Study Immunology and Immunotherapy abroad

Everything’s So Different

Study Immunology and Immunotherapy in the UK

I have always wanted to pursue a scientific career, focusing on improving medical treatments, particularly for cancer and autoimmune diseases. As such, studying at one of the leading universities in medical sciences in the UK had always been a part of my goals, and to see that opportunity materialize was one of the best feelings in the world. I chose to pursue a MSc degree at the University of Aberdeen largely in part because the program I studied (Immunology and Immunotherapy) not only teaches the basic science of this subject, but is also constantly improving and up to date, including the latest developments in the field.

Additionally, the facilities (in particular, the laboratories) and equipment are state of the art, and the best part is that if you need it, you can get training and can use them as much as you need it. During my practical research project, I was able to work on some pretty advanced equipment in order to carry out my very own research project. This was one of the parts I enjoyed the most during my program. I was able to do procedures and use equipment that I had previously only known in paper. The fact that a major part of the program is based around practical research really gives you a taste of a scientific career, you get to experience by yourself how is daily life in academia and science. Likewise, the faculty is composed of authorities in their respective fields that are not only concerned with making better students, but also better professionals.

Having studied all my life in Mexico, I knew no other system. As such, I was deeply surprised by the contrasts I encountered in the UK. Notably, this program was way more intensive and immersive than what I was used to. In Mexico you usually learn everything in class and sometimes have homework about that. Here there is a lot of independent study and revision necessary before every lecture. Additionally, lectures are much more participative and you are really expected to ask questions and contribute to answers and debates. However, this fast-paced and dynamic environment was one of the things that made the courses so thrilling and interesting. Overall, I feel like I gained a lot of knowledge and developed communication skills that will be invaluable for my future career.

Regarding the language, at first it was hard to understand the local accent. All class materials are in English, so it is necessary to have a working knowledge of the language in order to navigate the courses. Simple English is not enough, you will require specialized language used in your specific area. It is also very important to be able to engage in informal conversations for daily tasks. But if you have a pretty decent level of English, it will only take you a few days to understand different accents. In no time, you will even hear yourself greeting others with things like “Oi mate! Fit like?” and know what is going on in the conversation.

Meeting New People

While a great amount of time will be focused on assignments, studying, and exams; you are bound to make new friends. Being in the same class allows you to be in company with like- minded people, with similar interests. Additionally, the wide variety of sport clubs and student societies means that you can meet people with the same passions as you, who you may not necessarily meet in class or anywhere else. In my case, I joined the MMA (mixed martial arts) team. I was able to train and spar with people from a lot of different places and different levels of experience.

I was able to make friends both from my classes and from the sports club. With them I went to parties, on pub crawls, we swam at the beach, and we even went to the graduation ball. It is true it may not be easy to make friends at first, but you just have to put yourself out there. It is very likely that the others feel as anxious as you and that they also want to make friends. Now I can say that I have friends from the UK, China, Italy, Spain, Iraq, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, and Finland. Socializing was something that felt awkward at first because let’s face it, it is not easier to make friends the older you get. I really managed to form special bonds with these people; and I am certain that the friends I made will last for the rest of my life.

Living in Aberdeen

Aberdeen was a very comfortable city to live in. Perfectly walkable or cyclable, but with plenty of bus routes to go anywhere you may need to. It may be a small city, especially when compared to Mexico City, but it does have something for everyone. Gyms? Got it. Fancy, internationally acknowledged restaurants? There. Fast food for night cravings? Yeah. Nightclubs? For every taste. Theatre and live music? You know it. And if nothing like that appeals to you, you can always take a hike to one of the surrounding forests that may very well come out of an old tale, take a stroll and get a tan at the beach. Got a couple days off? You can also take a train or plane and go to nearby cities and towns, such as Edinburgh, Inverness, Stonehaven; or even places further away with breath-taking landscapes, such as the Isle of Sky. You could even try and find the mythical Loch Ness Monster. No matter what you prefer, you can easily find something for you.

Something that came as a shock to me was the fact that a lot businesses close early. I am used to being able to go for coffee and some bread at night, or I can go shopping until 9:00 pm; but in Aberdeen most shops close early. However, it is just a matter of managing time and getting used to these different opening hours.

Also, finding accommodation was relatively easy and there are plenty of options to choose from. You can play it safe and go for the student residences, or you can try a more adult experience in flat. You can find roommates, or live on your own. Choice is yours. In my case, I chose to live in a flat. I enjoyed having the space for myself and, I learned a lot about how to maintain it: cleaning, planning meals, grocery shopping, paying rent and services on time; essentially looking out for yourself.

The First Step Is the Most Important One

The say that the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. At first it may seem overwhelming, with all the documents and steps needed to go to study in the UK. And while it is important to have an idea of what you want to study, luckily it is a process where Across the Pond can guide and help you. They will help you find the programs and Universities that are right for you. And then they will help you with every step of the application process. From checking your previous qualifications, proofreading your essays, and reviewing your documents before you submit them, their highly qualified personnel will be with you every step of the way and support you as you make your dream happen. And their support does not end when you receive an acceptance letter. They will help you navigate the visa process, which at first may seem intimidating, and they will also let you know of any scholarship/funding opportunities that you may apply to, and they will be happy to guide you with this process as well. The best part is that it is very easy to get an advisor: you just have to write an email and someone will get back to you and accompany you every step along the way.

It was a long process but, in the end, it was totally worth it. All the memories of my year in Aberdeen are some of my most treasured ones. And if you ask me, would I do it again? The answer will always be yes. A million times.

- José Diego

Back to Student Experiences
Send us your student experience

Send me more information!

We would be happy to answer all your questions about studying in the UK!

❗️Please note that our university partnerships vary from region to region. Once we are in touch and know where you are from, we can indicate the options available in your country.

Which country are you from?

We noticed you chose Norway.

There is a dedicated website for Norwegian students where you can find specific information and make an enquiry.

We noticed you chose Canada.

There is a dedicated website for Canadian students where you can find specific information and make an enquiry.

We noticed you chose the United States.

We would love to be able to help all students in all circumstances but unfortunately US federal rules prohibit third party involvement for candidates anticipating making use of federal funding.

We noticed you chose Mexico.

There is a dedicated website for Mexican students where you can find specific information and make an enquiry.

We noticed you chose Colombia.

There is a dedicated website for Colombian students where you can find specific information and make an enquiry.

We noticed you chose Sweden.

There is a dedicated website for Swedish students where you can find specific information and make an enquiry.

We noticed you chose Chile.

There is a dedicated website for Chilean students where you can find specific information and make an enquiry.

Need Help?
Send us a message