MLitt Interdisciplinary English StudiesYao Wang, China

Interdisciplinary English Studies student Yao WangTell us a little bit about your background...
I am from China, on the East Coast. Before I came to Strathclyde for my Masters, I completed my undergraduate degree in English back home.

What inspired you to study English?
I have always been interested in English media, like foreign films or novels. Especially in my high school years, I spent whole summers watching shows in English. Later on, when I started to be able to understand the content, I felt there was more interesting things I could dig into with the help of the language. That is the reason why I chose English as my major for my undergraduate.

Why did you choose to study Interdisciplinary English Studies at Strathclyde?
Strathclyde had a Masters student program with my university back home, that is how I knew about Strathclyde. Among all the majors - I am interested in so many of them - pan-humanities subjects are all very appealing to me so I felt Interdisciplinary Studies would be a good starting point as I can touch on lots of different topics and fields of studies.

Did you seek any support during the application process?
Yes, the application process can be a little bit intimidating at the beginning. Especially as my application was already considered late when I started to apply for Strathclyde. However, after sending out a few emails making sure of some procedures, the rest of the application was not too difficult. I would also like to pay great gratitude to Rona, a friendly and super helpful member of Strathclyde staff. She helped me a lot during the application process. She is also the person who introduced me to Strathclyde in the first place.

What has home learning been like in comparison to your traditional form of learning?
Home learning is different and difficult. The fact that I am far away from home made everything even harder. I enjoy the feeling of sitting in a classroom with other people, it gives me the chance to talk to other students and also makes asking questions to teachers so much easier. I do not typically enjoy home learning, if I do need to name some advantages then it actually gave me a reason to not go out on a rainy day.

What specialist knowledge/professional skills are you hoping to develop whilst studying the course?
The ability of linking ideas is really important for this course. I am still trying to improve this very skill as I am not very strong in doing analysis. Most of the time, I think of many different things or aspects to discuss when I was asked to write a piece of work. However, thinking from various angles is beneficial during the discussion but not enough for writing the actual work. What I need is trying to organise my thoughts and linking ideas before putting them into writing.

What would be your advice for people considering taking this course?
Take a more active role in discussion during the tutorial and don’t be afraid to communicate with professors. Most of the time, when I was struggling on things, a short chat with a teacher can help me greatly. Also, do reading selectively. Try to pick up an angle or area you are interested in, spend most of your time reading that specific part. It is almost impossible to read all of the material for me as I read slowly due to English not being my first language. I felt very frustrated sometimes when I spent more than 30 minutes on one single page of the book. But after several weeks, I realized, these books or essays are maybe just written densely and hard to understand. What I need to do is write down what I am struggling with and move on to the part that I can understand.

What have been some of the main challenges studying at postgraduate level, so far?
Academic writing and writing analysis heavy essays. English being my second language is making everything so much harder for the postgraduate studies. The amount of reading and writing I need to do has also increased sharply compared with my undergraduate years. Time management became crucial and I am still working on this.

What are your ambitions for the future?
I am currently planning on further studies. Looking forward to start my PhD study in English in Strathclyde in the next few months.