Study development studies in Brighton

Nothing short of fantastic and transforming

Studying abroad has been an incredibly enriching experience for me, and my time at the University of Sussex has been nothing short of fantastic and transforming. The campus is beautiful, with state-of-the-art facilities that cater to all aspects of student life, with a little bit for everyone and tons of green spaces. I found numerous accommodation options, both on-campus and off-campus, and eventually chose to rent in the private sector, which provided a unique opportunity to experience the vibrant Brighton more intimately. 

The city itself is wonderful, known for its lively atmosphere, diverse culture, and stunning seafront. There is a little bit of everything for all interests and ages, and the close distance to London makes the options even greater. Moreover, the surrounding county of Sussex is equally amazing, with charming little towns and hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. The South Downs, with their rolling hills and breathtaking views, offer endless opportunities for outdoor adventures, long walks and peaceful retreats.

The diversity at University of Sussex is one of the most enriching parts of the whole experience. It’s been amazing to make friends from all over the world, enriching my social experience and broadening my perspectives. 

Enrolling in the Governance, Development, and Public Policy program at the Institute of Development Studies was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The lectures are intellectually stimulating and the faculty members are both knowledgeable and approachable, providing invaluable insights into global development issues. 

Transitioning to studying in English was smoother than I anticipated, thanks to the exceptional support services offered by the university. Additionally, the application process was made incredibly straightforward by Across the Pond, who provided clear guidance and support every step of the way. Overall, my experience at the University of Sussex has been deeply transformative, both academically and personally, and I highly recommend it to anyone considering studying abroad.

- Ana

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Study Environment Development and Policy abroad in the UK

I found warmth and smiles in the people I met

During my year in the United Kingdom, I was able to experience British lifestyle beyond any stereotype. I found warmth and smiles in the people I met. Additionally, I had the opportunity to learn at firsthand about the history and politics in the UK, as it is a topic that I am passionate about. I was amazed by so many initiatives in Human Rights. The identity and pride of being a British citizen is the result of the work of a nation that, for centuries, with a long line of inventors, scientists, and defenders like Winston Churchill, and their crucial role in World War II, makes us understand the great passion behind a British flag. Similarly, it was great to learn about the monarchy of the UK and the deep meaning that a large part of the population shares for it. I was lucky enough to witness the moment of Harry & Meghan's wedding, everyone was talking about it, and it was very exciting!

Not forgetting, of course, that my time in the United Kingdom meant a bridge between diverse people from different countries, and different cultures that I knew little or nothing about. This allowed me to expand my perspective and learn from different ways of life thanks to the friends I made there. We were able to have a very interesting exchange of ideas about life in the UK and how things are approached compared to our home country. It was great!

University of Sussex

I chose the University of Sussex because it caught my attention as one of the first universities called the "new wave" that emerged from the year 1960. It's progressive, critical, and socially committed. At Sussex, I not only found the master's program I was looking for, a combination of international development and a critical perspective on these processes, but I also had the opportunity to learn from indispensable voices like Dr. Robert Chambers, a reference in International Development Globally.

Student Life and Brighton City

My experience at the University of Brighton was extremely satisfying, as when I arrived, I found many initiation activities for international students about academic life, and every teacher always showed special attention to those of us who came from far away. Thanks to being connected with several students like me, I was able to celebrate various festivities throughout the year to celebrate the customs of my new friends. Along with my new friends, we explored the vibrant and lively city of Brighton. I enjoyed the beaches, restaurants, bars, and nightlife.

My Advice

Organize, focus, and enjoy! Arriving in the United Kingdom to study a master's degree. Living in a different place, and dealing with necessary paperwork regarding your new home, bank, phone, among other essential topics to settle in a new place, can be overwhelming. My advice is to organize yourself and focus on urgent, necessary, and important tasks. Use a list of your pending tasks and try to arrive in the country at least one week before classes start. For example, the University of Sussex has a week where they will show you step by step everything you need to know and learn to have a great academic year.

Once you are established, commit to your studies. Master's degrees in the UK depend entirely on the student, and you will not have a teacher behind you to make sure you have done your homework. Respect and meet your deadlines regarding the essays that will be asked of you. If you need help with this, ask for it. The University has departments that support you in such needs.

