One of my dreams has always been to do my master's abroad. I knew that having an experience in a foreign country would be incredible in all senses. The United Kingdom is well known for its prestigious universities and multicultural life. In that way, I saw a great opportunity to study in the UK as well as the perfect option to improve my English. Furthermore, the possibility of applying for an extension of the student visa after my studies, is a great opportunity compared to other countries.
I am a master's student at the University of Kent in Canterbury, Kent, UK. I chose this university because it is a significant institute with a good reputation, it offers good facilities that enhance the learning experience, it has a good student environment, and it has a good location because it is very close to London.
I selected the Urban Planning and Resilience master's course because one of my professional dreams is to make better cities. I trust that this course will give me the tools to achieve this dream. The course covers a wide range of subjects; cities are very complex with many systems, and because of current concerns, the programme focuses on how cities can survive, adapt, and thrive for new challenges like climate change. For my classes, I had a lot of guest lectures from different backgrounds, which enriched the academic experience. I also attended some conferences in London related to the field.
Furthermore, I have participated in other activities inside the university organised by the School of Arts and Humanities, like workshops and conferences, so you will never get bored as you look for as many events as possible!
University life is full of opportunities, with a lot of academic and creative events. Furthermore, the university is a very beautiful place surrounded by greenery, and it’s possible to have a view of the cathedral from there! which is the most important urban icon in Canterbury.
I live at the university’s accommodation, and it’s very convenient because the campus is just across the street, so I can be in the library within 5-7 minutes, as well as the rest of the buildings in no more than 10 minutes. You can also find other facilities like cafeterias, the grocery store, and the gym. Renting on campus gave me the opportunity to have a free membership to access the gym and any sports facilities. And lastly, but not less importantly, the campus has a nightclub where they have parties for students all the time.
Also, sharing the accommodation has given me the opportunity to meet people and make friends from different cultures around the world, gaining fascinating insights into diverse cultures and lifestyles from both foreign and local students.
Academic life in the UK is different from what I was used to in Mexico. The focus is on individual learning, critical thinking, and research, which has forced me to broaden my horizons in terms of academic study. Student life has provided me with the opportunity to make friends with students from all around the world, expanding my understanding of international concerns.
You will be surprised by all the people from different countries that you can meet. My time in the UK has given me the opportunity to meet friends from everywhere, frequently having cultural exchanges and sharing knowledge. Furthermore, I like to share my culture, so I have organised some meetings where I cook Mexican food and prepare some drinks to share with my friends. Favorites from them have been the "Chilaquiles" and the "Palomas". And, I have attended some meetings where I have tried food from different cuisines, as well as become a fan of the typical scones and tea from England.
Some associations, on behalf of the university, organise trips. I had the chance to go to Oxford, Bodiam Castle in Sussex, Dover, and Rhye. And one time, the School of Arts and Humanities at the university organised for free a trip to Walmer Castle.
The city is amazing; it has a rich cultural and historic heritage, and a medival environment can be felt due to the architecture of the town, including the amazing Canterbury Cathedral. I try to visit this as many times as I can; as a student at the University of Kent, I have free access. The high street and the green spaces along the river Stout are very charming, perfect for a picnic in the summer along the river!
Canterbury is very close to London (55 minutes by train), so I have visited London many times and also had the opportunity to go to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Derbyshire, and Manchester. as well as visiting places in other countries like Amsterdam and Dublin.
The transfer has gone well since the multicultural atmosphere has made it possible for me to develop my language abilities both academically and socially.
Recently, I started working as a kind of part-time job where eventually I do shift work as a member of staff at weddings, which has helped with my economic expenses and given me the opportunity to meet more people. My only advice would be that if you plan to work at some point during your master's, start to apply with anticipation, because even though there may be opportunities for part-time jobs as a student, it takes time.
Furthermore, I wish I had understood more about the fine details of academic culture before starting the journey, like a career plan according to my goals with different networking options available. as well as general tips to survive and write a dissertation in the British academic context.
Across the Pond, there is excellent help. I have tried in the past to achieve this dream, and it was only with the advice from this agency that I accomplished the goal. The staff is very kind and give you very good advice.
My name is Madalyn. I am an American that completed my Master’s Degree in English and American Literature at the University of Kent in England. Currently, I am pursuing my PhD in English and American History at the University of Kent. My initial ambition for studying in the UK specifically was because of my interest and passion for history and this led me to choosing to study in Canterbury, one of the oldest cities in all of England and the county of Kent. Every single day I am surrounded by pubs that date back to the Victorian era, and churches and cathedrals that were created in the 1300s. Just a short twenty-minute drive or train ride away from my student house are Roman fortresses, Medieval Castles, and manor homes where writers like Jane Austen authored some of the most famous books of all time.
