Global Business School for Health


Reflecting on my first month at GBSH

14 December 2023

GBSH student ambassador Esther shares her exhilarating journey of studying abroad at UCL, highlighting the academic challenges, networking opportunities, and personal growth experiences. Discover her insights and tips for thriving in a new environment.

Reflecting on my first month at GBSH

Since I was young, I have always dreamt about studying abroad, and one of my top destinations is the UK (probably under the influence of the quintessentially British movies Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes). Hence, I couldn't contain my excitement when I received the unconditional offer letter from UCL, the top university in the world.  

Life in UCL GBSH 
Due to my previous work commitment, I arrived in London after the course commenced. It was a rather hectic and exhausting experience as I rushed to the university after a 14-hour direct flight. (So, juniors, please learn from my mistakes.) If I can rewind this, I would fly to London at least a week before the class starts. This would allow me more time to adjust to my jet lag and acclimate to this new environment.

Nonetheless, the whole process was exhilarating, and the buzzing city woke me up despite being exhausted. The academics are challenging, and it has been a steep learning curve for me. At first, I was overwhelmed by the vast number of readings, but thanks to the stimulating, supportive and friendly lecturers and professors, I managed to grasp the gist of this course and develop my study system. The teaching style in the UK is unique and more student-centric. Instead of being passive listeners in the lecture, students are encouraged to express their thoughts. Collaborative learning (co-learn) has helped them hone communication skills and teamwork. I am glad that I have great teammates, and we are synergistically working on building our chatbot and accomplishing the tasks.
Networking opportunities   
Aside from academics, GBSH has organised various workshops and lectures for students to join for free! To name a few, GBSH has hosted inaugural seminars, careers festival workshops and hackathons, which will futureproof the students' career prospects and direct interactions with potential employers and industry professionals. On a side note, I had the opportunity to join the Digital Health AI and Data 2023 conference and exhibitions. It was an insightful event that dissected the crucial challenges encountered during the revolution. One of our lecturers, Mr Hassan Chaudhury, is the moderator and panellist for this conference. I seized the networking opportunity with these experts, shaping the next stage of AI in healthcare.  

esther pass

Life outside study 
Studying life in London does not mean cramming my brain with all the theories and academics. UCL is a vibrant university with many clubs and societies you can join. I am an adventure-seeker and have hiked The Roy's Peak in New Zealand and Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia (the tallest mountain in Southeast Asia). The UK is famous for its picturesque landscapes, so I can't wait to conquer the peaks. In conjunction with Black History Month, I joined the hiking club at Tilbury Port, the arrival port for the Empire Windrush, on 22nd June 1948. Walking down the walkway of memories at Tilbury Bridge, I was immersed in the history of the Windrush pioneers and their legacy.   


Personal growth and survival skills  
Now that I have settled in London, I enjoy cooking and baking in my free time. Cooking is an act of self-care, and I treat it as my personal meditation time in which I can completely detach from my assignments. I love to call my mom and ask for her secret recipe when I miss her cooking, which has helped me cope with homesickness. Stepping out of my comfort zone and navigating daily life in a new country has helped me develop problem-solving skills and resilience. 

Studying abroad has opened my eyes to the world around me. I was initially dumbfounded by how little I know about digital health, and I am glad to be here to learn and think outside the box. I have been exposed to different cultures, new people, networking opportunities and, most importantly, the opportunity to learn from renowned leaders in the digital health realm. If there were a piece of advice I could offer to anyone who is still pondering about studying abroad, my advice would be a big YES! Take a leap of faith; the world is your oyster. Despite that, I still have a long way to go; I believe it is safe to say that my student life at GBSH is enriching!