Describing my university experience in the United Kingdom is a difficult task, as it has honestly been one of the most fun and exciting times of my life. I heartily recommend this experience to anyone who is thinking about a Master's, as living and studying in a new country allows you to not only explore new cultures, but also appreciate home more. At the beginning of my experience, settling into the university was a lot easier than expected. I live in university accommodation so everyone I met was in a similar situation of being in a new city (or country) and of knowing no one, we all became fast friends. The university offered services and a welcome package to help me every step of the way; it was an exciting time and while it was a little scary coming to a university in a new country I was able to settle in and become comfortable here in no time.
As a student of medieval archaeology, I chose University of Sheffield because of its amazing archaeology department and the comprehensive courses offered. The quality and direction of the education I was going to be receiving was the most important factor in my decision to choose Sheffield University, and it has since proven to be a good choice.
Sheffield is an interesting city. It was originally very industrial and has since transitioned into a very hip and welcoming place to live. There is always something to do, either in the city centre or in the peak district, and it is small enough that I feel very comfortable moving about and yet large enough to host any number of events and festivals. That being said, the cost of living is much greater in the United Kingdom simply because the pound is stronger than the Canadian dollar. This has impacted my lifestyle in certain ways; I eat out much less and I don’t spend as much on things I want. I tend to put any extra I have into travelling the county, something I do quite often! At the beginning of the year, when I had less coursework, I would visit one city in the surrounding area every weekend, exploring the country and having small adventures. The British transit system is amazingly easy to navigate and there are few places you cannot get to. Cities like Manchester and York have become regular destinations, and from Sheffield I have been able to travel to London, Edinburgh, and even Paris at very little expense. I would definitely recommend a rail pass!
Without Across The Pond, I don’t think I would have had the courage to apply for my Master's in the United Kingdom. It was such a daunting task, and having someone who understood the process and who was there to support me in my academic endeavours was an invaluable resource, making my experience applying for my Master's much less stressful and intimidating than it otherwise would have been.