Study International Development abroad - study development studies in the UK

The University of Leeds provides an incredible study atmosphere

Studying abroad was something I wanted to do since I was little; I craved the independence, the idea of being exposed to a multicultural environment and studying something I was passionate about. The UK was a no brainer for me, not only it offers one of the highest educations around the world, but also it was a country that appeal to me given that I already speak the language.

Student Life

One of the biggest differences between studying in the UK and in my home country, Peru, must be the student life. While in Peru, most people live with their parents throughout their university years, in the UK you reach a level of independence from a very young age. However, the thing that surprised me the most, was the student life at campus; from spending hours in the library, to going for a pint after class at the Old Bar on campus. Another major difference was the idea of living with friends, which felt like a sleepover every day. In general, I believe that the University of Leeds provides an incredible study atmosphere to dive deep into your studies, making the experience incredibly pleasant. Choosing the University of Leeds has been one of the best decisions of my life. The campus is beautiful, with different architectures all over it, in some areas, modern buildings and in other the traditional red-brick buildings. The green areas with rabbits running through campus motivated me to go even when the weather was not the nicest. My favourite place on campus has to be St George’s Field. It’s a large green space situated near the School of Chemical and Process Engineering. I cannot even remember the amount of picnics and strolls I did with my friends in that area. I think that what appeal me the most to it, was the close contact with nature and that it is a quiet space in which you can go and relax and enjoy yourself.

My Course

I decided to study International Development which was a bit surprising for my family and friends because they had never heard anything about it. To begin with, it is not a course that was on offer at any universities in my home country and that idea terrified my parents. However, after reading about it, my parents were completely happy and excited with the idea. Given that it was not a well-known course I did LOTS of research and discovered University of Leeds. The curricula was completely different from others I have researched online and that is what drawn me to the university. The campus, the modules they offer, the vibrant student life everyone talk about are a couple of things convinced me straight away that Leeds was the university for me, and I’m so thankful I listen. After 4 years, I cannot express how much I have enjoyed my course and the university; from the academic challenges to the friends, I have made along the way. My course challenge me to open my mind to diverse perspectives and be able to critically analyse political and economic measures that have been taken. It taught me things about my own country that I was completely unaware of and made me realized the impact of the decisions we, collectively, as a society have on others.

Leeds as a City

Studying in Leeds has been a wonderful experience, not only is the campus is extremely pretty but the city has lots of things to offer. When I first started university I was scared of not being in a ‘big city’, but Leeds did not disappoint. The number of activities the city has to offer exceeded my expectations. From numerous gigs to restaurants all over the city, it never feels too small. The friendliness of people, the vibrancy of the city, and the atmosphere of the university has made my time here unforgettable. In conclusion, if I could do it all over again I would a 100%.

- Almudena

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Study Environment and Business abroad in the UK

Outstanding Academic Experience

Having attended a British school in Mexico City from the age of 2, it had always been my dream to one day live in the UK. When I was in high school browsing sustainability-related undergraduate courses, I came across Environment and Business in Leeds. It seemed like the perfect course for me, and after doing more research I fell in love with Leeds as a city too. It certainly did not disappoint! I have thoroughly enjoyed my academic journey at the university; from the engaging lectures, to the challenging assignments. The interactive and dynamic learning/teaching environment we have here is quite different from the more traditional teaching in Mexican schools and universities. My favourite thing about studying in Leeds is that I have been able to take various modules that cover a wide range of subjects, including modules such as Sustainable Development, Environmental Politics and Policy, Economics and Sustainability, Social Ecological Systems, People, Sustainability and the Environment, and Strategic Energy Issues.

