From China to Manchester: Joya’s international student experience
Student experience 14th September 2022
Joya Zhou Zhuoya (周卓雅), has just begun studying Electrical and Electronic Engineering. She has taken the time to tell us about her experiences coming from China to her life studying here in Manchester:
“Hi guys! My name is Joya Zhou Zhuoya (周卓雅), a Y1 international student studying a BEng (Hons) in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. I come from Nanjing, Jiangsu, China.
The reason why I wanted to study this major is linked to my experience while I was volunteering as a teacher in Nepal. I was lucky to survive the earthquake that happened in 2015. In a flash, temples and buildings collapsed, and victims were trapped underneath the wreckage. Due to the lack of adequate search and rescue (SAR) equipment, thousands of lives that could have been saved passed away tragically. From that moment, I promised that I would focus my efforts on helping engineers from different countries build more accurate and affordable SAR equipment to save more lives from disasters. I believed that the knowledge of Electrical, Electronic, and Mechatronic Engineering (EEE), ranging from sensors to transmitters to embedded technology, could enable me to realise my aspiration. To this end, I decided to study Electrical and Electronic Engineering.
EEE education in the UK can be traced back to the 19th century, and multiple world-leading EEE manufacturers originated in the UK. As I intended to engage in the development and optimisation of electronic apparatus, I anticipated gaining a EEE degree in the UK and, more specifically, a EEE degree from The University of Manchester. So far, I have enjoyed most of the modules and research in my course. However, as a first-year student I haven’t yet decided which specific area I am going to develop into more in the future. I think I will have a clearer idea in the coming second year of study.
It’s really nice to be part of the university, especially as an international student. I quickly adapted to my new life in Manchester and also found a lot of new friends here. I think the key thing to remember about fitting into a brand new environment is: don’t be nervous. Many of us come from different parts of the world and so also feel anxious about the new university life. My advice is don’t be afraid of making mistakes or doing anything wrong. Trust me, nobody will actually remember those moments when you feel socially awkward. Everything is going to be fine!
Since starting at university, I became a student ambassador for the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) representing EEE, and I also joined the FSE mentoring project where I mentor offer holders interested in studying EEE. After my first year in the summer, I undertook the EEE summer internship programme where my project involved building a high-resolution type of scanning probe microscopy – an Atomic-Force Microscopy (AFM) – by coding and making use of LEGO. Additionally, I took part in outreach events and promotion work for The Photon Science Institute and joined the Advanced Electronic and Photonic Materials SPIE-Royce Conference. Undertaking all these extracurricular activities made my summer meaningful as I feel it has given me a chance to inspire and encourage more girls into STEM subjects.
Apart from EEE activities, my summer also included traveling through the United States with my friends – all the way from New York to San Francisco – with a stop in LA to see my brother. It’s the best summer I’ve ever had – thanks to all of my friends and also my mum and dad for the financial support!”
Watch this space to see Joya achieve her ambitions of creating more accurate and affordable SAR equipment!