Lianyi Gao - IFCELS summer programme study in London

Linsong Gao, an undergraduate student from Zhongnan University of Economics and Law in Wuhan, China, studied a 3-week course, Art of the World in London, on the IFCELS (International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies) Summer Programme at SOAS University of London.

Linsong reflects on a summer of study spent in London.

“Britain is both a strange and familiar country to me.  Its prosperity, openness and history have always made me yearn for it.  This summer, I had the privilege of attending a summer programme offered by the IFCELS department at SOAS University of London.  I studied in London for three weeks.  It gave me an opportunity to appreciate the charm of the world-famous university, to have a deep understanding of the customs of Britain, and to pave the way for future study abroad.

When I first arrived in England, everything seemed novel and unfamiliar.

“SOAS is located in the centre of London, adjacent to the British Museum.  It’s also near Regent Street and Oxford Street.  We have classes every day from Monday to Friday, in which we analyse problems from different perspectives.  I can feel the British style of university education clearly.

“The course which I chose was Art of the World in London, because it was related to my major in my own university, Digital Media and Arts.  I thought this would be less stressful for students like me who didn’t have good English.  The way of learning this course was particularly “British”.   First, one teacher chose a topic and gave us the time to review and discuss it before the lecture which followed.  After that, the lecturer organised visits to galleries and museums in London to see works related to the lecture.

We left our footprints in most of the galleries in London.

“After that, we discussed the issues in small groups in class.  While we gained a deeper understanding of art history over the whole course, we also improved our level of English.  There were six Japanese, three Chinese and one Korean student in the class.  Different cultures were one of the charms of the class.  I could make friends from all over the world and learn about different viewpoints.

“Apart from studying, SOAS organised all kinds of interesting activities.  For instance, the first week’s picnic and the second week’s city walk (to Camden Town, Regent’s Canal and Primrose Hill) were both very interesting.  Through these activities, I met friends from all over the world, broadened my horizons, and gained a more comprehensive understanding of the city of London.

“Weekends were free and short trips could be made.  I spent two interesting weekends outside London.  On the first weekend, I went to Oxford University, the Cotswolds and Blenheim Palace.  On the second weekend, I chose York, because that was the inspiration for Diagon Alley in Harry Potter.  We visited York Minster cathedral, tasted British afternoon tea, and visited the historic Shambles.

“I would like to express my sincere thanks to SOAS University of London for this opportunity.”

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