Where are you from?: Hong Kong
Best thing about Merton?
The nice contrasts: having a long history yet modern in our values and outlook, academically-focused yet relaxed, and traditional yet rich in people who contributed to social change and radicalism. All of the little bits make Merton a very interesting college to be at, not to mention free cake during the summer term!
Most important thing you’ve learnt?
To make best use of the space given to develop my own passion. While the academic requirements are serious, arts and social sciences students like me are given a lot of time for self-study. Progressing through the year, I’ve learnt to read on topics that intrigue me (for example, partisanship and money in politics) and to also act on my passion too – spending nights with a homeless squat, joining discussion groups on social issues, attending seminars (with free lunch) at the department, volunteering for a local comprehensive school and so on.
What were you worried about before you arrived?
Coming from a foreign country, I was extremely worried about settling into life in another country, working to a good academic standard and landing on my feet. While I did take time to adjust to life here, I found the support offered by Merton's welfare team and my tutors very helpful and critical in the transition. To those of you who may be worried, I think it's completely normal to do so – just don't forget voicing them out when you need help, because nearly all of us will need help at some point in our lives, and the wider community here won't fail you.