Pavan, originally from India, is studying abroad for an MBA in the UK at Staffordshire University through IEC Abroad.
Where do you go to school?
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from India. I am originally from Chennai.
When and where did you study abroad?
I am now studying for an MBA at Staffordshire University in the UK.
What was the BEST part about studying abroad?
I couldn’t name one single thing I enjoyed the most – I’ve made so many fantastic friends and significantly approved my English language speaking and listening abilities.
One of the things I did really enjoy about studying in the UK was the relationship students have with university staff. The tutors and support staff treat you like a friend and allow you to call them by their first name.
I’m used to stricter teaching, so being able to communicate freely with tutors was really helpful – you know they’re there for you if you need any help.
What did you learn about the rest of the world from studying abroad? What did you learn about yourself from the experience?
I learnt that I adapted surprisingly quickly. I missed lots of things about home, but speaking to my family and friends certainly helped. It didn’t take me long to start cooking for myself and I soon got used to things like British sarcasm!
I also learnt that while cultural differences can sometimes be difficult, British students are generally really friendly and very willing to celebrate any cultural celebrations. For example, we would often cook for each other in our student flat, they would prepare things such as Sunday roasts while I would make the type of food I would eat at home.
What was your BIGGEST challenge while studying abroad and how did you manage to handle it?
I found the application process very confusing. That was one of the reasons why I studied with an international education consultancy – I knew they would be able to help me apply and help with any Visa questions I had.
I had to attend a Visa interview, which made me nervous, however I had practised so much that I actually felt quite confident on the day!
How did studying abroad change your life?
Studying in the UK helped me professionally as my degree will be well respected globally and I benefited from an immersive language experience. When you’re speaking and using the language everyday, you pick it up quicker than you would in a language class.
From a personal perspective, I am now much more independent. Travelling doesn’t worry me – I have done it and I enjoy it!
What’s your BEST piece of advice for someone who is thinking about studying abroad?
Attend as many university fairs and virtual open days as you can. Speaking to university representatives face to face is really useful, however if you can’t physically visit universities you are interested in, UCAS have a helpful calendar of virtual UK university open days.
These virtual open days will give you some insight into the university and city and will also discuss things such as accommodation.
I would also recommend joining a society dedicated to your language or home country. This is a great way to feel connected to home when you’re studying abroad. Do make an effort to make friends with British students though too.
I would also recommend ensuring you can cook for yourself before you leave home. When you’re used to home cooked meals, it can make you feel more homesick if you can’t recreate your favourite dishes.