Finally, after having an established routine that allows you to make the most of your study program, do not forget to enjoy your new life. Take advantage of weekends and bank holidays to explore the various regions and wonders that the UK has to offer. The country is well connected thanks to its trains and buses, and you could start with your own region.

Across the Pond

The services of the company Across the Pond were key to me achieving, step by step, all the procedures and requirements demanded by both the Chevening Scholarship and the university application. The process was intense, but I never felt alone and received help even to know what to bring and not bring in my suitcases. I am very grateful for the support I received from Across the Pond to make my dream of studying in the UK come true.

- Fernanda

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Do an MBA abroad in the UK - study for your MBA in England

The UK changed my way of seeing life

My name is Angela, proudly a Mexican architect and a candidate to graduate with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the University of Sussex. I would like to thank Across the Pond for supporting me in making my professional goals a reality. Above all, I would like to acknowledge the professionalism and unwavering perseverance of my advisors, who always supported me and with whom, throughout the year-long process, I formed a strong professional team and what I consider to be a sincere friendship.

When I was 6 years old, I played at "building houses and selling them to my dolls", they paid me with candy. I graduated as an Architect, specializing in Project Management. I collaborated with world-renowned firms and for a long time that kept me satisfied. Over the past few years, for the first time I felt stagnant, as if "there was nowhere to grow". I understood that I no longer wanted my career to depend on the corporate world, that my economic stability was decided by a monthly paycheck and that my pride hung on the title on a business card. My office and I had a toxic relationship of dependency, like that of boyfriend and girlfriend who "don't like each other anymore but won't break up". I must confess that in the past I had not studied abroad for fear of not being "good enough". In a panic, at the age of 35, I realized that I could no longer deny it, I was not happy. I felt that my time and creativity were being used by someone else, and now I wanted it back. Not only that, I wanted to fund my own Company.

The obstacle? I had no business knowledge. The solution? Get an MBA. And the adventure began.

Why the UK?

I attended several virtual international graduate fairs and talked to several universities. After long research, I decided that my priority would be to graduate from my master's degree in the shortest time possible to go back and start my company. My best option was the UK for several reasons: the MBA lasts 1 year, thanks to my professional experience I did not need to take a GMAT or GRE exam, and there is a great offer of business schools and financial support, not to mention that the visa allows me to work for 2 more years in the UK after my studies and English is easier for me (be careful, UK English is very different).

How did I find Across the Pond?

During my search, I came across several organizations dedicated to helping students get into universities. However, Across the Pond was the only platform that offered me this help for free, which I am enormously grateful for because I was able to invest my capital completely in the expenses for my studies. One email was enough to get to know my advisors and get down to work, the start was very simple. 

Why the University of Sussex?

I received acceptance letters from several universities and to choose my top 3 I was guided by the business school rankings. However, as a Latin American, there were other factors that influenced my decision: the way of life and having sun during the summer. I chose Sussex because of its large community of foreign students; my colleagues recommended it to me, and I have the privilege of living in Brighton on the seafront with lots of sun.

Overcoming bumps is the most valuable part of my journey.

Honestly choosing a university is the first step of a long road that requires dedication. I went through the process 3 times (which I don't recommend because it's a risk). The first time I restarted it because I changed universities (it took too long to receive the acceptance letter from Sussex, so I put in the papers with the University of Aberdeen). And the second because, in an encounter with crime, my official documents were stolen. This is very important for me to mention; what I valued the most about my Across the Pond advisors was that they were comprehensive towards me. Despite the obstacles and pressure, they encouraged me to keep going with my goal and, they always found some way to help, whether it was with an email to the university or a message of encouragement. And I can only pay for that by enjoying my master's degree and sending good news to Mexico.

The result.

The University of Sussex was my first choice, and I don't regret pursuing it despite the waiting time. I live in Kings Road (a building that is located next to Brighton Pier), the demand is high, and I also don't regret pushing the university so hard to place me in this building, the view from the dining hall is worth it. I got 100% of the funding I required, I had not contemplated winning any scholarships and in the end, I was awarded three (my tuition was reduced to 50%). Looking back at the past with so many obstacles and seeing myself here now gives me immense emotion.

