Interview with a PhD student - Wei Chen

Interview with a PhD student - Wei Chen

Can you please tell me a bit about yourself?

"Hello, I am Dr Wei Chen. I am currently working as the Project Manager for Post Study. I came to UK in 2005 to pursue my master’s and PhD. degree in University of Sheffield in Automatic Control and Systems Engineering Department."

Why did you choose University of Sheffield and subject?

"I chose University of Sheffield’s Automatic Control and Systems Engineering (ACSE) Department offers is the most comprehensive automatic control department in the UK. I completed my undergrad degree in automatic control and systems. I wanted to do specialization in the same subject." 

What were the major differences you encountered in your under graduation and post graduation? 

"UK’s education system is so much more than just a classroom lecture. Students get personalized attention from the professors, do research papers, write thesis, and participate in numerous other projects along with classroom work. However, in China, the classroom was limited to the lectures. The experience of China university resembles more closely with high school. However, UK university offered independence and supervision at the same time. It allowed me to undertake my own research, at the same time, being directed by the supervisor. I explored all the opportunities where I can go and learn."



Did you find any difficulty, academically?

"I personally don’t think the course was too difficult. However, I did encounter some difficulties in the beginning of the course. I had to plan my studies, find a job and be independent. All these pressures made everything a little overwhelming."

What personal quality, do you think assisted you the most? 

"I think, I am quite hard working and persistent. After graduating from a prestigious university back in China, I thought everything would be straightforward. However, it wasn’t so. I just didn’t give up on things I really wanted to achieve. In the beginning, I had problems in communicating properly. I watched quite a lot of English movies, read a lot of books and maintained a continuous communication with British people. Fortunately, my flat mates were British and they also studied Chinese language. All these factors worked up quite well together and I improved my ability to communicate in English improved strategically."  

Did UK education cause any effect on your overall growth?

"Yes, definitely. Studying in the UK has affected my growth overall. I became more independent with cooking and started doing my own chores. Back in China, I used to dine out a lot. However, in London, it wasn’t possible that way. I started cooking and tried to maintain a balance."

How did you find Sheffield?

"Sheffield is very nice and big city. It’s almost a hundred years old. The city is a mixture of old and new bits. The traditional food here is great. There are several authentic Chinese restaurants to dine out. Life is very peaceful and calm. Sheffield is the place where one should live. Once my professor said,“ Sheffield is like a black hole, you get in and never get out.”" 

What do you do in your free time? 

"I travel around to see the National Parks. It’s my way of learning culture and history. I have been to most east European countries. I go on hiking trips. Peak district was one of my favourite place to go for hiking. I also like to visit museums, art galleries and exhibitions. I have been to quite a few shows in the UK."



Do you have any advice for International students?

“I would suggest you to be independent, respect other people and their culture. Try to talk with people, communicate often and be open to accept other cultures.”

Thank you Dr Wei Chen for sharing your wonderful experience with us. We wish you luck for all your future endeavours.


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