I specifically chose the University of Kent because it is ranked 1st in the United Kingdom for research quality in History. The university offers student accommodation on campus, which is situated about a 10-minute drive from the center of Canterbury, as well as student accommodation across the city. Canterbury has developed into a student city that is progressive, inclusive and lively. I personally do not live in student accommodation and rent a house with other university students, which has not caused me any issues as there are bus stops everywhere. The university of Kent has a ton of different sports teams to be a part of, nice gym facilities and multiple groups and social clubs. I have participated in volleyball and am the student contact point for the History departments Equality Diveristy and Inclusivity Committee.
As stated previously, I am currently completing my PhD in English and American history. My PhD is research based and my project focuses on how education was intentionally weaponized against African American children and Native American children from 1870-1920. The weaponizing of education interested me because in the United States each state has mandated curriculums that directly reflect that states views (Republican, Democrat). I also recognized that my history was limited due to systemic racism and colonialism embedded in my K-12 curriculum and wanted to learn more about the mistakes of my country to become more aware and to hopefully share my insight with others to break stereotypes, and prevent the same mistakes from happening. The University of Kent offers workshops, conferences and events to help students develop into better researchers which I have found to be incredibly helpful.
During my time at the University of Kent I have met people from all around the world including England, Belgium, Morroco, Italy, Wales, Switzerland, Canada, Bermuda, Austria, The Phillipines, Nigeria, France, Canada, Greece and more. This has definitely developed my world knowledge and encouraged me to travel more. During my spare time I like to visit historic sites in Kent including Canterbury Cathedral, Dover Castle, Goodnestone Park and Gardens, Chilham Castle, Leeds Castle, Rochester Castle, Upnor Castle. I also really enjoy hiking the White Cliffs of Dover for some of the most beautiful views.
Genuinely, I have no idea how people study abroad in the UK without working with Across the Pond. The process is very detailed and long, but Across the Pond is incredibly organized and timely. I received reminder emails as well as visa and scholarship guidance well in advance prior to my move so that I had time to get my financials in order.
I am a Canadian alumnus of the University of Kent’s Law School who graduated with a First-Class Senior Status LLB Bachelor of Laws and the first Canadian to complete the Bar Practice Course at the Inns of Court College of Advocacy.
I first heard about studying law in the UK from a childhood friend who had just finished studying there herself. Since Canada utilizes the Common Law Legal System, obtaining a degree in England or Wales allowed her to write equivalency exams back in Canada and then the Bar. I learned about the undergraduate nature of law studies in the United Kingdom and that they did not have a requirement of an equivalent to the LSAT. She also told me about the existence of Senior Status programs for those with previous degrees. This piqued my interest as a way to minimize the time required to get my law degree.
I discovered the University of Kent’s law program when looking at the various schools that offered Senior Status degrees. I was attracted to the city of Canterbury and the reputation of the University’s law clinic as the best in the country. One of the coolest features of the Law School was that they had an official mooting chamber which was designed similar to a court room. Having the opportunity to do moots and mock trials in this space created a realistic experience. The city of Canterbury, where the University’s main campus is located, is also on the high-speed rail line to London. This meant that I could travel to London in 50 minutes and easily access social or educational experiences as a day trip. Canterbury’s central location in the county of Kent, also allows for easy access to several seaside towns and beaches where you can take a break from your books and explore on a weekend.
Wanting to experience as much of the local culture as possible, I decided to rent off campus during my studies. Living in a shared house allowed me to make local friends and have a quiet place to study. It was amazing to live in a house that was hundreds of years old and made me appreciate how much history there was locally. I was able to take daily walks past historical landmarks such as Canterbury Cathedral and enjoy the contrast between the modern and historical parts of the city.
I studied law because I want to practise as a lawyer. It was through my exposure to numerous members of the Bar, who were employed by the Law School as professors, that I realized my particular passion was to be a barrister. These approachable professors were able to give invaluable insight into what to expect from the profession and how best to prepare myself for a future at the Bar. The staff also provided opportunities to practice lawyering skills through extra-curricular courses. My success in these activities confirmed for me that I was pursuing the right career.
In an effort to meet new people and make new friends, I joined a number of law societies on campus. These included the Canadian Law Society and the Kent Law Temple Society. Joining the Canadian Law Society has resulted in friendships that I still maintain with people across Canada. Both law societies had educational and recreational events such as guest speakers, workshops, pub crawls and even formal balls. Most notably, these societies were an amazing opportunity for networking. I was able to obtain numerous work-experience opportunities in England and Canada through alumni and guest speakers.