A Mexican eating fish and chips.

Everything has exceeded my expectations so far. Every experience is different, for me it was a bit traumatic to see my family at the airport for the last time. But I had my mind set on the goal. 

After reading several testimonials, I would not want to repeat the same advice or the same information. What I recommend is that you contact someone from your university and talk to them. I, for example, started looking for YouTube videos and found a huge number of students giving recommendations. In addition, my advisors put me in contact with Mexican women who are also studying at Sussex. These Mexicans are now my best friends.

I am going to mention some important points that I wish I had known before, and I think they can help you:

University of Sussex.

I arrived in January, as soon as I landed, I was added to the Mexican Student Association groups. Even a Mexican student picked me up at the airport and brought me to Brighton.

MBA students are very privileged, we have a lounge exclusively for our use. During face-to-face classes, breakfast and lunch are paid for by the university, as well as coffee and snacks for the 8 hours of class. Generations are not big so if you are an MBA, you will surely identify yourself.

Recommendation: Contact Mexicans who are already in Sussex, it is very good to arrive already having friends, they even brought me pillows and things for my first week in the UK. I also recommend that you visit the campus before you start classes so that you can familiarize yourself with it. 

Educational System.

The study system is very different from Mexico. In the UK everything is independent study, each module has 2 or 4 classes. Then everything is on your own, there is no homework, you are immediately evaluated. Some of our teachers are public figures and their classes are taught with their own books (yes, they are the authors of the course books) it is your responsibility to read and arrive prepared to class.

In order to generate networking, the MBA takes a generation trip. This year we visited Italy, invited by Louis Vuitton, DeLonghi and Nason Moretti, and spoke with the directors of these companies.

Recommendation: Review the syllabus before each module, having this kind of contacts is a unique opportunity, take advantage of it.


I was told that this city is the "Acapulco of England”, and it is real. Seniors come to retire, families come to vacation, tourists come for a day trip and brides and grooms come to get married, in short, it's never quiet here (very similar to Mexico City).

Recommendation: Don't bring a lot of clothes, you can find everything in bazaars. Pack medicines (even to get Omeprazole you need a prescription). Bring a SAD lamp and vitamin D (in winter it gets dark at 3pm). The weather is extreme, especially the wind (it literally knocked me to the ground). If you can find a steel stormproof umbrella, bring it, otherwise give up like everyone else and use a raincoat. If you like silence I recommend you go to Scotland or somewhere far away with few inhabitants, Brighton is always partying. And most importantly, pack Mexican sweets and salsas.


A colleague told me that coming to study in Sussex is like studying the language again and it is true. British English is very different, besides 90% of the students are international, all with different accents.

Recommendation: Passing the IELTS is not enough, try to read terms from your area of study (in my case I studied business, marketing and finance terms). Be patient, your ear will get used to the accents.

In the end.

Being away from my country, my family and especially my food is very difficult. But still, I wouldn't go back tomorrow even if they gave me a free flight ticket. I would rather have the worst of my days in Brighton than the best of my days stuck in an office where I didn't feel fulfilled. Nothing will be worse than feeling stagnant, I know that I am forging a better future for myself and my country. I am still studying, and I am about to start writing my thesis, it has not been easy to study business in English, but with dedication, I am getting very good grades.

I want to say goodbye by revealing a personal secret: This master's degree is not important to me because of the knowledge I am gaining. Let's be honest, nowadays everything is on the Internet, artificial intelligence can do the work of a professor. Of course, there are many students who come here with an academic objective, however, in my case, the MBA has gone beyond what I had expected. As soon as I got off the plane, I felt a sense of peace that I didn't understand, and today I know why I felt that way: I was finally doing what I want. This experience has challenged my fears, shaken my insecurities and above all tested my endurance by taking me out of my comfort zone. I am fortunate to be proving to myself every day that I can be more. Being a woman in the construction industry was complicated in the past, today I believe that my gender is anything but weak. Today I know that being a woman is amazing, and being Mexican is powerful, but a Mexican woman who leaves everything to "cross the pond" is invincible. Thank you Mexico and Across the Pond, but most of all I thank myself for having the courage to buy a ticket to the UK.

