I decided to come to the UK from Mainland China when I was 16, and started doing my A-levels in Oxford. Having enjoyed maths, further maths, physics, chemistry and biology in my A-level, I knew I really wanted to study an applied science in university. So I applied for general engineering in Oxford as it provides me the chance to explore all types of engineering before specialising in a particular field. As later when I did an engineering internship, I realised the importance of having known different engineering disciplines in an engineering career as the problems engineers face are usually complex and cross-disciplinary.
As well as I have gained solid foundations for major engineering disciplines, I would say the other great benefits I found from the course are: my academic skills and interpersonal skills have been honed; I believe those skills will stand me out in my future career. Also, there are so many opportunities in Oxford for science students and especially for female students; I joined the Springboard Programme for undergraduate female students where I found the skills taught were beneficial for my life and study and I leaned to be assertive in the male dominated subject. In my 3rd year, through Oxford International Internship programme, I was lucky to intern at Petra Energia, an oil and gas company in Brazil, over the summer and awarded the fund from BP to support my trip. It was the best summer internship I have ever had. During the time with Petra, I spent two weeks on 3 oil rigs and was exposed to the front line of oil and gas exploration, and I gained valuable insights into upstream business. I also involved in project management team in the company, and helped to optimise their online data management system. From this experience, I finally knew what I wanted for my career, as to work in the energy industry. So far, I have been very much enjoyed my own project on solar energy. I have been given so many opportunities and supports from the university, so I have shown my own way to give back; I worked as a fundraiser for Oxford Development Abroad society, which supports sustainable development in developing countries.
It has been a life rewarding experience to study in the country that is not my home country. I encourage international students like me, especially female students who fascinate science to stick on your choice and be confident about what you have chosen. In the future, I am hoping to work in the energy industry where I could apply what I learned at Oxford to solve real challenges.