Sometimes studying abroad can seem daunting. We know, we’ve all been there…
It can help to hear some stories of studying in the UK from former students. So here are some firsthand accounts from students who went through the Across the Pond process and have completed or are in the midst of completing their degrees in the UK.
“One thing I could have prepared for a little better when studying in the UK was the weather in Scotland. Don’t get me wrong, I did my research! Online averages told me that Glasgow rarely experienced temperatures below freezing, and it almost never snowed. ‘Perfect,’ I thought. As a Canadian, I’ll have no problem! I’m used to -30°C wind chills and piles of snow! I have never been so wrong in my life.
Sure, it doesn’t snow, but it rains almost the entire winter season. And rain seeps into your jacket, your shoes, and just about everything else. Snow, you can brush off. But rain; rain takes over! It was a completely different type of cold, and it was one for which I was not prepared.
Don’t worry people, there is a solution- and it’s called Glasgow rain gear. Go into any shop in Scotland, and I guarantee they will have the warmest, most waterproof clothing items out there. Not to mention, they are all reasonably priced! Once I was equipped with the proper rain gear, and not the flimsy stuff I had brought with me, I took on Scottish weather just like the locals. I even enjoyed the winter, taking a trip up to the Isle of Skye in February to take in the Scottish Highlands.
What should you take home from this? Well, first- don’t believe the weather online! And second- embrace the rain, because it’s not that bad once you’re prepared.”
Emily Rolko, MSc Forensic Science, The University of Strathclyde
“When I arrived in London, I knew there was a lot I wanted to see and do. I had 12 months to study here, but I knew how time flies once you get busy! Before school got too intense, I made sure to start exploring the city. I was on my own, although I did begin to make friends with my peers very quickly. I enjoy walking through museums and galleries by myself, so that’s what I did! I have done so much in London, while other students I know have said that they just never got around to their ‘to-do lists’.
I’ve now been to most museums, galleries, districts and attractions because I made the effort to explore and adventure in the city, while balancing school at the same time. I found that the course loads were not too heavy during the term and allowed me time to have fun as well as work part-time.
My advice is, if you have a big list of things you want to do when studying in the UK, start doing them! Don’t waste time, and even if it is something you normally don’t do, try going out on your own. You can learn a lot not only about your city, but also about yourself.”
Mackenzie Glachan, MA in Nineteenth-Century Studies at King’s College London
“If I had to give one piece of advice to any student studying in the UK, it would be to know your priorities before you get here. Studying abroad in the UK affords one a consistent proximity to the entirety of Europe that people from North America don’t normally get. For me, travel has always been one of my main goals in life, so studying abroad in England was an ideal way to essentially get close to all the countries I had always wanted to visit.
In my situation, through student loans and personal funds I brought with me when I first moved, I was fortunate enough to have the ability to afford to travel when I wasn’t too busy with schoolwork. Because I had planned my finances out in advance of my arrival, I was able to not only spend a year living in England, but also to travel to Dublin, Amsterdam, and Paris, as well.
Studying abroad is a great way to get an education, but the best way to learn more about the world is to see more of it, and planning your finances out and knowing your travel priorities is a great way to ensure you get the most out of your study abroad experience.”
Stephen Ray, MA in English Literature, University of Nottingham