Last recommendation:

Don't let your fears stop you from growing. See you next year with a degree in hand!

- Angela

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Study LLB Law abroad

Why Studying Law in the UK is an incredible Opportunity

Study Law in the UK

Studying law in the UK was an attractive option to me for a number of reasons. Now, after completing 1 year of my studies I can better discuss the advantages of choosing to study abroad. Firstly, the UK has many world-renowned universities, and this coincides with the level of education they wish to deliver. Being one of the oldest legal systems which has influenced many others around the world only increases the value of such an education from the UK. Secondly, a degree from the UK offers dual qualifications for both the UK Bar and Canadian Bar, giving you additional flexibility in your career options and the ability to practice law in both countries. Thirdly, the cultural experience of studying abroad is an opportunity to experience a new culture, make friends from around the world, and gain valuable life experiences that can shape your personal and professional growth.

Why the University of Sussex

I chose the University of Sussex for its location and reputation. Sussex is located just north of Brighton, a city located about an hour's train ride from London and only a half hour from Gatwick International Airport. Being in a fully developed city was also important to me as all potentially necessary services such as dry cleaners, grocery stores, general stores and public transportation will be easily accessible. This is indeed the case with Brighton, with a 24-hour bus system and active train system.

Living Accommodations and Quality of Life

The city of Brighton offers a strong quality of life with many restaurants, grocers etc. The living accommodations on campus can vary. Some of the student residences are very old (specifically Lewes Court). I would recommend when requesting on-campus accommodations to ensure you have an ensuite bathroom. This would include the East Slope and Swanborough Residences. I lived in Swanborough, and while the rooms were not exceptionally clean on arrival, it was manageable and provided a reasonable quality of life.

Why the UK is a Unique Opportunity

Studying law in the UK exposes you to an international legal system and diverse perspectives. This can be particularly advantageous in today's interconnected world where cross-border legal issues are increasingly common. In addition, being close to Europe provides one with unique travel opportunities that may not be available to those studying in North America. A new perspective can change everything when moving abroad to study, I found this change in outlook essential to my academic success.

Brighton and Downtime

Brighton is a fun city due to its vibrant and diverse cultural scene, lively nightlife, and iconic beachfront attractions, including the famous Brighton Pier. It offers a unique blend of trendy cafes, boutique shops, and a welcoming atmosphere, making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists seeking entertainment and excitement.

Using Across the Pond

Across the Pond is an exceptional service available to Canadians who wish to study in the UK at no expense. They are extremely helpful and understanding of each student's needs (special thank you to my advisor for her fantastic help on my applications). They assist with your application at every step and offer experienced advice. They are not pushy and understand that applicants wish to work on their own timeline. I cannot recommend Across the Pond enough to those considering studying abroad.

- Ron

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Study Law abroad

The professors genuinely care about the students

Study Law in the UK

When moving to the UK, I was naive about what moving to a new country was going to entail. From figuring out a new healthcare system, and setting up a bank account, to grocery shopping, there are a lot of logistics to figure out. With all the hardships that come along with moving to a foreign country, comes a lot of triumphs. After making one move, it feels like the entire world has expanded and the possibilities are truly endless.  

University of Sussex

Small actions make the biggest difference when arriving in a new country, such as the University of Sussex setting up an office where students can go pick up their visa cards on campus. Not only is it a beautiful campus surrounded by national parks, but it also has a sense of community and comradery between students and professors. If you are ever lost on campus, you can stop anyone walking through and they will happily guide you in the right direction.

The law school at Sussex has an incredible community, with so many resources available for students. The professors genuinely care about the students and their passion for teaching is clear. The law school at Sussex offers incredible opportunities from mooting and client interviewing competitions to practical legal clinic work, students have the chance to build their skills outside of the classroom.


Brighton beach has allowed for beautiful summer days and winter walks on the pier. There is always a new café to try and delicious food to be had, the options are overwhelming. Students who attend the University of Sussex tend to live close to each other when living off campus, which allows for close connections to your friends. You get to run into familiar faces at the grocery store and when taking the bus to campus, which are the little things that make living abroad feel like home. The public transportation in Brighton is exceptional and allows every location to be accessible by bus. From central Brighton to the University of Sussex, it is a 15-minute bus ride, with buses coming every 7 minutes.

