在图书馆随机发放。每份 “补给包” 包含下列东西:

  • 苹果:天然的维生素来源
  • 饮用水:补补水
  • 能量饮料:万一你困得不行了呢
  • 小包糖果:人人爱吃
  • 一封(感人的)信:希望能在精神上给大家以鼓励

我们原本计划发放 100 个 “补给包”,然而它们比我们想象得更受欢迎。许多同学甚至将首选复习地点从寝室变为了图书馆,因为在那里有机会得到一个 “补给包”。我们最终发放了将近 300 个 “补给包”,受众不仅限于中国学生。我们想把这份支持传递给所有人,帮助大家共同度过难熬的期末复习阶段。

这个活动还是花了些钱的,但是我们觉得值了。萨里大学学生会也做了类似的活动。正是这些小事帮助萨里大学在众多大学中脱颖而出,因为大家能切实地感受到来自学校的支持和帮助。也许也是因为如此,萨里大学最近的学生满意度调查中被评选为全英大学第五名。

在你来到萨里大学以后,也欢迎加入我们共同为学生谋些福祉。或者,你也可以待在图书馆像往常一样复习,说不定什么时候就会有人出现在你面前给你鼓励。

你对这样的活动有什么想法?留言告诉我吧!

 

Previously on my blog: I have given a brief introduction to my social life, aka helping running the Chinese society. On this episode post, I would like to tell a bit more about it. Like what we have done during the revision period.

Everybody knows how frustrating and stressful one could be when preparing for exams. The situation could only be worse if you are preparing for exams that undertakes in a foreign language; and that is the situation Chinese students and many other international students experience during term ends. As a student society, we are supposed to provide supports for them, physically and emotionally. And then we came up with the idea of “Revision Supply Kit”.

Revision Supply Kits

The Kits were planned to be handed out randomly in the library. Each Kit contains the following items:

  • A bottle of water: help keep hydrated
  • A can of energy drink: you just need it sometimes
  • An apple: natural vitamin source
  • A small bag of sweet: everyone loves it
  • A letter: hopefully it could provide some emotional support

At firts we planned to distribute 100 kits, but they are much more welcomed than we thought. Many students even changed their preferred revision place from their accommodation rooms to the library because they may receive a Kit. We handed out nearly 300 Kits in total, and they are not only given to Chinese students. We wanted to spread the support to everyone, to help them get through the miserable period.

This activity did cost some money, but I think it is totally worthy. The Surrey Students’ Union did a similar thing as well. This kind of little things help make Surrey outstanding from other universities: you can really feel the support from the uni. And that may be the reason Surrey has been voted as the fifth best university for student experience.

When you come to Surrey, you are more than welcome to do similar things as we did. Together we can make more walfare to Surrey students. Or, if you prefer, you can simply study in the library as you would normally do. Someone may show up to support you.

Have any suggestions for this kind of activity? Please leave a comment to let me know!

 

Xin

一点点社团生活 | A bit of social life

This post is written in both Chinese and English.

我和学联的伙伴们 | My friends at CSSA Surrey and myself

博士生活枯燥吗?不!今天我来从另一个角度介绍一下我的博士生活吧。

日常除了作为一名 “书呆子” 博士学生以外,我也是萨里大学中国学生学者联谊会(萨里学联)主席。我和几个朋友在 2015 年末成立了萨里学联,因为当时学校里并没有一个中国学生的团体(但有很多其他国家学生组成的社团)。这是一个全新的社团,我们的一切都是从零开始的。最初社团里只有 5 个人负责全部的事情,现在已经有 30 人了。

作为一个学生社团,每年我们都会组织许多活动。比如,我们举办过 “萨里亚洲杯” 足球赛、萨里中国新生之夜、索普公园短途游、好几场企业招聘会等等。在今年我们还将举办更多的活动。也许我的下一片文章就会介绍一些我们标志性的活动。

参与社团活动的这个经历让我结识了学校内外的许多新朋友(不仅限于中国人!)。我的个人生活也变得丰富多彩,虽然在运营社团的过程中不时也会遇到一些挑战。社团生活帮助我在工作和生活中找到一个平衡点,当然也会让我的简历更好看一些。

你有兴趣参与到社团生活吗?你对在萨里的社团生活有什么疑问吗?欢迎给我留言,我会尽力帮助大家!