The University of Kent’s Law School also offered a professional mentorship scheme. On my mentor’s advice, I became a volunteer with a local charity called the Young Lives Foundation where I helped vulnerable people in police custody as an Appropriate Adult. This gave me an invaluable insight into the legal justice system, police interview and questioning techniques as well as the role of legal counsel. Working with juveniles in this environment has also inspired me to focus my future criminal practise on the Youth Court.
While most students return to their home country to pursue their law careers, I have chosen to stay in the United Kingdom. Upon completing my law degree at the University of Kent, I was accepted into the prestigious Inns of Court College of Advocacy, a bar school in London. Since then, I have obtained pupillage, a trainee position similar to articling, with the Crown Prosecution Service of England and Wales.
If you choose to study abroad embrace the adventure! Enjoy the differences in culture and food. Get involved in extra curriculars and volunteer. It is amazing how much you can learn and grow outside your studies.
Moving to another country is, at first, both scary and exciting. You’re moving away from who and what you know. But it is an experience like no other, and one that everyone should have if they get the opportunity. I’m studying at the University of Kent, which is in the historic Canterbury, only about a two hour bus ride from London. There is a lot of wonderful history to explore in the city centre, as well as many shops and pubs. It’s not that far from different beautiful coastal towns like Whitstable and Dover. There is also a ferry from Dover to Calais in France that is extremely cheap for foot passengers, so it’s easy to go exploring in your spare time.
The university itself is fantastic as well. The graduate student accommodations are excellent, at Woolf College you get your own bathroom which is probably my favourite part! There are lots of places to eat, drink, and socialize on campus so you never have to go far. And of course, there are lots of places to study, so you’ll never have to fight for a study area.
I’m studying International Relations, and one of my favourite things about it so far is the diversity among the professors and the students. Everyone has different backgrounds and brings different perspectives to the classes, which makes it more rewarding. While it is always more expensive to be an international student, you definitely get your moneys’ worth in education. There are also services to help international students find part time jobs if you need one. Across the Pond helped me to figure out if going to another country to do my Master's was for me. They help with the planning, the actual application, and the steps that it will take you to move to another country. The support they give you, especially with the visa applications, is invaluable. I’m not sure I would have even bothered to apply if it wasn’t for them! Once you get to the university though, it is up to you to make the most of it. If I could give one piece of advice to prospective students that are about to go aboard, I would say make sure you attend every welcome event that you can and make sure to get involved.
Deciding on going back to school in my 40s was difficult, but once I found Across the Pond, I was able to get clear answers to questions that were holding me back.
I was so impressed with the number of universities they had to choose from and my advisor was so helpful from start to finish, answering my myriad of questions on the different programs available for my subject of interest and even doing research for me, finding options that might fit. It was amazing to be able to apply to several schools all at once and to have her expert guidance through every step. It was especially refreshing not to have to worry about fees for the applications or taking GRE testing.
Once I began to receive offers, my adviser helped me get answers to questions that were crucial in helping me decide on the right school and course of study by linking me with other students who had experience in the program.
Canterbury, which is in the South East of England, is charming and beautiful and actually much larger than I'd expected with several major schools, so the city has a wonderful collegiate vibe as well as that very old-world British feel. When you leave the City center, you are right there among farms and pastures and little villages. I chose the University of Kent because it had ties to several major European cities and was listed in the top 20 schools in the UK and 1st for research, which is very impressive.
It also ranks very high each year in student satisfaction. It also has a great Creative Producing program in Drama which many schools don't have. Because I'm in such a vibrant city, I've joined a gym and spend time with new friends and simply enjoy the countryside by taking long walks. I also bought the all-access bus pass for Kent/East Sussex County so any days I am not committed to class or work, I take random buses and explore all the wonderful cities within my county. It's a great way to get to know England and so nice when you only pay once for your pass and then all year zip around from bus to bus and city to town to village and back again.
I've also developed an obsession with charity shops, England having so many. Every city you go to has at least two or three and often many more and you can spend hours going in and out of them exploring and finding great bargains. I find them very helpful in stocking my kitchen and dorm room with necessities and all the money spent goes to worthy charities, a win-win!
I also make it to London at least once a month if not more to see shows and just enjoy the City. We are a very quick, one-hour train ride to London. The University of Kent also has a large international student base and the faculty and staff work very hard to make us feel at home.
I love my dorm in Woolf College (for graduate students only) and am glad I chose to live on campus. They also strive to ensure employability when you graduate and take great pride in having the high majority of their graduates go on for further studies or are working in their chosen field within six months of graduation. They have resources available for employment, including resume writing and interview skills and pretty much anything you could need to ensure success after you graduate and all included with your basic tuition.
Also, they provide complimentary foreign language classes, and I'm enjoying taking Italian. It is truly a great deal of work being a student again and it takes a lot of dedication but it's worth it. Across the Pond is a huge reason I'm here and seeing my dream of studying in England coming true.
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