Duan Sun: international student profile
Duan Sun is an MA Educational Leadership student from China. She joined The University of Manchester to study for her master’s degree and soon found herself successfully elected as the part-time International Students’ Officer in Manchester Students’ Union. She is now planning to continue her studies and progress on to a PhD.
“Each year, around the first week of October, the Students’ Union organises a campaign for part-time officers, where all students at The University of Manchester can join the election. Some posts are quite competitive; for instance, my post had 42 candidates. I was elected as the part-time International Students’ Officer, and this year I’ve organised lots of different international student activities. I’ve also tried to improve international students’ well-being through diversity workshops, and provided professional consultation services to students.
“As a part-time officer, I have attended meetings of the Senate, chaired the International Forum and discussed main policy in the Students’ Union. I found that I can manage my time well, to balance work and study, and have improved my communication and public speaking skills. I also joined a sports society, which organises five-mile running activities every Monday. This not only helps me to make friends, but also helps keep the doctor away!
“What I enjoy most about my degree is the fact that all of my classmates have two or three years’ relevant working experience. We have opportunities to communicate and discuss educational theories together, and so it’s a good opportunity for me to find out about education in other countries and learn from peers and their experiences. Since arriving in Manchester, I’ve also experienced different teaching styles in the classroom – in the UK, students are offered many chances to discuss ideas in class, and I think that students can learn more and get a better understanding through this.
“After graduation, I plan to apply for my PhD and gain more professional knowledge. My time at Manchester has fostered my capability for learning. I can understand not only what I want and need to learn, but also how to learn. This learning experience gives me confidence for starting my future career.”