Choosing to Study Abroad
Studying in the UK had always been a dream of mine. With its vibrant culture and collection of opportunities, I saw it as the perfect place to enhance my education, especially in a field as dynamic as graphic design. The appeal of studying in an English-speaking country added to the appeal, making the UK an obvious choice for me.
My journey began with a year of online schooling in Norway before transitioning to the University of Worcester for my second year. Currently, I'm completing my third year at the University of Chester. Each institution offered its own unique advantages, contributing to a well-rounded educational experience.
Embracing Diversity at Worcester
One aspect I cherished about studying in the UK, particularly at Worcester, was the diverse student population. Interacting with peers from around the globe expanded my worldview and introduced me to different cultures. Living in shared accommodations further facilitated social connections, creating a supportive environment for personal and academic growth.
Exploring the Charms of Chester
Moving to Chester for my third year provided a fresh perspective. The old-fashioned charm of this city, characterised by its historic architecture and picturesque surroundings, enhanced my university experience. Living amongst locals allowed me to immerse myself in the community and explore the rich cultural heritage of the region.
Pursuing a flexible Career Path
My choice to study graphic design came from a desire for flexibility in my future career prospects. Both universities provided broad resources and state-of-the-art equipment, empowering students like me to unleash our creativity and hone our skills.
Building Connections Across Borders
One of the highlights of my UK experience has been the friendships I made with fellow international students. From Sweden to South Korea, my social circle spans the globe, enriching my life with diverse perspectives and shared adventures.
Adapting to Language and Lifestyle
As a non-native English speaker, adapting to studying in English presented initial challenges. However, daily engagement and interactions with friends advanced my language skills, underscoring the importance of practical language use in language learning.
Lessons Learned and Aspirations
Reflecting on my journey, I realise the value of financial planning for maximising travel opportunities within the UK and beyond. While I initially underestimated the cost of exploration, I've come to appreciate the affordability of travel within Europe from the UK.
Applying through Across the Pond has been crucial in navigating the complications of the application and visa processes. Their constant support and prompt assistance eased my transition to studying abroad, especially when altering my plans to relocate to Chester for my final year.
I chose to study Infection and Immunity at the University of Chester because it combines my love of the progressive natures of infectious diseases, microbiology and their subsequent roles in our history and evolution, without being limited to studying only one.
Through Infection and Immunity-specific courses, I gained a greater understanding of the interplay between host and pathogen and how the arms race between diseases, immunity and the community continues to progress this field. Through the general course modules, I received perspective into the roles of medical, academic, and scientific professions, while learning to appreciate the connectivity and flexibility within each module. With ample support from the lecturers, campus resources and other students, I became more creative and adaptable when completing each assessment. Both the Medical School and MSc Infection and Immunity remind us that a necessary part of being a scientist, medical professional or academic is remaining teachable, adaptable, and personable.
I found out about Across the Pond just doing online searches for master’s programs. I eventually wanted to enter a PhD program and knew a master’s degree would make my application more competitive. When I saw that I could get a master’s degree in the UK in half the time (and half the cost) compared to the US, it seemed like a great option, and Across the Pond made choosing a program and applying super easy! Everyone I worked with was so helpful, prompt, and friendly. I really appreciated how smooth they made the application process.
I ended up choosing the University of Chester for its Master of Science in Family and Child Psychology program. In one year, I got a great overview of psychological testing, research and studies, behavior, and other topics that would be relevant to my current job as a teacher for students with autism. The professors were knowledgeable and really helped shape my master’s thesis project, which involved running a behavior study with a local group of primary school students.
I found the class schedule of my program to be incredibly flexible. I had class just one day a week on campus, and the rest of the week I had time to do the reading, writing, group projects, and other assignments involved in the courses. This schedule allowed me plenty of time to work part-time off campus, travel around the UK and Europe, and get involved in activities like a D&D club and a local church.
While attending the University of Chester, I lived in a nearby town and commuted to classes via bike or train. I came abroad with my wife and dog, so it made more sense for us and our budget to rent a house farther from campus than to rent a flat in the city. However, I had plenty of classmates and friends who lived on or near campus, and it was easy to meet up for dinner nearby or a study session at the campus library.
Chester was a great city to visit every week for classes. The university campus wasn’t far from the train station, and also nearby were many restaurants and shopping venues. My wife really fell in love with Chester’s traditional high street and the Roman architecture. We also traveled to nearby Liverpool and Manchester often for sightseeing because the train system made it easy to connect. Even London was only about a two-hour train ride away, so I packed a lot of travel into my year of study!
The biggest adjustment to living as a student in England was all the paperwork I had to do in order to get my visa, process my student loan, get added to national health insurance, pay the local council tax, etc. However, Across the Pond and my university offered plenty of guidance, and once I got all set up in my accommodations, the rest of the year went pretty smoothly.
One of the reasons I chose to pursue a degree in England was that, being from the US, I could study abroad without having to learn a new language! I had previously lived abroad in Japan and Germany for several years, so I was prepared to adjust to a new culture and way of life, and the transition to living in England was pretty smooth. After some initial homesickness, it was exciting to visit new places, try new foods (especially desserts I’d seen watching “The Great British Bake-Off”), and make international friends in my master’s program. I studied along with students from every continent, which was a great experience, and it was especially easy to make friends with the other American students in my program.