 

Is PhD life plain and boring? Of course not! Today I would like to introduce my PhD life from another angle.

Besides a “nerdy” postgraduate research student, I am also the President of Chinese Students and Scholars Association in the University of Surrey (CSSA Surrey). Several friends and myself decided to found the CSSA Surrey in late 2015 since there was no such kind of student society for Chinese student at Surrey (btw there are plenty of societies for other nationalities). It was a new-born society, and we started everything from scratch. At the beginning there were only five of us operating the entire society, now we have 30.

As a student society, we propose and organise quite a few activities throughout the year. For instance, we have held the “Surrey Asian Cup” football match, Surrey Chinese Freshers’ Night, a short trip to the Thrope Park, several industrial recruitment fairs, etc.; and we are planning more of course. Maybe next time I will write a post about some of our “signature” activities.

By taking part in social activities, I got to know quite a few new friends inside and outside the uni (not limited to Chinese!). My personal life becomes much more joyful than before, in spite of some challenges I may face sometimes as a society leader. The social life provides me a good balance between work and life, and it helps build up my CV as well.

Do you have any interest in anticipating in social life? Or do you have any questions about the social life you may get at Surrey? Please simply drop me a comment. I will help as much as I can!

 

Xin

春节 | Chinese New Year

This post is written in both Chinese and English.

Happy Chinese New Year

如果你能看懂这篇文章的中文部分的话,你肯定知道现在已经是鸡年了,先祝您鸡年大吉!这篇文章呢主要是向外国友人介绍中国新年的。

中国生肖共有 12 个:鼠、牛、虎、兔、龙、蛇、马、羊、猴、鸡、狗、猪。生肖十二年一轮回,每个动物主管一年。去年是猴年,所以今年是鸡年,明年就是狗年。

今年的鸡年始于公历 2017 年 1 月 28 日。有些外国友人不理解为什么新年不始于 1 月 1 日,因为他们并不了解我们同时使用两种历法:公历(阳历)和农历(阴历)。至于这两种历法的起源与区别,请自行查阅百度百科吧,因为我也说不清楚…

今年我回国和家人共度春节。我觉得春节庆祝的重头戏并不在新年第一天,而是在除夕。无论大家平时在哪里工作生活,除夕这一天大家都会想尽办法团聚;有点类似于西方的圣诞节一样。与圣诞不同的是我们还有盛大的春节晚会,在除夕夜向全球的华人直播。

Chinese New Year Gala

春节的另一个重头戏就是饺子。一些家庭还会在饺子中放一枚硬币,吃到硬币的人在新年就会有好运气。

随着中国的国际影响力的日益扩大,春节也变得越来越国际化。生活在许多国家的华人都会在各自国家庆祝春节,而许多外国人也会参与其中。许多外国人甚至已经会说“恭喜发财”和“新年快乐”了。

春节没过够?别急,明年的春节是2月16号。再有300多天就到了。

祝大家新年大吉,诸事顺遂!

 

The Chinese New Year has just past, I assume you have already known it. (Oh come on, we have put a lot of effort in populating that festival!) Now, we are in the Year of the Rooster!

There are 12 Chinese zodiac animals in total: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig. The Chinese zodiac circles every 12 years; i.e. each animal represents a single year (lunar year). Last year was the Year of the Monkey, so this year is the Year of the Rooster, and the next year is the Year of the Dog.

This Year of the Rooster begins from the 28th January 2017. Why doesn’t it start from 1st January? Well, we Chinese use two kinds of calendars: solar calendar (the one you normally use) and lunar calendar (also known as Chinese calendar). According to the lunar calendar, this year’s Chinese New Year Day is 28th January.