Fun Student Life

I have not only enjoyed my academic life, but also the day to day. Leeds is a beautiful city, with hundreds of things to do, I have never been bored for a day! It is full of delicious restaurants, bars, nightclubs, shopping centres, parks, cinemas, and much more. Coming from such a big city, Leeds seemed like a very small place, but I had nothing to worry about. In fact, I really like how different the lifestyle is here. Having access to safe and reliable public transport, easily visiting nearby towns and cities on train, being able to walk pretty much anywhere I need to go. Student accommodation has also added to my student experience, and is one of the biggest differences I find between being here and living at home. In my first year I lived in university residences, which was such a fun experience! I met all the people who, still today, are my best friends and helped me get adjusted to British culture and introduced me to some of their friends as well. After that, in my second and third years I lived with friends in private accommodation in a popular student area called Hyde Park. This allowed me to become much more independent and responsible, and to truly experience what it is like to live on my own.

Diverse Welcoming City

From day one, everyone in Leeds has made me feel welcome. From students and lecturers to random people on the street, everyone here is polite and kind, always willing to lend a helping hand if you’re in trouble. Especially as international students, people understand we might experience a few extra struggles when we first move in, and they are therefore very supportive. Both the city and the university are very diverse; we have students from over a hundred different countries! I have made friends here not only from the United Kingdom, but also from Japan, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Ecuador, Spain, France and Kenya, to name a few. This has allowed me to learn about and appreciate different cultures, lifestyles, foods, traditions, and also to share my own!

- Almudena

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Study Biological Sciences abroad in Europe

Science knows no borders

My name is Moisés and my passion for science started when I was a child but during my undergraduate and master studies this hunger for knowledge was driven by my advisors.

Why did I decide to study in the UK?

My interest in studying abroad was that I wanted to learn methodologies and techniques in which the UK is an expert, which would benefit my development as a future scientist.

How to choose university?

It is important to clarify that I already knew the subject in which I wanted to become a professional due to my previous master's studies, so I suggest you follow what you are passionate about doing. This made it easier to search for universities because I was looking for specific subjects, on the other hand I made sure that I belonged to the top 100 universities worldwide, this makes it easier to get scholarships to finance your studies.


Having a cordial relationship with your advisors is paramount, but this relationship will evolve as you progress through your programme.

I consider it important that they are experts in the areas you want to develop, so that you can get good advice, etc.

The programme or course will depend on your interests, so be open to exploring ideas.

- Moisés

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Study History of Science, Technology and Medicine in the UK

Dedicated to helping students

When I decided to apply to the University of Leeds, a friend told me that "Across the Pond" was an institution advocated to help students to access UK universities. That was surprising, and I searched on its webpage about how to receive its support. They quickly contacted me, and I had the gentle advice of my advisor, who supported me throughout the whole process, from seeking programmes and applying to getting the visa. It was a very kind, complete, and professional help key to a successful application process. My advisor explained to me the academic culture in the UK, what documents I needed to apply and what kind of opportunities I could have for studying and funding my studies.

Studying at the University of Leeds

I travelled from Chile to the United Kingdom to study for a MA in History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Leeds. It was my first time travelling abroad, or in other words, a whole new experience. I decided to do it, nonetheless, because the University of Leeds has an extended tradition of social studies in science, technology, and medicine, which was the topic that I had focused on after I had got my bachelor's degree. The university has a school, a museum, a centre of studies dedicated to this field, and an excellent staff that research from early modern Western medicine to physics and electricity. Thus, I chose Leeds because it would be a unique opportunity to develop my academic interest in a fruitful environment.

The registration process had a great welcoming team that oriented me from the first day, and they even took time to give me tips to adapt better. Of course, cultural shock is real: sometimes you feel confused, but my recommendation is to have enough confidence to ask for help. The University of Leeds, for example, has many offices dedicated to helping students, and they can give you advice during those hard times. Also, there is a student's union where one of its members was always available to answer questions about where to get the best advice. Don't be afraid of asking for help: you won't be the only student with doubts that you could consider "basic" or feel ashamed to have.

The university's facilities were excellent: they were similar to my university in Chile (such as a library, a kitchen, and a gym) but with a good infrastructure where you can enjoy the best availability of resources to engage with your student life. Also, the Library advised you to enhance your academic skills for doing essays or your dissertation. The campus is very walkable, allowing to enjoy the site where you will dedicate most of your time.

