Yuanyuan Wang: from China to the UK
Yuanyuan Wang studied Applied Chemistry at NUIST in the Environmental Science Department before making the most of our 4+1 agreement and joining us for her master's degree. She loved it so much she decided to stay with us, and has just completed her PhD.
“My undergraduate supervisor actually recommended Reading to me as she was also a graduate here and enjoyed it very much! The main reason I chose to stay here and do a PhD was that I really enjoyed my master's degree and my supervisor was enthusiastic about me continuing my studies here. My PhD here concerned soil analysis – specifically heavy metals in polluted areas.”
A new culture and Independence
Yuanyuan soon discovered differences between studying in China and in the UK, notably the independence and freedom to study what she wanted here at Reading.
“At the beginning of my master's degree I realised I would have a lot more independence: I could decide what subjects to study, what to do and how to do it. My supervisor at Reading would always be ready to give me guidance and ensured that I was working effectively. In China the supervisor would have told me exactly what to do next and I would have just followed his advice.”
Making friends and improving English
At first it was difficult for Yuanyuan to get used to working in English for long periods of time, and found it quite tiring.
“I overcame this by trying to communicate with other people: when I was in the lab doing experiments I would always try to chat with members of staff. They were very kind and talked with me too, which really helped improve my communication skills. Overall, they made me feel extremely supported.”
A dedicated Graduate School
The University of Reading has a world class and supportive Graduate School and Yuanyuan made the most of what they had to offer.
“The Graduate School was really good because they ran lots of courses that gave me ideas. For example, I was able to learn how to write a good CV and cover letter; I think this was really important for me. I also used the University for advice about my visa. Overall the careers guidance I got at Reading was very important.”
Hopes for the future
Yuanyuan has already been accepted onto the doctorate extension scheme, meaning she can work in the UK for a further 12 months, and is feeling confident about her career prospects.
“I think the PhD will help me to find a job very easily in China if I go back. Another Chinese PhD student has already started looking and has been able to find a number of positions – he just needs to decide which one to take.”