Advice I would give to potential students is to look up the nearest airport and knowing how to get from the airport to your relevant living area. London Gatwick is a quick 30-minute train ride away from Brighton, with trains scheduled every 20 minutes.

Exceptions vs Reality

With Tik Tok, it is easy to glamorize and romanticize moving abroad, and while there are amazing moments, there comes a side that the internet does not show. The moment after the goodbyes are completed to loved ones and you have the moment of what do I do now, appreciate the butterflies and make the step outside of your comfort zone and reach out to other students. Or when you are craving a piece of comfort, but the restaurants that you have back in your home country taste just a little different in the UK, you will find your new favourite UK restaurant, and that becomes your comfortable meal now. When you are on public transport, trying to get to a new place for the first time, you put on your favourite album, just for that piece of mind.

What I am trying to get at is there will be moments that you are uncomfortable, but you will find what works for you to get through those moments. You will look back at those moments and reflect on how you overcame and grew from them. For inspiration, I suggest listening to your own your own, kid by Taylor Swift, Tik Tok has named it the song for international students living abroad!


To anyone considering moving to the UK for school, the personal growth that you will see in yourself will give you the courage to do anything you want in the future. Not everyone can pack up their life and move for school, there will be challenges that come your way, but it will all be worth it. I have completed my second year abroad, and I cannot fathom how quickly time has gone by. I look at the UK has my home now, and I choose to spend my time outside of term dates still in the UK. When you go abroad, appreciate the nerves, and enjoy the moments of the unknown, these are going to be the moments you remember forever and will be proud of overcoming.

- Sellah

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Study Sustainable Development abroad


Study Sustainable Development in the UK

My name is Catalina, I am Chilean, and I have just finished my MSc in Sustainable Development at the University of Sussex in Brighton. My experience studying in the UK was truly amazing. I am extremely grateful for everything I have learned from this past year. Meeting incredible people from many different countries, learning from them, and having the chance to be student at one of the best schools in the country was really fascinated, considering additionally all the tools that the Sussex Business School has provided me through this degree. I am now confident that I have what it takes to build the meaningful career I strive for.

I decided to study abroad because I wanted to live an experience of staying in another country for a year. That was my initial excuse, but as I began to go on board on this path, I realized how favourable it would be to study for a master's degree, and especially in this country, because it has one of the most prestigious educational systems in the world and always I dreamed of being able to learn the English language at an advanced level. In addition to that, I was sure that even though it was not an easy decision, it was going to be tremendously enriching, both professionally and personally, so I left my job in Chile to start this adventure and thus have the possibility of expanding my knowledge.

I chose the University of Sussex in Brighton for several reasons. First, because it is one of the best universities in the field of development studies in the world and I was very interested in the master's program in which I wanted to take part because it was in line with my professional objectives and personal values.

Second, Brighton is a university town with incredible energy, so student life is very entertaining. It is a coastal city surrounded by national parks. Is very close to London and one of the main airports that connects with many other countries. It is said to be one of the sunniest cities in the UK, something that is really appreciated when you come from a country with a lot of sun and need that energy. It has the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen, many restaurants, pubs, and entertaining events or activities throughout the year.

Regarding accommodation, in my case I did not live on campus and decided to live in the centre of the city to be close to everything. I lived two blocks from the beach, next to a bus station and close to all kinds of shops, with another master's student from the university that I met here. The subject of accommodation is a bit complex at first, due to the large amount of demand, but if you dedicate time to it and investigate in detail you can find very good options.

However, the campus is also amazing. The university is in the middle of a national park, with lots of green areas, a very modern student centre, supermarket, bars, which made everyday life on campus much more entertaining. I studied mostly in the library and in my spare time I went to the gym that had very good classes and facilities.