Accommodation and cultural adaptation

I was lucky to find a room in a university's residence, thanks to a person from the university who came to Chile to meet me and asked how she could help me. That was an amazing opportunity provided by the University of Leeds, where they understood why I didn't apply before the official deadline for accommodation (mainly because of my ignorance) and helped to allocate me in the best place possible.

The first night there was shocking, however. The people in my apartment were kind and welcoming, but the difficulties understanding English appeared rapidly. Although I have a good English level, it is a different experience to speak it constantly and without the chance to ask if you committed a mistake. In addition, as I said before, I hadn't travelled abroad until that moment, then, the experience was very new for me. Over the days, I learned to adapt myself to this new environment: I identified where to buy groceries, where to go shopping, how to use public transport, etc. My advice: get a SIM card quickly for your smartphone. These days, mobile phones are necessary to access maps on the Internet to find places, or to call someone, even in your residence or the university, if you have any problem, especially in the first days.

The cultural adaptation started in the first weeks. Although there are cultural differences, in my experience, I saw more similarities across the pond: I saw a wide range of personalities than in my country, and if you can find people with the willingness to help you (as you can find in your home country), you will adapt easily.

Enjoying Leeds

Leeds is a marvellous city, with many cultural activities in its Library or the Museums. I especially remember the "Light Night Leeds", a light festival where you can find the most typical buildings of the city covered in different lights to play with the citizens or to enjoy an artistic performance. This was my first time walking throughout the whole city, just for my spare time, and I could feel involved with the people in all the activities. At that time, I felt at home, a new home.

Other kinds of places to enjoy in Leeds are its varied restaurants. You can find full range of cuisines in the city, from Indian and Chinese food to Mexican or typical British restaurants. I loved the “Pizza Express” near my residence, where I could forge a friendly relationship with their attentive staff, and the variety of products provided by restaurants in the centre of Leeds.

- José

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Study Global Development and Education abroad

They really are very supportive

Study Global Development and Education  in the UK

I found out about Across the Pond through a graduate school fair where I did my undergraduate. From the outset, they were very helpful in helping me identify suitable programs based on my interests as well as finding relevant scholarship options. It was also immensely helpful to have someone give me advice on both my statement of intent and how to go about the visa process. It was very reassuring to know that I had someone I could ask for help if I was confused or unsure.

I am now doing my MA in Global Development and Education and have received a full international fees tuition scholarship from the university. I am really enjoying the course as well as the city of Leeds. I have started volunteering with a local development education center and have joined the Oxfam society. I have also had the opportunity to travel to York and will be heading to Edinburgh in a few weeks.

I really recommend that North American students coming to Leeds take advantage of this great service, as it can make applying to universities across the pond feel less daunting and overwhelming. They really are very supportive.

- Stacey

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Study Biological Sciences abroad

Leeds is a wonderful city

Study Biological Sciences in the UK

My name is Christian, I study at the University of Leeds and I am enrolled in their PhD programme in Biological Sciences, studying systems neuroscience specifically. I was attracted to this university because of their research in the field of neuroscience and the principal investigator I work for was interested in taking me on as a student and regularly kept in contact with me over the entire application process.

Settling in at the university was an easy and comfortable experience. Currently I live in halls, moving in and learning about my accommodation was explained by the staff. I find the staff to be good natured and willing to help you resolve a problem. Cost of living at an accommodation is the same as it would be in North America, cost covers rent, utilities, internet and sometimes food. My current room has a bed, desk, storage space and a personal bathroom; there is a shared kitchen, laundry and living room space. I will be moving into private accommodation soon which is substantially lower than what I pay now however food, internet and utilities are not included. In terms of moving for first year, I would advise you to either select halls or a single unit private accommodation without housemates. In terms of settling into my programme, the University of Leeds provides an excellent week-long training event where you meet other PhD’s in the Faculty of Biological Sciences. I’ve kept in touch with nearly all the people in attendance and this event provides important information about research degrees in the UK and opportunities following your studies. The university also provides a webinar series for foreign students to familiarize new students with the university, accommodation and city itself. This webinar series is quite useful since the people answering your questions are current international students at the university.