This year I took a leave to celebrate the Chinese New Year with my family in China. In fact, we usually celebrate the upcoming year on the Chinese New Year Eve (Chuxi). On that day, all the family members should come back home together wherever you normally work and live; a bit like Christmas in western. On that eve the Chinese national television station, CCTV, will broadcast a grand gala performance for all the Chinese people around the world.

Chinese New Year Gala

Another important component of Chinese New Year is definitely dumplings, which are somehow like the traditional food for festivals. Same families may put a coin inside one of the dumplings served at the midnight, and whoever eat the one with the coin is thought to have great fortune in the coming year.

With the increasing importance of China in the world, the Chinese New Year has also become a more international festival. Now we can see people, regardless of racist and nationality, celebrate it in different countries. Is there any celebration event in your country? How do you think about it? Please leave me a comment to let me know.

If you are interested in celebrating the Chinese New Year but has missed this year’s celebration event, don’t you worry. The next Chinese New Year day is less than 12 months away (16th February 2018 to be exact).

May I wish you a happy and successful Chinese New Year!

 

Xin

我要回家休假啦!| I’m going back home for holiday!

This post is written in both Chinese and English.

正如题目所说:我要回家过春节了!但是这篇文章并不是用来介绍春节习俗的,而是用来向大家介绍一下我的家乡——哈尔滨。

首先是一些地理小知识……哈尔滨,黑龙江省省会,坐落在中国东北地区。黑龙江是一个边境省份,哈尔滨离俄罗斯、朝鲜及韩国、日本和蒙古都不太远。

一提到中国的城市,许多外国人脑海中的印象可能是这样的:

Traditional Chinese Town

但实际上,哈尔滨长成这样:

Harbin

由于其特殊的历史,哈尔滨深受俄罗斯影响。比如,作为一个哈尔滨人,我小时候的日常饮食既有米饭面条又有面包香肠。哈尔滨的教堂也可能比寺庙还多。

哈尔滨人最引以为豪的当属冰灯和雪雕。哈尔滨的冬天很冷,最低可以到零下 30 度左右,所以这里下雪也很多。哈尔滨人利用天然的材料——冰雪去装点冬日里的城市。哈尔滨最著名的景点当属“哈尔滨冰雪大世界”,每年可以吸引超过 100 万来自世界各地的游客参观。如果有机会,我强烈建议您去哈尔滨看看,看看我美丽的家乡。

Harbin Ice and Snow World

这篇文章是我在机场等飞机的时候写的。现在我要登机了,文章就到这里吧。

大家新春快乐,我们鸡年再见!

(由于个人原因,这篇博客晚了几周才发表在网上。)

 

As the title says, I’m going back home for a Chinese New Year holiday! But this post is not much about the Chinese New Year traditions, which I will introduce in a separate post; I would like to introduce my home city, Harbin, to you guys.

Firstly, here is some geographical knowledge. Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang province, locates in the north-eastern China. Heilongjiang is a border province of China, and Harbin is near to Russia, Korea, Japan and Mongolia.

When talking about a Chinese city, you may think it should look like this:

Traditional Chinese Town

But in fact, Harbin looks like this:

Harbin

Due to its special history, Harbin was heavily influenced by Russia. For instance, as a person from Harbin, I grew up eating rice and noodles, as well as bread and sausage. There are also probably more churches than temples in Harbin.

What Harbin people are proud of most is ice lantern and snow sculptures. The winter in Harbin is freezing, as the lowest temperature could be as low as -30 Celsius degree; so it snows a lot. We use the natural resources, ice and snow, to create decorations all over the city. The most famous tourist attraction of Harbin should be the “Harbin Ice and Snow World”. It attracts more than 1 million tourists from all over the world every year. When possible, I highly recommend you to pay a visit to Harbin, to see what a beautiful city it is.

Harbin Ice and Snow World

This post is written while I am waiting for my flight at the airport. Now I’m ready to board, and here’s the end of this post.

