Jiaming Xu, BSc Sport and Exercise Science, international students

Jiaming Xu

Why did you choose the University of Leeds? 

I did my A Levels in Switzerland so I knew I wanted to stay in Europe for my degree, I really liked living in Europe and thought the UK had a good reputation for university education. I decided on the University of Leeds as it is a Russell Group university and has a good reputation. It is one of the best universities for Sport and Exercise Science which means I will receive high-quality teaching and the latest research in Sport Science, this would be beneficial when applying for further education and job roles in the future.

Moreover, Leeds really fits my expectation the time of place I wanted to go to university. I didn’t want a city that was too large or overcrowded and Leeds is the perfect city as it is big enough to everything I need, good transport to anywhere, is safe but is not too crowded.

What type of work have you done on your course?

This course involves practical lab sessions on a regular basis, we often have the opportunity to apply the theories we have learnt with various equipment or do experiments in the lab. My favourite module so far has been about motor control, in groups we did a practical experiment where we examined how the body moves when playing golf. We were investigating the body movement as a person plays and what muscles and tenders are active when certain movements are made. From this, we were better able to understand how to improve performance and avoid injury.

I enjoyed this practical work and working with my classmates in a group as we were able to learn from each other and work together. We produced a group poster to show our results and presented it as part of the project.

What discovery modules have you taken and how have they help your studies? 

I have studied some German when I was doing my A Levels in Switzerland so I was happy that I could take German in level 1 as a discovery module. Discovery modules are modules that Leeds offer alongside your degree that you can take to enhance your learning. In second year I took Human Motor Development and the LEED module Sport Development and Management which are modules related to my course which have expanded my knowledge in related fields

LEED modules like Sport Development and Management encourages students to study for sport related qualifications, I have now achieved first aid, sport strapping and taping certificates and currently studying for S&C coaching.

What are your ambitions for the future? Do you have specific career plans?

The course content of Sport and Exercise Science is very board, and this allows me to find out what area I’m interested the most and dig in that area, and studied in all fields would also help for many roles in a future career.

What I like most about this degree is the wide variety of pathways and doors that it opens, you can do lots of different things with a degree in this field besides teaching or working in fitness. I am interested in pursuing a research career path and completing my PhD. Areas of research that interest me in pursuing are more than health, it is how humans move, cardiovascular, physiology, metabolism and human development. I would like to research more into competition anxiety and stress management for sports like golf, and how we can address this.

There are also various support services in place in FBS, including career talks, career fairs, CV writing support, mock interview etc. which were helpful and showed me lots about the available opportunities. 

Are there any significant differences between studying at Leeds and your home country?

UK is a cultural country with long history, choosing to study in the UK is because it is a combination of modernity and history. And I really like that in Leeds, students’ opinions matters, and FBS would actually consider feedback from student and make reasonable changes. FBS respect students’ privacy, grades were announced anonymously, only the student him/herself can know the grades.

The accommodations at the University of Leeds are way different from my home country. In China, it is very common to have multiple students living in the same bedroom in a dormitory style, which can mean there is not much privacy. In the UK and at the University of Leeds, everyone has their own bedroom and has lots of private places to relax and study in their room.

What do you enjoy most about living in the city of Leeds?

I have friends who are studying in other cities in the UK, but I like studying at Leeds the best because it’s a great location and the university is so close to the city centre. Some of my friends go to universities where the campus is far away from the city centre but Leeds campus is in the heart of the city and it really makes a big difference when you are getting around. While there is plenty of buses and trains, everything is close enough that you can also just walk around from your accommodation to your lectures to the city centre, and it’s much less crowded than other cities in the UK. I also find living in Leeds very affordable, and there is plenty of things that students can do even if you are on a budget.