Talking about the type of education, for me it was quite different from what I was used to. The educational system is focused on developing analytical thinking in depth with a critical look at different topics. It also allows you to improve research skills, promotes autonomy and self-management. It is a lot of personal study, and the limits of learning are set by yourself, depending on how much you want to learn and how much time you dedicate to it. Something that I consider really valuable. Regarding the other factors of student life, I think the main difference is being in a multicultural environment with different nationalities, genders, sexual orientation, and colours. This is undoubtedly one of the most enriching points of this experience.

Regarding my specific master's program, my main motivation for studying the MSc in Sustainable Development was for its action-oriented perspective and for exploring the ability to translate socio-ecological theories and technological innovation into effective policies and practices for sustainable development. As a result, I was able to obtain the necessary tools to address the areas of climate change, circular economy, sustainability strategy and reduction of carbon emissions, from an academic perspective and skills to create a framework for action in this regard.

All the lectures and seminars were in English, which was very challenging at the beginning, and specifically understanding the different accents of international students and the British accent, but after a while you incredibly adapt and start to understand everything.

For my dissertation, I had the opportunity to work with a South African development company and the Costa Rican Ministry of Environment and Energy evaluating their sustainable projects. Undoubtedly, the prestige of the university and its network of contacts allowed me to develop my research with these organizations that gave me extra value at the end of this stage.

For its part, since the university is quite diverse, it provides the opportunity to participate in different events and societies for different groups of students, being one of the main ways to socialize in free time. In addition, some teachers organized walks, other students organized events associated with their countries, and other events focused on discussing current political-social issues, which were accompanied by dinners or beers. During my free time outside of the university, I used to go to the beach, have picnics, walks in the countryside, go to pubs, and organize trips to other cities within the country.

I think that one of the things that I would have liked to know before starting my studies was how prepared I had to be for the temperature’s changes. I think it was the most difficult to tackle, especially in winter, but clearly despite being a bit raw, I would relive this experience a thousand times.

Finally, it is important to mention that the support that Across the Pond gave me from before I submitted my application until I was at the university was invaluable. I participated in some seminars, where they clarified the application steps very well and some useful advice about life here. Also, every time I communicated with them, I got a very quick response and clarification. It was really a pleasure to always have their support.

Looking back, it feels unreal. This experience was everything I could have asked for and more, and what made it even more special was sharing it with a group of amazing people and in a fascinating culture. In addition, it is incredible the number of job opportunities that are opened by the fact of having a master's program in the United Kingdom. I absolutely recommend it to anyone who is thinking of doing it.

- Cata

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Study Law in Sussex, England

Why study in the UK you ask...

Study Law in England

Studying in the UK has an extreme amount of benefits. Don’t get me wrong it is extremely difficult and does have a lot of negatives, but it is important to know the positives! First, if you have your bachelor’s degree already than you only have to go to school for two more years, who doesn’t want to go to school less? Also, you don’t have to use your time, effort and money to take the LSAT. That leaves you with more time to use your passion to start your legal career!

Why should you choose the University of Sussex!

I chose the University of Sussex because I was in love with the location, it is close to major airports, city life, and a short train ride from London! In addition, it is one of the top Law Schools in the UK and it has nationally recognized competitions you can take part of.  The campus is beautiful, but you have to be ready for a LOT of walking.

What is it like living in an eight-person dorm you ask…

My accommodation is insanely awful. As a University you would think they would room students around the same age, program of study and cultural background. This is NOT the case. As a student from Canada, it is extremely overwhelming to jump into the British culture of drinking and going out every single day. Also, the University housed me, a young Canadian student in the Law School with individuals all younger than me, who are all a different background than me and who are all in a different program. When you are asked on your form, make sure you make this clear because apparently I did not!

What is the difference between Canadian life and UK life you ask…

Be ready for the party life that the UK loves! I was under the impression that people study hard and only party on the weekends. It is a HUGE culture shock when this is not the case. Make sure you find a good support group who don’ just like to party and like to go exploring and are motivated to work hard, thankfully I did! I so wish the University helped with this and made it more comfortable for Canadian students.

Why I love Law!

I am in my first year of Graduate Entry Law program and I have one more year left of my two year program! I have always wanted to study law ever since I was very little because all I want to do is help people.

The town of Brighton

The University of Sussex is located near the town of Brighton which is so cute and fun! Brighton has so many cute coffee shops, things to do, a famous pier and an awesome night life!