See you guys in the (Chinese) New Year!

Xin

PS: Due to personal reasons, this post is published several weeks late.

欢迎来自世界各地的中介代表们!| Welcome agents from (literally) around the globe!

This post is written in both Chinese and English.

w/ agent representatives

 

上一周我们欢迎了 30 多位来自世界各地的留学中介代表们来到萨里大学一同讨论萨里大学的未来发展。我也很荣幸地加入他们共进午餐,并且见到了几位来自中国的代表们。

对于打算出国留学的人来说,中介可以起到很大的帮助。比如,我来自中国,中英之间有着不尽相同的教育模式、说着完全不同的语言。所以三年多以前,当我决定要来英国攻读硕士的时候,我找到了一家本地的留学中介。由于他们比我更加了解英国的教育制度和申请流程,他们帮我节省了很大的时间和精力。在我出发前他们也帮助我做了十分完善的行前准备。(为了避免广告嫌疑我就不在这里说出具体的中介名字了)

如果你决定找一家留学中介帮助你申请学校,在签订合同之前请一定多做一些背景调查。留学中介有很多,其中有好有坏、良莠不齐。尽量选择一家口碑好的中介,如果必要的话可以问问身边的朋友或在网络上搜搜相关的评价。祝大家都能顺利拿到自己心仪的offer!

注:上方合影中还有萨里大学的中国硕士学生大使 Danni,查看她与中国本科学生大使 Eva 的博客请戳这里

 

Last week we welcomed 30+ agents from different countries to attend a conference discussing Surrey’s future. I was pleased to join them for an informal lunch while I met some agents from China.

Agents could be really helpful especially if you are planning to study in another country. For instance, I am from China, which utilises not-exactly-the-same education system and uses a totally different language. So when I decided to study an MSc over three years ago, I sought help from a local agent. It did save me a lot of time and efforts, because they were much more familiar with the education system and application process than myself was. They also helped me get better prepared before departing. (I will not write down the agent’s name here, for the sake of possible advertising.)

If you decide to find an agent to help your application, please do some background research before signing the contract. There are numerous education agents in most countries; some of them are quite helpful, but some could be a scammer. Try to use the one with a high reputation. Ask your friends or search reviews and feedbacks online when necessary. Sincerely wish all of you get your offer successfully.

 

Xin

 

PS: The Chinese MSc Student Ambassador, Danni, is also in the photo above. To read the blog of her and Chinese undergraduate Student Ambassador, Eva, please click here.

如何申请 PhD | How to apply for a PhD

This post is written in both Chinese and English.

PhD Offer Letter Sample

首先,祝大家新年快乐!很抱歉更新得有点慢,我放假期间比较懒…

回到正题。今天我要说一下博士申请那些事。过去一段时间好多人问过我相关的问题,下面是我的建议:

