Hok Yee Cheung

BSc Forensic Science and Criminal Investigation

Hok Yee arrived in Preston from her native Hong Kong to fulfil a dream she’d harboured since secondary school - to study Forensic Science. Along her UCLan journey she discovered that the way of teaching in the UK was a lot more suited to her learning style and she benefitted from the practical classes. Hok Yee started her studies with a year-long foundation course at ONCAMPUS UK North before progressing to UCLan for three years and graduating with a First Class Honours in Forensic Science and Criminal Investigation.

"When I was in secondary school, I wanted to study Forensic Science. I did some research online to see where I could do my degree and I found that UCLan offer a Forensic Science and Criminal Investigation course. It was what I was looking for and the syllabus attracted me the most.

"I did a year-long foundation programme at ONCAMPUS UK North studying Life Sciences before I started Year 1 at UCLan. Students were able to progress to Year 1 at UCLan if they passed the requirements of the course they wanted to enrol on.

Student Hok Yee Cheung on the steps of the Harris Museum

Before going to the UK, I studied in Hong Kong until I finished secondary school (equivalent to A-level in the UK). I think the difference is in Hong Kong the focus on memorising the exact wordings from text books to get a tick for our answers in exams, whereas in the UK the focus is on how you understand something and explain it in your own words in exams. When I came to the UK my grades improved because I was more suited to the teaching style.

I loved the practical classes on my course at UCLan, for example the crime scene investigation, crime scene photography and forensic practice modules. Due to my learning style, I may not be able to learn everything sitting in lectures so it’s very nice to have many practical classes for students to actually work on what we are taught in class. It also ensures that students are able to work on their own.

The tutors and professors for my course were very friendly and helpful. Every time I had problems with my studies, they were willing to explain and help me until I understood. I even became friends with a few of them and even though I have now graduated, I still keep in touch with them!

In my first year at UCLan there was a two-day leadership trip to Wales where I met new friends and lecturers from the course. Meeting new friends and getting to know the lecturers benefitted me in my studies and university life throughout the three years.

In April 2019 I joined a 4-day work placement with the Lancashire Forensic Science Academy. I shadowed a Crime Scene Investigator to see how investigations are done in real volume crime scenes. I wouldn’t have the opportunity to attend this type of placement in Hong Kong.

I also chose to attend an Advanced Shooting Investigation and Reconstruction Course at the University of New Haven, USA in June 2019. It was a golden opportunity as there were only six students chosen from our faculty to attend this trip. We spent five days in The Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science learning the theory of shooting incident reconstruction and practical applications of tools and instruments on the scene to record and recreate the events that occurred. We were honoured to be able to meet Dr Henry Lee in person during the course.

I think the UK education system provides the opportunity for students to actually learn knowledge instead of study for exams. That’s why I prefer studying in the UK.

My first impression of UCLan was that it is a university that is located in a small city which is quiet and remote. However, after a while staying in Preston, I think it’s a really nice area to study. It’s very convenient from where I lived to the supermarkets and city centre, it only took me 10-15 minutes’ walk. There are many nice restaurants and coffee shops around and the train station is located in the city centre which is convenient to travel to somewhere else during holidays. I visited: London, Manchester, Chester, Wales, York, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Blackpool, Cambridge, Birmingham and Leeds. In Europe I visited Prague, Budapest and Belgium.

The on-campus gym is fully equipped with nice facilities such as badminton courts and dancing rooms.  The weather in Preston seems like almost the same every day for me. The temperature is always around 9-16°C, cloudy with some wind. It is really nice if it’s a clear and sunny day!

I stayed in UCLan accommodation in Derwent Hall for a year during my foundation year. Then I moved to private student accommodation in Foundry Court and I lived there for three years in total. After moving to Foundry Court, I stayed in a flat with two flatmates where we shared the kitchen and we all had our own bathroom inside our bedroom (en-suite). I really preferred this style of living, being able to have my own bathroom really made life easier.

I made new friends from my course, my accommodation and from UCLan clubs and societies. In my spare time I would hang out with my friends in Preston city centre, go shopping, sometimes we would travel somewhere else by train, watch movies, go for a drink, attend socials and go clubbing arranged by the clubs and societies. I also enjoyed cooking and baking in my flat - so much fun!

I always wanted to study abroad for my degree, and I was so lucky that I had the chance to really do something I like. I enjoyed the time I spent in the UK. I have learnt so much from class and outside class by attending lectures, practical, work placement and trips. You never know what you can achieve until you try, therefore it’s worth trying out new things!

19 December 2019