The University of Warwick is home to over 9,500 students from all corners of the globe and Julia Chin, hailing from Malaysia, is one of them. She is currently an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in economic studies and global sustainable development there.
“I chose to study this course because I found it very interesting and relevant to our modern climate,” she tells Study International over an email interview.
Offered by the School for Cross-faculty Studies, the programme spurs students to think critically and find solutions to some of the world’s Big Questions. While she learns more about climate change, biodiversity, gender equality and other issues related to sustainability, she’s getting a global perspective of her home country’s development.
As the second prize recipient of the British Council IELTS Prize — a 2,000 pounds award — Chin gets to focus more on all the above and less on the financial burden many students abroad face. Below we talk to her about what life in the UK is like as a University of Warwick student and the application process for the IELTS Prize:
Tell us about the application process for the IELTS Prize.
The IELTS Prize is extremely unique as it welcomes applicants regardless of their socio-economic background, uni destination and choice of degree course. While other scholarship awarding bodies were limited in the nature of the course options, the IELTS Prize accommodated my choice within the field of humanities at University of Warwick.
The application process was incredibly smooth and professionally conducted. I remember having to submit an online application form. This required a personal statement outlining reasons I wanted to study my course and explain the way in which I hope to make a difference. A few weeks later, I was shortlisted and invited to present a chosen topic to a panel of British Council representatives.
What made you choose to study your course at University of Warwick?
Growing up in Malaysia, I have observed how rapid economic development has negatively contributed to the welfare of my country as considerations of social justice and environmental sustainability continue to be neglected. Excessive urban growth has driven the over-construction of high-rise projects across the peninsula.
This has resulted in severe environmental degradation and the pervasiveness of erratic weather events boosted by climate change. Through my course, I hope to explore economic theory and developmental models to better my understanding of how sustainable development, especially in terms of cities, can be achieved within developing economies.
What do you like most about the country?
As strange as it sounds, I like the climate in the UK. I prefer the cool climate over the heat and humidity in Malaysia. While the UK is well known for its dull weather, I’ve been lucky enough to have only experienced a few gloomy and rainy winter days.
What have been your most memorable, non-academic experiences in the UK thus far?
It would have to be attending fun social events organised by uni societies. These events have allowed me to meet other students, make new friends and create lasting memories. Some of the people I met have now become my closest friends.
Tell us about your hometown.
I was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia. There are so many iconic places that would be worth visiting. However, the first place you need to check out would be the Petronas Twin Towers which are the tallest in the world.
You wouldn’t want to miss a photo opportunity with such a spectacular architectural masterpiece. At the base of the towers is Suria KLCC, which is one of the best upmarket shopping centres in the country, perfect for retail therapy.
Have you explored the region in the UK?
Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to explore due to my hectic schedule and COVID-19 restrictions. However, I have been able to explore Leamington which is a small town near my uni. It really stood out to me because of the beautiful architecture and quaint selection of shops.
What’s the local food there like? Tell us your most and least favourite.
Local food in the UK differs extensively to the food in Malaysia. It requires getting used to, especially as a foreigner. Out of all the local food I’ve tried, shepherd’s pie remains my favourite dish with fish and chips being my least favourite.