  1. 早做计划。这是一条普适的建议,针对博士申请仍然管用。在你准备寻找未来的博士导师之前,请先抽出时间思考这几个问题:你的学习兴趣是什么,你对未来职业有什么规划,你对未来几年的人生规划是什么样的,你是否准备好在接下俩的 3-4 年钻研一个特定的学科方向。心中有了答案之后,你就可以迈出下一步了。
  2. 寻找合适的学校及其入学要求。现在你应该对博士期间想学的方向有个想法了。通常而言一所大学会在几个特定领域表现突出(比如,萨里大学在多个工程领域、酒店管理、旅游管理、兽医学等领域处在世界领先位置。)。试着寻找一下你所感兴趣的领域内优秀的学校有哪些,如果需要的话可以综合参考多个大学排名榜单。别忘了留意一下相关的入学要求,不同学校的要求可能不同。
  3. 选择课题和导师。现在你应该登陆目标大学的网站找一找有哪些导师可以提供符合你兴趣的课题(以及有哪些导师你看着比较喜欢)。在很罕见的情况下如果你找不到喜欢的课题,直接联系相关的院系管理团队,他们会帮助你。
  4. 联系目标导师们。在这里我用了“们”,因为很有可能你会发现有多个导师符合你的要求,你暂时还不能确定哪个是最适合你的。别担心,给他们发一邮件,附上一段简介、个人简历、研究计划。如果可能的话最好在发邮件之前先读几篇目标导师的文章,这样在邮件里你们更有得聊。
  5. 继续交流。如果导师们觉得你的条件符合他们的要求的话,他们会回复你;有时候还会邀请进行面试。请耐心等待回复,导师们通常都很忙,可能要过好几天才会回复你。面试过程中你可以多谈谈自己的研究想法,越细致越好。不要害怕自己会说错知识点,你要是什么都会的话就不用申请博士了,对吧。
  6. 提交申请。希望你和导师有了愉快的对话。如果你已经找到了同意接收你的导师,那么你的博士申请应该不存在什么困难了。按照学校网站上的相关说明提交申请就可以了。
  7. 准备入学。提交完全部所需材料后,你可能会在几周之后收到录取通知。你可以利用这几周时间提前学习一下你的研究课题相关内容,当然不想学习的话也没问题。留意一下录取通知书上的学费说明和报到日期。
  8. 恭喜你,你现在是一名博士研究生了!

希望这篇博客可以帮助你更好地了解博士申请流程。如果还有哪些我没有覆盖到的内容请留言告诉我。如果你想知道在萨里大学读博是怎样的体验的话,请戳这里

 

First of all, I wish whoever reading this post a happy new year! Sorry for keeping silent so long, I was a bit lazy during the holiday.

Now back to business. Today I’m gonna to talk about PhD application. Quite a few have found me for help, and here are my pieces of advice.

  1. Plan early. This is a universal advice for everything, applying for PhD is no exception. Before looking for your future supervisor, please take some time to think through these questions: what’s your interest, what do you want as your future career, what’s your plan for the next few years, are you ready to dive into an area really deep for 3-4 years. After obtaining your own answer, now it’s time for the next step.
  2. Looking for your prospective university and entry requirements. Now you should have known which topic/area you would like to research on for PhD. Normally a university would be advanced in several areas. For instance, Surrey is in the leading position in multiple engineering areas, hospitality, tourism, veterinary, etc. Try to find the leading ones in your own area, take different university ranking tables as references if necessary. Don’t forget to check the entry requirements as well. They may vary.
  3. Choose a topic (or project) and a supervisor. Now you shall access to the target university’s website and look for the lecturers and professors that offer suitable topics (and look nice) to you. If you can’t find any topic that interests you, which is quite rare, just contact the relevant admin team and they will help you.
  4. Contact the prospective supervisors. Yes I use the plural form of “supervisor” here, because it is possible that you are interested in several supervisors and cannot decide which one is the best. Don’t worry, send them an email with a brief introduction about yourself, CV and research proposal. It would be better if you can read some of the prospective supervisors’ research outcomes (e.g. academic papers), so you can have a bit more to write in the emails.
  5. Keep communicating. If the supervisors are interested in you as well, they will reply your email and may ask for an interview. Be patient for responses, since they are usually quite busy and may not reply you until a few days later. You can talk about your research idea during the interviews, the more detailed the better. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, if you know everything you would not apply for PhD, would you?
  6. Submit application. Hopefully you have a pleasant talk with your supervisor. If you have found the one you like and he/she agree to supervise you in the following 3-4 years, then there should be no more difficulties in your PhD application. Just follow the instructions on the university website.
  7. Get prepared for PhD study. After submitting all the required documents, you may have several weeks before receiving your offer. It would be better for you to use this period to do some literature study, but it is absolutely fine if you don’t want to. After receiving your offer, please pay attention to the tuition fees and registration date.
  8. Congratulations, you are a PhD student now!

Hope this post can help you get a better idea about how to apply for PhD. If there is anything I haven’t covered, please leave me a comment. In case you are wondering what a PhD student’s life is like at Surrey, please click here for more info!

 

Xin

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