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Opportunities and challenges I've faced as an international student

Hi, I'm Serena, a third-year student. I'm currently studying MPhysiotherapy - Sport and Exercise Medicine. I came to the UK from Hong Kong, the decision to study in the UK was fuelled by the desire for a world-class education. I can say it has delivered that and much more!

In this blog, I'll share some of the opportunities and challenges I've faced as an international student.

Why did I come to the UK to study?
As a third-year student from Hong Kong, my decision to pursue Physiotherapy at the University of Bradford was driven by the recognition of the superior education style prevalent in the United Kingdom. The UK's emphasis on critical thinking, practical application, and research-based learning attracted me.

This educational approach not only aligns with the global standards but also offers a unique and enriching experience that goes beyond traditional classroom learning.

Moreover, studying in the UK provides an incredible opportunity to broaden my horizons internationally, exposing me to diverse perspectives and practices in the field of Physiotherapy.

What are the challenges?
Adapting to a new academic and cultural environment presents its share of challenges.

The cultural differences between the UK and Hong Kong are palpable, influencing not only social interactions but also academic expectations.

Moreover, the language barrier, particularly in a specialised field like Physiotherapy with its abundance of medical terms, posed an initial hurdle.

However, overcoming these challenges has been a crucial part of my personal and academic growth. It's a process that involves embracing diversity, fostering cross-cultural understanding, and enhancing my language proficiency in the medical context.

What are the opportunities?
Studying in the UK has provided a myriad of opportunities for personal and professional development.

One significant aspect is learning to live independently. Navigating daily life, managing finances, and making decisions without the immediate support system from home has equipped me with a sense of autonomy that will undoubtedly be valuable in my future endeavors.

Another remarkable opportunity lies in the diverse community at the University of Bradford. I've had the privilege of making friends from all corners of the globe. The exchange of ideas, cultural practices, and experiences has been enriching, creating a global network that extends far beyond the classroom.

Moreover, the UK university experience is not limited to academics alone. The vibrant campus life encourages students to explore various extracurricular activities.

Personally, I've been able to try out things that I had never imagined doing, such as fencing and archery. These opportunities not only provide a welcomed break from the rigors of academic life but also foster a holistic development that goes beyond the confines of textbooks and lectures.


Being an international student has been a transformative journey. Yes, there were challenges, but each obstacle was an opportunity for growth.

The cultural diversity, language nuances, and the chance to explore unchartered territories have sculpted not just my academic prowess but also my worldview.

As I navigate through my third year, I am grateful for the lessons, friendships, and experiences that this international education has offered, shaping me into a more resilient and globally-minded individual.

What are the opportunities and challenges you've faced being an international student?

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