Leeds is a wonderful city, it’s quite large but as a student nearly all the important things are easily accessible in the main areas in the city. You can usually get around in the city centre and the suburban areas closer to the university just by walking and you can take a bus to further destinations for a little over £1. Leeds is also student friendly, student discounts can be found at some food outlets, travel and even the cinema. The city also has a number of events all year round that you can check out; my personal favourite was the Leeds International Film Festival. On those sunny days I highly recommend spending a day at Roundhay Park which has a number of trails, an indoor zoo and cafes. Just under an hour away is the city of York which has an incredible Christmas market and also is just a neat city to walk around in. Downtown York has cobblestone walkways and was also where some of the Diagon Alley scenes were shot for the Harry Potter films.

I was a bit nervous when moving to Leeds simply because I was so far away from home however now I love Leeds and would like to continue studying in the UK following my PhD. If you want to study at the University of Leeds or other UK universities I would advise you to start planning now, if you are an undergraduate start emailing the administrative staff of the Faculty you’re interested in and provide an academic transcript. If you are a postgraduate I would highly recommend looking through projects advertised on the Faculty’s website or on or alternatively read about the different researchers and contact them, discuss your interest in their work and propose an area you’d like to work in and most importantly provide a CV and transcript.

Across the Pond was also an important part of my application, guidance provided by my Across the Pond advisor proved to be invaluable and her input throughout the process was excellent. If you describe what you are interested in studying, Across the Pond can also provide a list of universities for you to look through. Another important aspect about Across the Pond is they provide a webinar series which covers the visa application process, accommodation, travel advice, general knowledge about the UK. This webinar series should not be missed, I strongly encourage any prospective students to attend the live webinars and ask questions.

Studying in the UK is an amazing experience; the research environment here is excellent providing you with opportunities to work with different researchers to explore new frontiers of science. If you are interested in studying at a UK university, you should contact the administrative staff (undergraduate) and potential supervisors (postgraduate) soon. Providing a brief intro about yourself and areas of interest, a CV and transcript is extremely helpful to both Across the Pond and the universities you are interested in. I wish you the best of luck in your studies and your application!

- Christian

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Study Banking and International Finance in the UK

Encouraged me to think about the future of my career

Study Banking and International Finance in the UK

I highly value the chance of being in such a diverse environment, it has allowed me to get to know people from so many places with a range variety of understandings. I have been able to learn not only from the life experiences and culture of my fellow classmates, but also from the business environment and the challenges of modern banking in different geographies, enriching my perspective and network in a world of integrated financial markets and global companies.

Why did you choose this university? 

I chose to study MSc Banking and International Finance at Leeds University Business School because the course content cover the central issues in modern banking and financial markets, the University has a strong research culture as part of the Russell Group, LUBS holds triple accreditation from the three leading bodies AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS being part of the top business schools in the world and has also been named a Centre of Excellence by the Chartered Banker Institute.

How do you find university life? How is this different from student life in your home country?

One of the things that is different from my previous academic experience, and I love about the postgraduate programme, is that it is design to have a big proportion of time spent as independent study, I like been able to manage my study time and combine it with my personal interests, hobbies, and a part-time job.

Another difference is the focus on employability. Since day one the university has encouraged me to think about the future of my career and how the tools and resources that they offer can help me boost my CV. For students doing Banking and International Finance, I think the most relevant credentials are the Bloomberg certifications, the CFA University Affiliation that signals the curriculum is closely tied to the practice of investment management, and the membership to the Charted Banker Institute while studying being eligible for Chartered Banker status upon graduation.

What are you studying and why? 