Overall, getting my master’s degree in England was a great decision and made a huge impact on my life. I was lucky enough to bring my family to England with me, and we shared many unforgettable experiences together. My wife really enjoyed the climate in England, so when we moved back to the United States, she wanted to settle down in a cool and rainy city! That decision and my master’s degree led to the amazing job I have now, so I owe a lot to my year studying in England! To this day, I’m quick to refer people to Across the Pond for helping make the experience possible for me.
Hi! My name is Alexis, a student from Canada almost done completing my master’s degree in Public Health in Chester, England. As a mature student, it was a big deal for me to quit my job back in Canada, get rid of my apartment and car, and fit everything I would need for 12 months into 2 suitcases. Also, as a mature student, packing my bags and choosing to study abroad in England with the help of Across the Pond was one of the best choices I have made yet.
I am a very studious and academic person, but also have a huge love for the outdoors and exploring. Studying in England has allowed me to get the best of both. Chester is an ancient Roman walled city on the North Welsh border, with transport links getting me to the Welsh mountains in under 2 hours. In my spare time, myself and my new friends travel into the mountains regularly for some much needed stress relief from our studies.
Studying in England at a Post Graduate level was a big adjustment to me compared to the North American University school system. There is much less time in the classroom and lectures compared to the University system I am used to, and the grading system is completely different. The first time I got an assignment grade back and received a 65% I was very disappointed, but after some help from my peers I realized a 65% in the English school system is not such a bad thing. I wish I knew about this difference beforehand, so this is my advice to you; make sure you understand the grading system fully before getting upset or excited about how you have done on your first assignment abroad!
All in all, as I reflect on my time here in Chester, I couldn’t be more pleased with my choice to come to England, and I couldn’t have made it here without the help of Across the Pond. My Student Advisor helped me decide what universities I might be interested in based on my program of study and personal interests, helped me at all stages of the application process (including writing an application essay!), and even shared scholarship offers with me. Across the Pond is an amazing organisation, who helped turn the big deal of packing my bags and moving abroad into something achievable and memorable for the rest of my life.
Studying in the UK has been a good experience for me, and it has given me the opportunity to grow as an individual but also as a member of groups and societies. I decided to study in the UK, because I wanted to experience other cultures and learn more about international opportunities after graduation.
I chose the University of Chester mainly because I am originally from a small town in Norway (Ålesund), and therefore I thought it would be a smooth change to Chester, in comparison to London or any other big cities. The campus is very open and there is a nice opportunity to meet other people and to socialize. I mainly used the library, sports hall, gym, dining hall and the SU Bar on campus.
My first year I had an accommodation trough the University, and that gave me an opportunity to gain more friends because I lived with other people. It also was my preference my first year because the university provides you with good information that you need in order to get sorted. The two next years I rented with Abbey Rentals, mainly because it is a smaller accommodation and it felt homier.
The student life is very different from my hometown, mainly because there are a lot of social events, and you have free taster sessions for all the sports and clubs. These two factors made it very easy for me to get friends and improve my social skills because there is a different culture.
I studied Business Management as a Bachelor, mainly because I could get a broad knowledge about all the different topics when it comes to business. In the second year you get to choose one module out of a selection (maybe two, I don’t remember), and I chose Finance because that it what I found the most interesting. My third year I could choose two modules, and they both were finance related. I like this course mainly because I got some knowledge into HR, marketing, entrepreneurship, strategic management and finance.
The town is apparently known for their shopping street, but it is a decent size. There is a lot of pubs, cafes and places to have a nice chat with friends. I love the city because it has a lot of history, there is old buildings and there are many buskers which I don’t see in Norway. It is only five minutes with a bus to Cheshire Oaks, which is a great place to buy discounted brands etc. Cheshire Oaks also have an activity park, cinema and arcade with bowling.
I played volleyball for the university and therefore we had socials every Wednesday with different themes. I got most of my friends from the volleyball society, but also from my first year living in the shared accommodation provided by the university. The friends that I got in Chester was from all around the world such as Germany, Greece, UK, Norway, Spain and Poland.
I found the transition quite nice, because English is my second language since it is something that has been learned from the age of 6. However, I experienced a culture shock mainly because they have a different way to speak to each other (banter), and a lot of slang.
I had a difficulty getting an English account because it was a process since I am an international person. Therefore, it could be smart to start looking into different banks beforehand. I chose to have an English account mainly because I could transfer to that account when the exchange rate was low, so I was able to make myself a monthly budget in pounds and I knew how much I had in pounds.
I found the application process very pleasant. It was mainly because I got a lot of guidance from my contact in Across the Pond, and therefore it wasn’t that scary applying and figuring things out.
With the first year of university at the University of Chester now completed, I have to say that Across the Pond played a crucial role in helping me get into university in the UK.
With Across the Pond, you get very individualized help with every aspect of the university application process, all free of charge.
Attending a UK university allows you to complete your bachelor's degree in a shorter time frame for much cheaper than in the States. All while having a great experience abroad and gaining invaluable qualifications!
Book an online session with an advisor with Across the Pond to learn more about studying in the UK!