“A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.” – Unknown
I feel that this quote does a great job at summing up what led to me to look into moving half way across the world to pursue my dream of completing a postgraduate Master’s program. Of course, there are other factors that come in to play when making such a big decision, but wanting to get out of my comfort zone and routine life helped me get on to the path that led me to where I am now – one month in to my MSc program at Brunel University London!
Types of Programs Offered
The first thing I looked into after deciding that I wanted to move away for school was what kind of programs were offered in the UK. After some research I learned that many postgraduate programs here are only 1 year long, which was very enticing to me. Back home in Canada most programs are at least 2 years long. Completing a master’s degree in half the time played a major role in me deciding that the UK was the place for me.
The program I am in is a course-based or taught master’s program, meaning that research is not the only method used for us to learn. We have 8 modules or courses to complete with different forms of assessments (exams, case studies, essays) and professors who conduct lectures on a wide array of topics. We still conduct research by completing a dissertation at the end of the year, but it is not as intense as the full research programs. I am not intending to complete a PhD or go into a career that is research based, so I decided to only look into taught programs.
Opportunity for Travel
Another reason I chose the UK as my new home was the opportunity for travel. I had been to Europe two separate times before moving here, and loved how easy it was to get from city to city or from country to country. There are so many cheap air, planes, and bus companies here that travelling can be cheap and easy! The UK is so well-connected that hopping on a train or bus to head to the coast or on a ferry to Ireland is not a big deal, which is something I am not used to, but can’t wait to utilize! Just be sure you know of any limitations that your student visa may have, as you wouldn’t want to have any issues coming back home if you leave the country!
Another main factor that played into my decision of picking the UK was how much it would cost and if there were any opportunities for scholarships. I knew I was going to have to get a student loan to help me cover the costs of tuition and living fees, but wanted to know if it was worth it. After finding out the cost for an overseas student I crunched the numbers and the cost for a 1 year program across seas was very similar to the price I would pay at a Canadian university for the 2+ years! The only extra cost would be for accommodation and living fees, which I would be paying for whether I was back in Canada or here in the UK. Plus, there are no fees to apply to universities here* so I was able to apply to 5 different universities without breaking the bank!
*Note from Across the Pond: This is usually very much the case over 90% of the time; occasionally a course will have an application fee. Your Across the Pond advisor can help you identify which courses/universities charge.
Lastly, the opportunity for scholarships played a role in my decision. I looked at the universities I was interested in and did my research on all the scholarships I would be eligible for. Most of the universities I wanted to apply to offered both academic performance scholarships as well as specific ones for international students. It is important to note,though, that you will not know if you receive any of these until you apply and are accepted; some universities may offer scholarships to you when they send you your confirmation letter, and others may require a scholarship application once you accept their offer.
One last bonus is that if you use Across the Pond to help you apply for a university in the UK, you have access to exclusive opportunities through them to help with the cost of your program. Across the Pond provided me info on all these topics and more and helped me make an informed decision. If you would like to find out more about studying in the UK please contact one of our advisors.