Moving to the UK has always been a dream of mine. With the help of Across the Pond, they were able to turn this dream into a reality. I always knew that I wanted to study abroad in the UK – I mean, who wouldn’t? The UK is absolutely stunning; with picturesque sceneries, more castles than you can count, unlimited pubs, and the people are incredibly friendly. Moving away from home can be scary, but it can open you up to amazing opportunities. Like the chance to connect and meet new people, broadening your horizons, and having the experience of a lifetime. So, let me tell you about mine!
When I thought about studying in the UK my brain immediately thought of universities solely in England, until Across the Pond helped me in exploring my options. They informed me about prestigious universities in Scotland – a place I never imagined myself living. After I informed Across the Pond about specific degrees I was interested in applying for, they sent me the universities and their programs that would be most fitting. This is when I discovered the University of Aberdeen – and the rest is history. I now get to wake up to a cozy rainy morning or a beautiful sunny day in the charming granite city of Scotland.
The University of Aberdeen
The decision to move to the UK was an easy one, however the decision of where to study within the UK came down to three factors:
I informed Across the Pond of my three concerns and they did not disappoint. They sent me a list of top UK universities, all while settled in safe cities with beautiful sceneries. Many of these schools were, in fact, in Scotland – again, a place I never thought of living.
When I officially decided to pursue a masters in Creative Writing, Across the Pond was more than willing to help me achieve this dream. They helped to connect me to different UK universities, all with prestigious reputations. In the list of schools, they sent me, they highlighted the University of Aberdeen. It has been ranked as a Top 20 UK University and ranked as number 2 in the UK for Creative Writing. I was very impressed. Not only with the school’s reputation but with its safety ranking as well. Compared to other major UK cities, Aberdeen ranks very low in crime across the UK and their beautiful picturesque campus had me hooked. Thus, Aberdeen became one of my main choices.
I am currently obtaining a master’s degree in Creative Writing. It is a one-year program that I began in January 2023. The program focuses on courses in writing short fiction, poetry, screenwriting, and other English literature. My course is extremely enjoyable. I look forward to writing new stories, learning about poetry from experts, and developing a new skill in scriptwriting. The professors for my course were not only experts in their fields but also incredibly kind and approachable. Their teaching methods encouraged me to think out-side-the-box and collaborate with other Creative Writing students. One of the most valuable aspects of my experience at the University of Aberdeen was the opportunity to collaborate with students from, not only the UK, but across the globe. My classrooms were filled with students from all different cultures, languages, and perspectives. Engaging in group discussions provided me with a broader perspective which benefited my writing undoubtedly. It also helped me to develop essential teamwork and communication skills that can benefit me in the future.
The historic architecture of King’s College, the lush green surroundings, and the warm Scottish hospitality made me feel at home the minute I stepped foot onto Aberdeen’s campus. The University staff was extremely welcoming, along with its student’s during Fresher’s Week. Fresher’s Week was an unforgettable experience and I encourage anyone and everyone to participate once they arrive at the University. It is a chance to meet people and make new friends. It is also the opportunity to join multiple societies and connect with the university’s student associations. Joining societies and attending campus events was one of the main ways I met my long-term friends.
The University of Aberdeen offers a boat-load of societies. If there isn’t a society in your field or one that you are interested in you could even create one! You would think as a Creative Writing student I joined the Creative Writing society, I did not. Writing is a passion of mine, not a hobby. Therefore, I wanted something that separated me from my studies. I joined Aberdeen U’s Wine Society – one of my best decisions. I was able to meet new people who shared the same love for wine as I did. We would host events, meetings, and parties which allowed me to meet a wide range of different people who enjoyed similar things as I did. This made meeting new people and making friends much easier when moving abroad to a new country.
One of the best decisions I ever made was living off campus. As a 25-year-old Master’s student, I was not up for the challenge of living with four to seven flat mates. As I did my own research regarding Aberdeen U’s accommodation, I realized this wasn’t going to be an ideal fit for me – I can be quite picky with where I live. But, it was good that I was because I ended up discovering that Aberdeen has student accommodation housing across its city for students studying at the Universities. The one I ended up applying for suited my needs in every way. Its modern studio design was absolutely perfect for what I was looking for. Spacious rooms with a private ensuite bathroom and kitchenette were of top priority to me. All studios also came with a large bed and study area. Its communal spaces allowed me to socialize with new friends. Such as hanging out in the cinema room, playing ping-pong or pool, or just catching up by the couches; these areas opened my opportunities to meeting new people from the University who I never would have met at Fresher’s or in my course. It is also in the perfect location – only a 10-minute walk from the University of Aberdeen and just a 10-minute walk to the city center: best of both worlds!
Aberdeen is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. From the cobblestone streets of Old Aberdeen to the stunning beaches along the coastline, every corner of the city is just picturesque. My weekdays were filled with exploring new cafes, pubs, and Aberdeen’s exquisite nightlife. While my weekends were spent hiking through the Scottish Highlands and visiting ancient castles (which some were only a short drive away)! I love this walkable city that is filled with delicious local bakeries alongside fair-trade cafes. I love it for its unlimited access to pubs and clubs. As well as its incredible beaches. I love taking a stroll down Aberdeen’s Beach Front. After grabbing a coffee and dessert from one of the carts at the beach. I would plop myself down at one of the benches and look out at the beautiful, peaceful sea – which is sometimes filled with dogs playing by the sand. As a nature lover, I am always keen to spot wildlife. So, I jumped at the chance when I was told about seal watching at Newburgh Seal Beach, only 20 minutes north of Aberdeen. The Greyhope Bay Cafe in Aberdeen is another wonderful cafe with the opportunity to see marine life. A historic site of Torry Battery offers panoramic views of the coast and is the best place in the UK to spot dolphins from the shore. The cafe even provides its guests with binoculars!
Aberdeen is regarded as a safe and welcoming city. I can confidently say that I have felt nothing more than safe and comfortable while in Aberdeen. The city’s well-lit streets, efficient public transit system, and the University's safety app contribute to a sense of security. It has a strong sense of community and a very low crime rate. It has offered me a peaceful environment for me to explore the city during the day or night.
Beyond Aberdeen’s breathtaking sceneries, Aberdeen’s warm and welcoming community adds to my sense of belonging here. The city’s rich history and medieval architecture and museums, adds to the city’s mystery and curiosity. Whether sipping on a cup of tea or locally brewed coffee in a cozy cafe, strolling through Seaton Park from campus, or enjoying the lively atmosphere of its traditional pubs, I found that Aberdeen offers a balance between tradition and modernity. I absolutely love it here!
While my time abroad was one of the best experiences of my life, it had its struggles too. Adapting to a new culture, being away from loved ones, and having to navigate life in a foreign country is not easy. But, this experience helped me grow into an independent, resilient, and adaptable young woman. Overcoming these challenges made me feel a sense of accomplishment that, overall, boosted my morale and confidence in all aspects of my life. Because if I can do it, anyone can!
Reflecting on my own journey abroad has reminded me of just how amazing this experience has been. I can confidently say that I have not only gained a world-class education from the University of Aberdeen in a degree that I am extremely passionate about while being taught by the top experts in my field, but I have also gained many new memories, long-life friendships, and experiences that will shape my life for years to come. Studying abroad has ignited a lifelong love of learning and curiosity about the world and the people in it and I have Across the Pond to thank for it!