Guest Blog: The Unexpected
Studying abroad in the UK was not something I had expected...
I was born and raised in Hong Kong and came to the UK to study after I finished secondary education. It was totally out of the blue when my parents told me to consider studying abroad. The idea had never occurred to me before.
This was a big change for me!
I arrived in the UK the first time in September 2013 (and I still remember the first thing I ate was Subway!). I studied Humanities Foundation (Psychology & Sociology) at Bellerbys College, in Cambridge (the city of Cambridge… people always get confused whenever I say Cambridge). To be honest, my first year in the UK was not easy. Living in a foreign country is difficult, let alone being away from family and friends and using English as your everyday language. All in all, a very challenging time for me.
Even though it was tough for me, all I wanted was to get into a decent university.
In September 2014, I moved to Nottingham to study Psychology at the University of Nottingham. Once again it wasn’t easy for me to adapt, especially since starting university is quite overwhelming. Not only that, I was also struggling to find a church to settle in.
I was thinking “This is not what I expected my time in university to be like”.
Joining the university Christian Union Weekend Away was a turning point for me. While there, I met Stephy (she’s also from HK!) and she invited me to Beeston Free Church.
When I went there, I was amazed by how welcoming the congregation were to international students. I could see that people genuinely cared about you and would love to have you as part of the church family. This is where I feel at home now, a home away from home.
After a few months in the church, I joined the team at Globe Café to welcome and befriend other international students. I’ve been through it myself and understand the difficulties international students might face when they first come to in the UK.
I’m always grateful for the opportunity to study abroad in the UK. Not only the opportunity to study at university, but more importantly to deepen my faith in Christ. I know that God has a plan for me even though life might not go how we expect it to.
John, the minister at Beeston Free Church, always shares how awkward and difficult he found me when we first met up at Costa Coffee, because I was so shy and quiet that I barely said anything to him. But as time went on, I have become less shy and quiet and gradually got more involved in serving with international students. Now I’m spending a year with Friends International working with international students and sharing the gospel with them in Nottingham. It is not something that I had ever thought I would ever be doing in my life, and neither did John when we first met at Costa!
This is how God works in my life through many unexpected things, from studying abroad to getting out of my comfort zone, to sharing the Christian message with international students.