Muxin's Story

Hello everyone, I'm Muxin Chen, and I come from China. I'm currently pursuing an MA in Marketing as part of this exciting journey at the University of Birmingham. 

Muxin's Story

Just about a month ago, I embarked on a lengthy fifteen-hour flight and landed in Birmingham to kick off my adventure in the beautiful month of September. 

Living in a Western country

This marks my first time living and studying in a Western country, and I have to say, it's a unique blend of the unfamiliar and the captivating. I attended various activities during Welcome Week. I've joined in on the fun, from dance classes with the K-cover crewto hitting up some parties held by the Guild of Students. Through these events, I've met a bunch of like-minded friends, and it didn't take long for me to find my place within the University community.

Overcoming challenges in a new country

That's not to say that there wasn't any challenges to overcome in a completely new environment.

When I first arrived in Birmingham, I had no idea how to use the public transportation system, was unfamiliar with local payment methods, and even struggled to find where to purchase daily necessities due to my lack of knowledge about the surroundings. You don't even think about these things but it was something that I had to consider and learn afresh. While it was difficult at first, the only thing which really helped me was reaching out to my fellow international peers at UoB. Reading shared experiences on social media sites like Instagram and with the help from my British friends who were from the local area of Selly Oak, I slowly but surely adapted to the pace of life in the UK. And how I love it!

Settling in

As the new semester got underway, the new language environment and the diverse cultural surroundings presented its obstacles.

There were moments of anxiety as I worried about keeping up academically with my classmates. But here's the cool part: the University of Birmingham has an incredible support system for newcomers like us, both academically and in terms of well-being. We each have our own Personal Tutor, someone who's there to help with any academic or life questions and just ensuring we all settle in smoothly.

In order to gain a better understanding of modules, I make it a point to prepare using the slides and resources provided by the professor on Canvas. I’ve also found it helpful speaking to my classmates to share knowledge, which highlights the value of community and collaboration at UoB. Plus, I’m not afraid to reach out for support when I need such as visiting the Academic Skills Center for their fantastic support and guidance.  

Finding my community

Beyond academics, I've started to explore the relaxing spots around campus with my new friends. We often head to the park, where we chat and take leisurely walks. During our strolls, we discuss our recent worries and successes, encouraging each other and offering support in finding solutions. Even though we come from different countries, we deeply respect each other's cultures and customs.

We take the time to understand each other's religious beliefs and respect each other’s lifestyle choices and principles. This mutual sharing of our respective countries' traditional cultures and customs allows me to genuinely experience the charm of multiculturalism. I've been on a mission to explore the spots around campus that provide the perfect escape with my awesome friends. We've gone on leisurely strolls, had warm and genuine conversations in the park, and soaked in the warmth of the sun. Even though we all come from different parts of the world, when we're out in nature, we're simply a bunch of Earth's lovable kids. We respect each other's cultures and traditions, sharing stories from our respective homelands. It's given me a profound sense of community which I truly don't think I'd find elsewhere.

Dealing with homesickness

On weekends, I sometimes head to Birmingham City Centre for dance classes.

Dancing has always been my passion, and I was pleasantly surprised to find dance studios in Birmingham that cater to my interests. iIt's meaningful to me that I can continue pursuing my hobby in this new environment. There’s also a variety of restaurants in the city center, allowing me to savor delectable dishes from different parts of the world.

Apart from experiencing global cuisine, I can also enjoy authentic Chinese food when I'm feeling a bit homesick. For international students, being homesick can sometimes be inevitable. When I'm alone in my student dorm, I often find myself missing my family and friends back in China. On top of that, due to the time zone difference, we often can't connect in real-time. In response, I've started to document my life through videos and share them with my loved ones. I've even started learning how to cook dishes from my hometown, even though I had never attempted it before. Most importantly, I constantly remind myself that my current life is precious, and it deserves my full dedication. I valuable allocating my time and energy to my studies and experiencing different aspects of life in the present moment, rather than everything I miss back home.

Now, as I navigate this new chapter at the University of Birmingham, I'm excited to make the most of every single day. Stay tuned for more adventures and stories from my peers who also share their Birmingham journey.

Got a story to tell? We're looking for students – part-time, full-time, undergraduates, postgraduates (taught and research) mature students, and distance learners – to share their authentic stories of studying at the University of Birmingham. Share yours today.


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