“Life is a book, and those who don’t travel read only one page” St. Augustine
My love for travel started when I was very young on my first international trip to Cuba, I was fascinated by the plane, the new place, and I treasure each of those memories. My passion only grew over the years, and I have been extremely fortunate to have parents and family who share this passion. In my 23 years on this planet, I have explored Europe, volunteered in Ecuador, and backpacked around Thailand and Nepal. These experiences have helped shape the person I am today and have also influenced my career goals. Therefore, the decision of studying abroad has always been in my mind, however, the decision to actually do it involved a lot more consideration then I thought.
To apply or not to apply
The first step in this journey is choosing to apply. For me the biggest fear I had was money. Not only were international fees more expensive but the exchange rate from Canadian dollars to the Pound is not the best, but when I sat down and looked at the finances I was pleasantly surprised. When I worked it out, a similar program in Canada was a minimum of 2 years, where over in the UK they were only 1 year because they went for a full 12 months. This meant that the tuition fees worked out to be the same amount, so definitely look at the comparisons between the programs you are considering! I also had a huge support system in my mom, and without her encouragement and help I would not be living my dream here in the UK today. As an all-knowing mother she is, she told me that if this is what I truly wanted we could make it happen. She told me to write down everything that was holding me back from making the decision, that way I could address them one by one. So, I started writing it all down, the first thing was a budget. I listed all the potential expenses I would have, from rent to cell phone bills to bus passes. Now that I had a fixed number on paper the idea of going seemed a lot more manageable, that number was something I could work towards and keep in mind when I wanted a $5 Starbucks drink.
After figuring out the finances it really came down to comparing programs, would the UK Masters teach the same things as a Canadian Masters? I was able to do some research and really looked critically at the course outlines to find the learning objectives and aims. By comparing the different programs, it was easy to see that all the choices were really very similar, and that even the UK options had more exciting aspects.
The last major hang ups I had was family. I am extremely close to the majority of my family and missing a year would mean missing a wedding, baby showers, and just them! It was hard to think about it like that, so instead I framed it as how much I would be able to experience over here and those memories I could then share with them when I go home. Also, in today’s day and age it hardly feels like I’m missing anything, what with Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Facetime its basically like I’m there!
In the end, for me, it really came down to understanding all the pros and cons, and realizing that this was a once and a lifetime opportunity and I would truly be ridiculous if I turned it down! If you’re struggling with figuring out your options, please contact one of the Across the Pond advisors as they can help you find a way to realize your dream of studying in the UK!