My Year in England

Written by ATPAmbassador - 25/08/2020

by Kaley Dallaire

This time last year I was weeks away from moving to England for a yearlong master’s programme. One year later, I am weeks away from my completing my master’s. Despite everything that happened this year, my thoughts on living/ studying in the UK remain that it is an incredible experience and absolutely worth it for anyone that has a desire to study here.

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The very first photo I took upon arriving in Newcastle

September 2019: Arrival

After months of applications and planning I finally arrived in Newcastle. I decided to come about 10 days early with family to travel and settle in before starting school. I think this is a great idea to anyone who is able do this, as it really helps to ease into life in the UK. The first month here consisted of travel, setting up my bank account, getting a UK phone number, registering with a GP, and attending international student events.

October 2019- January 2020: First semester

The first semester of my master’s consisted of required modules. This gave me the opportunity to learn about the foundations of clinical psychology, cultural and professional issues that may arise in my future career, and about developing interventions to encourage healthy behaviour change. First semester was also spent getting used to university in the UK, especially with how assignments are graded. Despite being busy with school I still found time to visit London, attend the Edinburgh Christmas Market, and with a month off school for Christmas I was even able to come back to Canada.

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Pre-pandemic travel: The Victoria and Albert Museum in London

February- May 2020: Second semester

Second semester was when dissertation work began and when I could take modules of my choosing. My course had a large class size so getting a supervisor was rather competitive, however this is by no means the case for all programmes. I also learned a lot more directly relevant information such as therapy, developmental disorders, and even had an apprenticeship where I worked in a research team. Second semester also has a month-long break. However, one week before this break the UK entered lockdown and the rest of my year in England completely changed.

Travel plans got cancelled, dissertations were put on hold (due to needing in-person participation), lectures moved to online, and almost everyone moved home. To be completely honest this was all very disappointing. With many plans being cancelled and only having one year here it felt like my time here had come to a premature end. However, I quickly adjusted to life in lockdown and, looking back, surprisingly feel as though I didn’t miss out on much. I was lucky that lockdown occurred right before the break so I only had two weeks of online lectures, and I was also extremely lucky to have had a dissertation with data already collected so I was able to keep my project (unfortunately many students had to come up with completely new projects). While second semester took a surprising turn, studying continued and my final semester quickly approached.

May- August 2020: Final semester

The summer semester has no lectures and is completely dedicated to writing your dissertation. Thanks to lockdown and not being able to collect additional data I was able to dedicate most of my time to writing my dissertation, and everyone was given an extension on our projects. While this was definitely not an ideal situation, everything has turned out completely fine! I am now two weeks away from submitting my dissertation, the UK is opening back up, and life is progressively going back to ‘normal’.

August 2020: The year coming to an end

With only two weeks left of school I have been thinking about how fast this time has gone and what a crazy year this ended up being. Despite 2020 taking an unexpected turn, I am still finishing the year with a master’s that prepared me to get a job in my desired field and is the perfect next step to eventually completing a doctorate. Even after everything that has happened, moving to the UK was still an amazing experience and absolutely worth it; so much so that I have decided to take my adventures to Scotland to spend another year in the UK!

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The view of Edinburgh from the Edinburgh Castle

I completely recommend studying in the UK, even after everything that ended up happening this year. If you are interested in being a student in the UK, you can find out more by contacting an Across the Pond advisor (trust me, it’s absolutely worth it!).

Sources   ATP advisor:  
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