Spare Time

I my spare time I study a lot! I also like to go for dinner and coffee dates and escape rooms! I am so lucky I found friends who don’t just like to party. The friends I made are mostly Canadian because I feel like the other UK students are very cliquey and don’t like Canadian students. This is fine because there are a lot of Canadian students to be friends with.

University in the UK

University in the UK is amazing as it grows your independency and appreciation for culture. It is incredible that it is so easy to travel anywhere within Europe for so cheap! It does get extremely lonely and it Is so hard to be away from your support system and home, but it is so rewarding to finally make your dreams a reality and discover who you really are as a person.

- Chloe

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Study Filmmaking abroad

University life in the United Kingdom is more inclusive

Study Filmmaking in the UK

What I liked the most about studying in the UK is the opportunity of having classes in English and sharing this learning experience with people from around the world. In my case, I had classmates from the UK, Turkey, Lebanon, Italy, Nigeria, USA, China, and India. I was the only Mexican and Latin American student of my class, which was an edge because that made me getting out of my comfort zone regarding the language, and that also made me look for friends and academic alliances with my classmates, who also appreciated my qualities and even one of them requested my help as an actor and coaching a Greek actor who had to speak Spanish in the short film he directed. I loved the creative freedom feeling in which my responsibilities and laboral inercia in Mexico did not allow me to dedicate fully to my passion for filmmaking, and of course I am willing to come back as soon as possible.

Why did you choose this university?

I chose the University of Sussex because they have simpler and more inclusive admission terms, compared to other British universities. Moreover, because they offered the program that I was interested in studying, Filmmaking MA, with the learning approach I wanted: a fair amount of theoretical knowledge and practice in various filmmaking departments: scriptwriting, production, production design, casting, actor and camera directing, film festival studies, sound and film editing, visual effects, among others.

Furthermore, my decision was influenced by the fact that Brighton is located on the South East coast of England and it is an hour away from London by train. I would visit London so frequently that it seemed perfectly normal to spend the weekend there.

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

University life in the United Kingdom is more inclusive and broader than in Mexico, from my point of view, since it has student societies with diverse interests: politics, languages, travel, sports, entertainment, cultural backgrounds, religions, countries, and so on. There are also sports courts and gyms in optimal maintenance conditions; student unions that fight for relevant social, political, and academic causes such as lower tuition fees for international students and reduced accommodation costs for everybody, as well as support for teachers’ struggles.

What are you studying and why?

I studied for a Filmmaking MA because being a filmmaker was what I wanted to do since I was a child, but I had not found the opportunity to study it at a postgraduate level. Previously, I had learned scriptwriting with short courses or on my own, and knew a little about production and crew roles, but upon my arrival at the University of Sussex I found that what I knew was insufficient and that I would have to work harder than most of my peers to get the degree. Therefore, I took more than ten online courses and video tutorials. At the end of the Master’s Degree, I dare to say this is just the beginning and that I still have a lot to learn and improve, but I am satisfied about the classes, the practices, and the effort I put into achieving the goal go successfully completing my studies and venturing into the movie making experience.

Describe a typical day as a student/on your course

The nature of my Master’s Degree allowed me to have several types of classes. There were days of totally theoretical classes or lectures in classrooms or in auditoriums. There were also seminar sessions in which we would put tables together and attend classes with a number of readings already read and set to comment, debate, or question. Additionally, I took classes in computer rooms, either to review my classmates’ script development or put editing or crew roles’ lessons into practice at the film studio, where we all organized to make a short film. Finally, there were two classes in cinema theaters. The first one was a lecture given by the director of a local independent cinema in Lewes; and the second one was at a screening at the LGBT Flare Film Festival, sponsored by the BFI.

How is living in the UK different from home?

Living in the UK gave me a very strong feeling of independence and mobility, as public transportation is extremely efficient, organized, and easy to board and pre-pay. The city I lived in, Brighton, has a bus company with an app that allows the user to pay for up to three months of transportation in advance with a special student rate. Similarly, the train nationwide has a mobile app that lets users buy train tickets at a preferential rate and, if they live in the center or south of England, there is a railcard that allows them to make quite cheap trips to different English cities and towns. That made my year in the United Kingdom so memorable because I visited eighty-two towns that combine history, architecture, museums, parks, geographical conditions, and interesting people.

