Thanks to summer school in Canada, Zerong Chen claims that culture shock wasn’t too much of a concern when he travelled from China to begin an MPhil. But although he considered returning to Canada for his postgraduate studies, once the offer came through from Cambridge all other options were disregarded.
“It’s Cambridge!” he laughs. “You’re not going to turn it down!”
Darwin quickly rose to the top of Zerong’s list of preferred Colleges because, he says, “it has the most impressive name of all the Colleges”. While Jesus College, among others, may dispute this perspective, Zerong was also won over by Darwin’s “homelike” atmosphere, and quickly made himself at home in the Old Granary.
His studies in Population Health Sciences had a new resonance in the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic, with explorations of statistics, epidemiology and clinical trials suddenly part of everyday conversations. But studying in a second language has added an extra hurdle to an already intense course.
“The lectures were fine, but making reports in English has been a challenge,” Zerong admits.
Clearly it’s a challenge that he is prepared to continue, as Zerong plans to stay on and pursue a PhD. Having conveniently acquired a friend with a car, he has been using his weekends to explore the UK and, despite its size when compared with both China and Canada, there is still more to see.