I am studying MSc Banking and International Finance. Before coming to Leeds, I studied a bachelor’s degree in economics, and I worked as a Business Consultant collaborating to implement strategic projects in some of the biggest banks of Mexico. Although I gained a general perspective of the Banking Industry through my previous education, and my work experience helped me to develop management and negotiation skills, I wanted to deepen my knowledge in Finance to keep growing professionally.

The best thing about my course are the modules. The core modules have a perfect mix of quantitative and theoretical views, fomenting critical thinking and connecting ideas across subjects. We also choose optional modules to have a more personalized learning experience and to gain skills for real-world application in the financial labor market.

The knowledge acquired has allowed me to understand from another perspective situations that I lived on a day-to-day basis in the company where I worked, but now I can be more critical with certain things that I took for granted, and I think this will allow me to move from the execution of projects to a more strategic role in the future.

Describe a typical day as a student/on your course

A normal day begins at 7am when I have breakfast and start getting ready to go to class. I usually have two to four hours of classes a day, starting between nine and eleven in the morning. After having classes or seminars I usually go to the cafeteria to eat something with my classmates, we usually use these spaces to discuss our doubts and ideas from previous sessions. Most people are very independent, so in general after having this snack each one continues with their activities on their own. Sometimes I go back to the residence and study in my room, other times I go to the library. Between 6 and 7pm I go to the gym where, depending on the day, I take spinning, body combat or resistance band classes. After exercising, I return to the accommodation where I prepare lunch and dinner, most days I meet one of my roomies (who are from Azerbaijan, India, Uganda and Thailand) and we have a little talk about how the day was.

On Thursdays I don't have classes, but I go to a meditation session organized by the University's Wellbeing department, it is guided by a specialist, and it helps me control stress and manage my emotions better. On Tuesdays the University organizes a space called Global Café designed to meet people from other countries and make friends. On Fridays I like to go to the pub with my friends or go out dancing at a club. On Saturdays I usually meet friends to go to museums, see places or go hiking. On Sundays, I organize myself with my roomies to clean the house, I go to the supermarket and organize the activities for the week ahead.

Tell us about the town/city and what you love about it!

Leeds is a young, diverse, and vibrant city for creativity and culture. One of my favourite areas of the city is Hyde Park, here you can find great places to study, chill or meet pals. I really enjoy a good cup of coffee and nice music while I’m working on my assignments, exploring vintage shops, running at the park Woodhouse Moor, and discovering art galleries, exhibitions, and music performances.

Tell us about your accommodation

I decided to apply to the university residences because the process was easy, and it seemed more reliable than going to an external company. The apartment I'm in was the cheapest option available since I decided to sacrifice space or comfort in exchange for having more money available to travel and not being so tight in day-to-day expenses. However, sometimes I find it difficult to adapt to sharing the apartment (and the two bathrooms) with 6 other people or that the facilities, being old, have constant failures. On the positive side, the room I have is comfortable, I have adequate space to store my things, rest, and study, and best of all, the business school is a 10-minute walk away.

One piece of advice that I would give to someone looking for an accommodation is that they not only consider the prices, but also the number of people with whom they share, if the room has its own bathroom, the distance to the university, the safety of the neighbourhood, and the common areas. And contrast these elements with the budget that is available.

What do you do in your spare time?

In my spare time I enjoy exercising, The Edge has amazing facilities and literally over a hundred classes to join and keep yourself fit, have fun, and meet people. The University’s societies host events all the time from cultural activities to networking and skill-development sessions which has also permitted me to explore other interests.

If English is not your first language, how did you find the transition into studying in English?

Despite considering that I had a good level of English, having to adapt to different accents and using it all the time was a process that required time and patience. However, week by week I was gaining fluency and understanding everything better. The strategies I followed to adapt were to talk to other people as much as possible, listen to the radio and watch videos on YouTube about common phrases in England.

The professors are very understanding when it comes to international students studying in a language that is not their mother tongue and the university has many resources to improve your language skills: computer centers with online courses, exchanges with native students who want to learn your language, sessions in the library on writing essays, public speaking, or tips for reading and answering exams.

