I would like to share my own experience and I hope it'll help.
At a time, I was desperate for the outside world like foreign countries. However, during a long period, I was not brave enough to take the first step, and certainly, out of fear, scared of my broken English and other unknowns. Nevertheless, the first time I saw the University of East Anglia (UEA) International Summer School Program, I knew it was time to apply what I was looking forward to reality.
My nerves had been stretched tightly since I was picked up at Heathrow airport. On the bus back to school, I would like to say hello to students nearby, but out of the deep-rooted introverted ethos of Chinese, I gave up. In the welcome brunch, by playing Bingo, I dared to pluck up courage to talk to those were strangers to me at that instant but later who became my most precious friends.
From then on, every time there were activities, I would try to hold back the willing which persuaded me to flock together with the other Chinese mates, as the reason I came abroad was to step out of the comfort zone. My friends probably had perceived my inquietude, for when I was with them they always engaged me naturally or half unconsciously. What impressed me most was an unnoticeable detail, the day we had dinner at Norwich, everyone at the table talked, when it was my turn, the exact time I tried to say something, the rest of the people would lean a little bit forward, just this simple subconscious gesture, making me feel fully respected and deeply moved, since then, I knew I was going to love this group.
After a few days’ endeavor, I could join the others with good grace. One night, after we held a party in the kitchen, I was about to leave, Peggy shouted at me, “You’re Chinese, you’re supposed to be shy!” I really couldn’t stop laughing that time. I admitted that I was very bad at being the stereotypical east Asian. On weekends, we went on a journey to Oxford, we made plans, booked tickets, and arranged accommodations all together. The cooperation made us closer, and we felt a close connection with each other. We did meet some difficulties and challenges, but I wasn’t afraid of them any longer. Right then, I realized the true meaning of youth, it’s not a time of life, but a state of mind, a mind of embracing challenges and unknowns.
I’m so grateful to UEA, my beloved friends as well as Roanne, Claire and Rachel, the staff who firmly supported us. There might be possibility that some of us won't see each other anymore, this period may also be drowned out in the trivial life, but every time when it rushes upon my mind, it would give me power and warmth. Looking at the outside world more often, not only could increase our knowledge, but what’s more important is that those once unknown, and once felt unattainable things have been intimately contacted with us, from then on they’ll be treated with ordinary mentality, aweing but no longer afraid.
If you are considering of applying, don't hesitate, you'll never regert a single bit of it :)