Study Public Relations, Communications and Media abroad in the UK

I earned a world-class degree while seeing the world

I first got in contact with Across the Pond just after graduating with my Bachelor’s Degree. After some looking and job opportunities, I put my applications on hold. I contacted my student advisor again and picked up where I left off. After looking at universities and programs in the states, it became clear that many programs were both longer and more expensive in the US than in the UK. Once I added the international exposure, experience, and the opportunity that schooling would give me to secure a visa abroad, I knew a UK degree was what I needed.

Studying in the UK was definitely different than an education in the US, but in the best ways for my learning style. Unlike schools here, the UK places a greater importance on research, writing, and applying lessons in the real world. In my course, I had 4 graded term papers, a thesis research project and a thesis portfolio. No tests, no quizzes, no busy work. Read assigned books, papers, articles, and watch assigned videos, then discuss with the class each day. Class sizes were smaller than what I’d been accustomed to in undergraduate studies, which was a welcomed change. Both professors spent lots of time meeting with students individually, talking about research topics, and guiding them throughout the course.

I chose Brunel University London for a number of reasons, including its proximity to London and Heathrow Airport, its strong research base, and the opportunities for job placement and extracurricular activities. The classes were diverse in a way only the UK could offer. I had classmates from India, Kuwait, France, Italy, Ghana, Bangladesh, China, Poland, and across the UK. That diversity contributed to a classroom of varied experiences, points of view, and interests that expanded our understandings of the world.

Brunel has a University kart racing team, sports of every kind, clubs and student unions, dance parties every week on campus, a campus pub, and great facilities across campus. I got a gym pass and used the facilities each week, ate at on-campus restaurants, had morning coffee at their coffee shop, and spent many hours and days at the library preparing my papers and thesis projects. Student life was more relaxed than US schools, with an emphasis on strong studies balanced with exploring the country while you’re there. Classes are only a couple days a week, so it’s definitely manageable to do your coursework while exploring all that London, the UK, and continental Europe have to offer.

The city of Uxbridge, where Brunel is located, is a perfect British town with a great Underground station and bus system. I often took a bus a mere 5 minutes to the tube line, and I made it into London 30-40 minutes later. The high street had shopping, grocery stores, fantastic restaurants, a movie theater, mall, postal services, a gym, and pubs showing all kinds of sporting events. A rainy Sunday in Uxbridge was as quaint and calm as it was frequent. Christmas in the UK is magical, and even Uxbridge made the holidays bright even as the sun went down earlier and earlier each day. I miss trips to the Tesco or Primark after classes, or visiting the Odeon cinemas to catch a movie.

Flying in and out of the country when visiting friends or family was very convenient, and you can easily catch a bus or tube from Heathrow to Uxbridge. Flights to other countries, in addition to the rail and busses across the UK, made it a perfect spot for the traveler in me. I earned a world-class degree while seeing the world.

I have told many friends about Across the Pond, Brunel, and studying in the UK. The advice I wish I’d known before I went was that it would be tough adjusting to a new country for the first 3-6 months. Your student advisor will prepare you, the blogs and videos you watch will help you, but then you’re in a new place and it’s up to you to be dedicated and resilient. At times, British government agencies with their paperwork and delayed responses got under my skin. But it was no different than visiting a DMV here in the states! The minutiae of life it just that, and going abroad means immersing yourself in the daily life of another country. While getting a bank account, choosing a mobile phone plan, getting a replacement ID card, or applying for a license took a little time to figure out, it gave me understanding and appreciation for the things I took for granted growing up and living in my own country for so long. Traveling abroad doesn’t make you a strong person on its own, that’s something I wish everyone knew. Instead, with determination and the right mindset, studying abroad gives you the opportunity to become a well-rounded, empathetic, well-educated, and global-minded citizen of the world who can understand and work with people of all backgrounds and nationalities in new ways. My best friends from the program and my dorm are from countries around the world. We shared memories in class and around London that I’ll forever cherish. I’m forever grateful for the opportunity Across the Pond gave me to open myself to another part of the world, to new friends and connections, and to an education that has advanced my career in new and exciting ways.

- Tristan

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