Sam Toms

Sam Toms

BSc Economics 2014

United Kingdom

Why did you choose to come to Leeds University Business School (LUBS)?
I got a fantastic impression of the Business School after visiting on a post-offer open day. The staff went to great lengths to reassure me that this was the place for me and they were absolutely right.

Have you joined any student societies/sports clubs at the university? Tell us something about your experience in these.
I played for the Business School Rugby Team. It was a great chance to mix in a new circle of friends and continue playing at a relatively high level.

What are your ambitions for the future?
My year abroad has given me a taste of life outside the UK so I will quite likely move abroad after University. I now see a completely different picture in comparison to 12 months ago.
I would love to move back to Hong Kong on a more permanent basis however I may take advantage of the freedom after graduation to combine working and travelling abroad for a short time.

Did you enjoy your placement/year abroad? What have you gained/benefited from by doing a placement/year abroad?
Studying abroad at City University of Hong Kong for a year has undoubtedly proved a highly refreshing and invaluable experience. The contrast in cultures is vast and embracing Eastern values and traits was challenging but rewarding. I shared a room with a local student and this proved to be an excellent way to immerse myself in everyday Chinese life. I have experienced first-hand the importance of etiquette and upholding traditional values in Chinese culture.

A primary factor in my destination of choice was the diversity of culture not only in Hong Kong but also throughout Asia. Hong Kong has been a springboard to a myriad of interesting countries. I spent 25 days travelling through Indonesia over Christmas and New Year, a country abounding with dramatic landscapes and cultural highlights. It was an extraordinarily eye-opening experience. Taking two semesters in a foreign university is uncommon across many other countries and institutions so I have become a more outgoing and sociable person. It is a test of character of how well you can cope without safety nets of family and established friendships.

The differences between education systems provided the opportunity to develop different proficiencies. A more interactive learning style has strengthened my communication and teamwork skills considerably. More freedom in module choices has provided knowledge in new areas, such as Sustainability in Business. This is in addition to gaining broader knowledge around my major, such as Urban and Green Economics. I have been able to combine my academic work with the pursuit of other interests such as travel and photography.

I undertook private tutoring work to provide additional financial resources, which has allowed me to travel more and broaden my overall learning experience. Balancing this in addition to academic studies was quite difficult at specific times but I found they were complementary aspects that ultimately gave me more of an insight into local lifestyle and culture. A by-product came about in the form of gaining professional contacts to improve potential business opportunities in Hong Kong. My acquisition of the language was slow initially but I readjusted my priorities in my second semester to learn Cantonese.

Taking a year to study abroad in Hong Kong has been undoubtedly the biggest and most influential decision I have made and I cannot stress enough how beneficial it has been.

If you have not taken a Year in Industry, have you had any other work experience/internships/project work? If yes, please tell us a about this, what did you do, did you enjoy it, what did you gain from the experience?
I gained a summer internship at the Department of Health which taught me a huge amount about working with and relying on other members of a team in a professional environment. I learnt how to maintain different areas of work whilst working in two separate teams, Quality Regulation and Resource Allocation, on a day-to-day basis. I learnt how to manage work schedules, such as managing a national database for NHS trusts, increasing the efficacy of my time.

Tell us about being a student in Leeds, do you have any highlights or recommendations for future students?
Student life in Leeds is everything that people say it’s like and more. They have a huge focus on student experiences and I would struggle to find fault from my time here in the last two years.

Last updated:

Read more about: