Having previously studied abroad in Denmark, I wasn’t a stranger to living in a different country. From that experience, I wanted the chance to live abroad again. A couple years after I graduated from undergrad, quite a few people I knew had moved to the UK. When the idea of moving abroad to the UK came to me, I initially brushed it off thinking it was too far-fetched. However, this idea eventually grew on me and I then realized how much I wanted this. I had visited the UK previously and enjoyed it very much. I knew that the culture would be easier for me to navigate because it’s similar to the US, but also different enough for me to experience a new perspective. Also, I wanted to start my career in international marketing. This is when I thought was the best opportunity for me to experience living in another country again, as well as pursuing my career goals by completing my master’s in the UK.
When my advisor from Across the Pond helped me compile a list of schools that had MBA programs, I eventually decided on Bangor University. There were a few different factors that led me to choose this university. Firstly, the university had a good quality MBA program in international marketing that was affordable. Secondly, the university was located near Snowdonia National Park which I thought would be a great opportunity to explore during the school break with my new university friends. Lastly, the university’s student life appeared to have a variety of activities for students whether that’s different societies to join or events for students living on campus.
Bangor itself is a quaint little town located in North Wales. It’s quite a picturesque place and located close to nature as well as Snowdonia National Park. One of the things I enjoyed about living there is that it’s an easy walk to the forest, beach, or the mountain as well as the surroundings of the town are quite peaceful. The town itself though is very hilly. The student accommodations are located on steep hills and can be quite tiring to travel up and down. The town itself is mainly a university town so it’s easy to run into people I knew. Locals who lived there were quite friendly and very hospitable whenever I found myself lost somewhere as well.
At Bangor University, I stayed in St. Mary’s Village. This accommodation area comprised of various halls as well as townhouses connected to each other. I stayed in one of the Ffordd Tudno townhouses and was living with 8 other students. In this townhouse, there were four floors and I had my own room and a shared bathroom on the third floor with the kitchen and common area located on the first floor. This experience was different to what I was used to for American halls in university where we had to share rooms and bathrooms. The kitchen and common area were quite spacious and I enjoyed being able to use that space to have friends over to cook together and to hang out. With the accommodation located on a steep hill, climbing that hill every day helped me stay in shape throughout the year and I enjoyed the view over the city from up high.
In my spare time when I wasn’t studying. I loved doing a variety of activities. I enjoyed exploring the local coffee shops and restaurants the town had to offer. I also liked traveling to nearby towns. North Wales has so much to offer, especially with the different attractions nearby from beaches on Anglesey, to castles in Conwy and to the pretty town of Llandudno. Aside from those, I also enjoyed attending the different university socials and events, such as Sunday Roasts or walks to Snowdonia where I met my friends. Most of my friends were international as well so it was quite nice to be able to explore North Wales with them.
I completed my MBA in International Marketing at my time at Bangor which was only a year long program compared to a two year MBA program in the US. I enjoyed being able to explore different marketing topics and how to approach marketing in different countries. The international perspective was more insightful in the UK than simply learning in the US where I learned more about various companies that existed outside the US market.
There were quite a few differences when experiencing student life in the UK compared with the US. One of these things were that students can start drinking at 18 so there were university events where they served alcohol. The university also had their own nightclub called Academi where only students were allowed. Aside from that, Wetherspoon’s was a common place where students hung out. It’s a chain of cheap pubs and a typical night out for uni students tended to start at Wetherspoon’s, also known as ‘Spoons’. At universities in the UK, sporting events are not as big as sporting events at universities in the US. They tend to be considered more recreational. For coursework, there were not as many assignments, so the focus was more on self-study and research. There was also an exam at the end that was essay format and not multiple choice.
I often get asked how an American ended up in a tiny Welsh town like Bangor. When I get asked this, I always bring it back to my experience with Across the Pond. When I first started applying to universities in the UK, I had no idea what I was doing so I was very fortunate to stumble on Across the Pond. They simplified the whole process for me with one application and walked me through everything. During my time attending Bangor University, I have gained many international friends as well as a valuable perspective within my marketing degree and career. This was a memorable experience I’ll get to cherish for a long time.
Hello everyone! My name is Pamela, I am from Colombia, and I am a postgraduate counselling student at Bangor University in Wales. I’m here to tell you a bit about my experience studying abroad.
I chose this university and course because it has an integrative approach to psychotherapy and counselling. I am learning about psychoanalytic, humanistic, cognitive, and behavioural approaches and how to integrate them. A training that, as far as I know, doesn’t exist in my home country, is incredibly valuable to me and aligns perfectly with my views on psychotherapy. One of the benefits of studying abroad is that it opens your mind and world to programmes and perspectives you never even knew existed! I was so excited when I read about the course, when everything I had always thought and wanted to know about psychotherapy in this stage of my training was right there- exactly how I had always wanted it to be (and more!).
The course is incredibly complete and holistic. It is very organised, well-structured, and academically demanding. The tutors are warm, welcoming, compassionate, and very kind. Everything we do is focused on its real-world applications, which is very beneficial as there is a reason for everything we learn and assignment we complete. We also have the opportunity to complete several placements throughout the course and gain work experience while we train. One of my current placements is in the NHS – UK’s national health service- and the experience has been enriching personally and professionally. The programme relies heavily on independent study, but they provide a lot of support while you learn how to find your own answers to questions and research. The university also emphasises care for student mental health. It provides a lot of assistance, is constantly checking in on your well-being, provides opportunities to reflect and reach out to relevant organisations, and signposts often. International students also receive a lot of support from the university. There is always someone to help you with logistics, procedures, and demands of daily life (opening a bank account, signing up to a GP, any visa or BRP difficulties…).
Bangor University is located in beautiful North Wales. I am surrounded by mountains, islands, and the sea. Bangor is a small city, so I can walk almost everywhere and rarely pay for transportation. There are low-cost supermarkets and supply stores from which many students benefit. The train and bus networks are also very useful to travel around the UK and I have been able to explore many towns and cities in Wales and England. If it applies to you, make sure you get a railcard! It is incredibly useful, and the discounts make a huge difference.
The people I’ve met here have been amazing. My classmates are incredibly kind, open minded, and welcoming. Furthermore, many also come from abroad, so we have been able to bond and support each other throughout our adaptation to the UK and settling in. I am currently in postgraduate student dorms and have met many wonderful people here as well. I have joined clubs and done different activities which have allowed me to feel connected to others and part of a community. Living in dorms also allows you to take part in many free events and trips, which are a great way to explore, meet new people, and do activities you probably wouldn’t be doing (such as painting, hiking, playing new board games, and watching movies in a university auditorium with free nachos!).
I wish I would have thought about bringing more food and traditional objects from home. There are many foods from Colombia that I miss dearly and are not easy to get here. However, I was able to find some online and in certain markets, so I am very happy about that. I also hadn’t thought that much about the changes in seasons. For me, the most difficult thing about winter was the sun setting at around 4pm! I got used to it eventually, and the social support of other international students being fazed by this was very helpful, as we were all living through this together.
I am very grateful for this experience, for all the support I have received from the university and from Across the Pond throughout the daunting and lengthy process of applying for the university and visa.
Living abroad has been a very big change from my life back home and the adaptation took time, but I am happy living here and I am trying to make the most out of my experiences and of the opportunities that arise.
Even though there are many positive aspects to the experience, I would also recommend future students to be very compassionate with themselves throughout the process. There will be obstacles, frustrations, unexpected circumstances, and moments of homesickness which are a normal part of the process but can be distressing. Uprooting your life to go somewhere else can be challenging and scary. But if this is something you want to do, I highly recommend reflecting on if it is right for you, and if you think it is, take a deep breath, muster all your courage, and give it a go.
I wish you the best of luck on your study abroad adventure and hope that it is enriching and full of growth, meaning, and joy.
Across the Pond was absolutely amazing at helping me get to the UK for my Post Grad program. My advisor was fantastic and helped me choose schools, submit my applications, and provided information on getting my student visa. She was always available to answer my questions and responded to my many emails quite fast.
I chose Bangor University in Northern Wales because it reminded me the most of home. The mountains, the oceans, sometimes the landscape looks like B.C.! It's a smaller town and it's the perfect fit for me. I can't say enough good things about this company!
Book an online session with an advisor with Across the Pond to learn more about studying in the UK!