Is there anything else you´d have liked to know before you applied, started university or went to the UK?

Yes, like many other people from Latin America, I found that most of the individuals in my program were younger than me, because in Europe and Asia most of the degrees last only 3 years (my degree lasted 5) and I had 4 years of work experience. So, my classmates can be up to 6 years younger and that's something I didn't expect. However, having experience allows you to have another perspective of what you are learning and to know how what you see in the classroom is relevant in practice.

- Ilse

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Study English at the University of Leeds (England)

This online session provides insight into studying English at the University of Leeds. The School of English has an excellent reputation and it allows for a large variety of study opportunities, with staff that have an amazing breadth of research interests. Watch this session to learn more about what the department has to offer.

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Digital meeting with a Student Advisor

Book an online session with an advisor with Across the Pond to learn more about studying in the UK! 

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Fill in the form below to register your interest, and your advisor (if you already have one) will contact you directly. If you do not have a Student Advisor we will of course make sure that you get to talk to an advisor who will contact you to confirm the time!
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Study in Leeds, England. Study in York, England

The UK is a great place to study

Being from the Caribbean (Trinidad and Tobago), moving to the UK, and adjusting to a completely different way of living was challenging. Managing this, whilst studying (especially as this is the first time I lived away from home), required an openness to adapting and growing. With time, I developed an integrated approach to living, bringing old traditions from back home and merging them with a “uni-life” experience of the UK. Of course, doing this during pandemic conditions wasn’t ideal, but as time went on and restrictions were rolled back, I developed my new normal. The UK is a great place to study, as due to its metropolitan nature, they are very accepting of all cultural backgrounds, belief systems, and ways of people- therefore one need not feel like they will be ostracised for wanting to integrate their passions/hobbies. 

This “uni-life” experience includes (but is not limited to) navigating your way through classes/exams/projects, making new friends/ visiting a local pub for a pint, attending various social events scattered throughout the year hosted by your campus/accommodation, exploring your town and environs to experience the landmarks and historic sites of the UK, and even taking a day trip to a nearby town for some time away. However, do not feel pressured to do all these things, at the end of the day your work is your priority, so knowledge of your limits must guide you accordingly. 

Studying at my university was interesting and unique, as mine was the first year to begin and end under the lockdown conditions. What I would say is that our patience whilst everyone was “figuring things out” was rewarded with truly passionate teachers and instructors who guided us throughout the entire process, don’t get me wrong- at the end of the day the onus was on us to get the work done, but I never felt at any moment like I was not supported from my school’s staff. They went out of their way to make the students aware of the various ways in which we can receive help- if need be.

I studied for an MSc Transport Infrastructure under the School of Civil Engineering at the University of Leeds, which Across the Pond offered massive support in helping me apply. They made the entire process of applying to transitioning over to the UK much simpler- which, with the confusing and ever-changing nature of applications in late 2020, definitely made the world of difference and allowed me to focus on getting the tasks done, having the support of experienced, knowledgeable and gracious staff to assist with navigating the waves of new information that was coming in weekly. 

The cost of living varies from city to city, so depending on where you go, your budget will vary greatly. I started in Leeds, which is more economical than where I am now in York. Therefore, depending on the area in which you choose to move, your cost of living will vary greatly and may require prior research if on a tighter budget. Northern England is on average colder than Southern England as well- so for all the students who live in warmer climates- beware! 

To the students who may be hoping to join the UK workforce, something I wish I knew sooner- many businesses offer graduate schemes and placements to students and recent graduates. Applications to these usually become available from October/ November for the jobs which are set to start September the following year. Apply as soon as possible, these are highly competitive, but there is much research material to support you through the application process online. Apply whilst in your various degrees, to assist with obtaining a position the following September. 

Finally, embrace the full student life whilst here, visit the libraries and utilise all the free resources the University offers. For those applying to master’s programmes, the year goes by fast, so fully embrace it!

- Jared-Marc

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