My experience studying at the Student Learning Centre

Li Zhang, a PhD candidate studying at the Student Learning Centre in Beijing, shares her experiences at the Centre.

Tell us about your study experience at the Student Learning Centre in Beijing.

How time flies! I have been studying at the Victoria University of Wellington Student Learning Centre at Capital Normal University (CNU) for about two months.

On 1 August, I came to Beijing from Jinan by train, with my two large suitcases. The very first day at CNU, I met my three lovely roommates, and settled into my clean, quiet study room.

The next day, the teachers at CNU and VUW held an orientation for us. Then the fast-paced and happy student life began.

What is it like at the Student Learning Centre?

The dormitory is well equipped with an air conditioner and a private bathroom. There is delicious food, provided by the cafeteria. We can live comfortably here and focus on our study. I really appreciate the study and living environment that the Centre offers us.

I also love the library at CNU, which provides so many materials related to my research topic. And the headteacher Catherine (Yongqin Xi) is quite friendly and always patient with any questions.

Li Zhang sits at a desk with a pen
Student Li Zhang works on a calligraphy task

What was your study experience like before you joined the Student Learning Centre?

Before I came here, I studied at my home in Jinan. At home, there are too many distractions, and I don’t have the necessary materials and documents. I cannot focus on my study. As I am in my first year of PhD, I have to fulfill my proposal as soon as possible or I won’t be able to pass the oral examination of the full registration. Studying at a campus of a University is essential for me. I hope I can study here until I am allowed to go back to Victoria University of Wellington in person.

How would you describe your typical day?

Usually, I get up at 7.30 am. I have my breakfast in the cafeteria. Then I go to the study room or library at around 8 am. In the study room, I read papers and books related to my thesis for about three to four hours. Then I go back to the cafeteria and enjoy a big lunch. Too many good meal choices are waiting for me every day!

After lunch, I come back to my dormitory and have a nap. At around 2 pm, I come back to the study room or library to continue my study. About three or four hours later, I come to the cafeteria for my dinner. And then I come back to the study room to continue my study. Later, I might choose to jog in the playground in the campus for half an hour and come back to the dormitory to take a shower at around 10:30 pm and go to sleep.

Sometimes I go shopping with friends outside the campus. I also go to some well-known scenic spots and historical buildings for fun, such as the Old Summer Palace, the Summer Palace, and the Forbidden City. These spots are not far from CNU. Occasionally, about once a month, I leave the pressure of study and just enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of these spots.