Studying overseas is an exciting prospect for freshies out of high school as they are eager to see the world beyond their backyard.
But as the saying ‘sailing into uncharted waters’ goes, leaving a life you’ve grown accustomed to for a foreign land is a daunting reality for some.
So how exactly should one navigate his/her way through?
Meet Nicole Lim, owner of the YouTube channel ‘Nicole Jia’. Launched two years ago, the channel mainly serves content regarding her student life in Shanghai, China.
“Studying overseas has always been a challenging dream for a lot of people because of the uncertainties. Thus, these students often look for seniors who can guide or at least clarify some doubts.
“Helping juniors gives me a great sense of satisfaction because I was once in their shoes. Hence, I know how lost and helpless they feel,” says the 22-year-old.
Nicole, who’s a final year student at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics and president of the Malaysian Students Association in China (MSAC), also possesses extensive knowledge about being a Malaysian student in China.
Highlights of the channel
There are two types of content Nicole focuses on in the channel. The first is where she shares about her school life and travels to different cities and universities within China.
“I love sharing footage of my life with my audience. It’s also another way of keeping the memories too.”
As for the second content type, Nicole often holds a series of Q&As about the challenges students often face furthering their studies in China such as visa applications, body check-ups, examinations, internships, etc.
“I would also create content according to the comments posted on the video,” she adds.
Nicole has also occasionally collaborated with other YouTubers producing similar content to discuss their encounters as university students in China.
How it all started
You would expect a YouTuber like Nicole to have an outgoing personality from a young age, but that wasn’t the case.
“I realised I had missed out on too many opportunities upon graduating from high school. It was one of the reasons why I started this channel and became more active in student associations.”
It was also during that time when Nicole discovered she had a knack for media-related work, convincing her to finally step out of her comfort zone and create ‘Nicole Jia’ in 2019. Although the channel had its own obstacles, it soon evolved into a platform for Nicole to act as a ‘lighthouse’ for students interested to study in China.
Is the grass greener on the other side?
Having spent many years in China, Nicole observed that some students have expressed their desire to pursue their studies in China not because of its high academic standards, but due to cultural influence from its homegrown celebrities.
“However, things aren’t as easy as it looks. In a crossover episode that I did with another Malaysian YouTuber named Rydah, I highlighted how tough it is to cope with your studies and handle culture shock at the same time.
“Therefore, I feel that I have the responsibility to let them know the real circumstances they will face,” she says.
For now, the channel has been put on hold due to the pandemic. But, Nicole is still up for guiding Malaysian students wanting to study in China.
If you’re looking for more information regarding studying in China, do check out other YouTubers producing similar content before deciding on what is possibly the biggest decision of your life.
Cover Images via Nicole Jia
Author: J.W Chan
Proofreader: Sarah Yeoh