Regarding supermarkets, there are many options that sell local and imported products. As in Mexico, there are products that are more convenient in certain stores, whether for price, quality, and even expiry. Then I recommend to visit all the supermarket chains and local grocery shops to save money with quality optimal food and supplies.

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

Brighton is a city located in East Sussex, on the south coast of England, an hour away from London, arriving at Victoria Station or London Bridge. It is a highly touristic city, with a great student tradition. It receives students from all over the world. That gives the city a welcoming character, where all ideologies and cultures can coexist freely. I never felt misjudged or discriminated because of my background or way of thinking, on the contrary. 

On the other hand, Brighton beach has five-centimeter rocks, instead of fine sand, like the Mexican beaches do. However, the seafront is surrounded by local stores and museums that give the city a charming vintage look. In the same way, it is quite pleasant to walk through the lanes, streets with vintage and hipster shops where people can buy antiquities and products with creative designs, unlikely to find in Mexico.

Brighton’s museum have wonderful exhibitions. I highly recommend the Royal Pavilion and the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery.

Tell us about your accommodation

During the term, I lived on the University of Sussex Campus, in Northfield Lane. It is an area that is far from the buildings where classes are held. Northfield is 10 to 20 minutes away on foot, but it as the advantage of being a quiet and relaxing place, with views towards the open field and harmless wildlife such as squirrels, rabbits, crows, and foxes.

What do you do in your spare time?

In my spare time, I used to go out for walk in Brighton seafront and beach or to contemplate the waves of the sea while talking with my friends. I also enjoyed going to a pub to have a cider or a beer and spend time with my friends. It was equally pleasurable to visit British cities and towns that are unusual to appear in tourist guides. Battle, for instance, has a partially ruined abbey and the historical battlefield where King William the Conqueror defeated Harold in 1066. As I said, Brighton is only an hour away from London by train. Then my trips to the capital were quite frequent.

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

First I was a little shy about participating in class and interacting with my peers. I felt strange, without friends and with the culture shock of being surrounded by people from different backgrounds. However, during the second term, there were activities like making a movie all together and the film festival studies subject that helped me gain confidence to be more participatory and contribute both with knowledge, creative, and physical work. I realize that I had a lot to give and receive. By the end of the course, I think I managed to adapt well to the dynamics of a practical Master’s Degree and to my classmates. It was a more than significant and fun experience that left an indelible print in my personal life and professional career.

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

I think I got well prepared and informed about the course, the autonomous way of learning, studying, and working in the universities from the United Kingdom. Moreover, the living expenses before getting there. Although I do recommend to listen to the advice to carry little luggage, because the clothes I got in Mexico were not very useful when I was in the UK, particularly in winter. The weather is truly changeable, from cold and rainy to sunny but windy throughout the day.

On the other hand, the exchange rate from Mexican Peso to Sterling Pound and Euros ended up benefiting me because the British and the European currencies have gone down and the Mexican Peso has strengthen remarkably.

- Victor

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LLB - Law

Has opened up my perspective for the future

Study Law in the UK

I am studying in the UK for the first time for law school. I love learning and experiencing new things as a student and person. As a first-year law student, I have learned a lot about myself and my personal development.

The atmosphere of the university campus is a new experience for me, however; it is one that is helping me as an individual to understand how to grow as a new adult.

Studying in the UK has allowed me many opportunities, including travel, and meeting new people that forced me to look at things from a new perspective and through a new lens. Living only a short train ride away from Brighton has given me the freedom to experience the city as much as I want, but still have the choice to stay on campus if I want. That choice has allowed me to spend as much or as little time in Brighton as I want.

The university has been able to help me as a new international student and not be as worried about the new experience that I have this year. Many contacts have aided my knowledge of how to best my experience, and if I have any questions, I don’t feel alone in this experience.

Choosing to study abroad, and specifically study in the UK has opened up my perspective for the future, and the opportunities I have going forward.

- Emma

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