I am now attending Oxford Brookes University in Oxford, UK doing a masters in International Studies (International Relations). Initially I chose this school because of its location in Oxford but since coming here the program is well rounded to provide different opportunities after graduation. Having visited Oxford before, the city was one of the biggest factors to move here. It is big enough to do some exploring in your spare time but nothing is ever too far away. Oxford has a good mix of being very historical and traditional but with all the students there are always new things going on.
The cost of living is a little more expensive from home (Ontario, Canada) but there are always things to do and see that are both interesting and free. Living in university accommodations made the transition of moving here and settling into the university almost stress-free. The wardens of the halls were extremely helpful and having the first week to take in your new surroundings made it that much easier. While classes keep you fairly busy, there are many activities that could keep you involved, give you a break from work and allow you to make new friends. For me personally, I have joined a salsa dancing group but more casually I enjoy walking through the Oxford University Parks or even the city centre in general.
Taking this time to relax and do something you enjoy or even something new is one piece of advice I would give to a new student coming to Brookes, or even Oxford in general. As important as it is to keep on top of your work, having some time to unwind is essential especially if you are living in accommodations where the rooms are not very big. One other thing I would say is to talk to and get to know your tutors. Especially at Brookes, they are very approachable, helpful and happy to talk to you no matter what is going on.
Since I have been here, I have made some great friends and we have done some travelling together. London is a quick, easy and, as a student, fairly cheap bus or train ride for a day or weekend in one of the most famous cities in the world that I have done often. Over the Christmas Break I was joined by 3 new friend who went on a 3 week vacation to Spain, the French Riviera, and Italy. Being in the International Studies MA also allowed me to participate in a trip to Brussels and The Hague for a few days seeing sights like the EU Parliament and the International Criminal Court. I also have some upcoming plans to travel to Poland and Prague during the Easter Break and to Greece at the beginning of the summer before my dissertation takes up all my time.
I had a fabulous experience with Across the Pond. My advisor was very helpful right from the start, recommending Universities and programs that would be suited to me, all the way through helping with my visa and answering question that both my parents and I had. One of the best aspects of working with Across The Pond were the quick responses I received to questions and the role my advisor played in communicating with the universities regarding things like application submissions and acceptance requirements.