Chapter: Masters. One of the most important and challenging stages for many students. For me, it was the experience that I was waiting for throughout the 4 years of my undergraduate studies.
Ι had a dream since I was young - to live the experience of studying abroad. And my dream was specific. I wanted to study in the UK. British Universities are well known about their high academic excellence and I was sure that coming to study in this country was an experience I wanted to live in my life. However, from dream to reality, there was a big difference. When the time came, taking the decision to leave my home to move 2 time zones away was a harder decision than what I was expecting. As any decision in life, it came with pros and cons that contributed to my decision to make the step and move to the UK. Here is everything that went on in my mind and how it turned out:
- It is a whole new experience.
A masters on its own is a unique part of my career and my life in general. It is my chance to enhance my knowledge and get specialized in the career sector that I dream of being a part of. Moving to another country to do it, I thought it was going to be something new for me. A fresh start. A chance to make new memories, get my independence and follow my own path.
- Found *Exactly* the course I was looking for.
In cases like mine, finding a course that is *exactly* the specialization that I was looking for is hard, and not offered in masters level beck in my home country. However, by opening my horizons to more countries, I opened my options to explore different courses until I found THE ONE that was perfect for me!
- Opportunity to practice my English.
Even though I was used to speaking in English from an early age, I strongly believe that until you actually live in another country and have to speak a foreign language every day, you can’t be that fluent. So, I was up for that challenge. By studying in your second language, you have the best opportunity to practice your language & communication skills and develop yourself. Trust me, you will start speaking better English before you even realize it!
- Get out of my Comfort zone.
I believe this was one of the most important reasons I made that decision. As I mentioned above, going abroad is a whole new experience that enables you to truly find yourself. Coming to the UK was my chance to get out of my comfort zone and be *even more* independent and responsible. I learnt to do everything by myself and gained confidence that is going to be very useful to me in my future steps.
- I would be away from my family & friends.
This is something that unfortunately was going to happen. And if you are like me, leaving for the first time from home, it is hard at the beginning. However, trust me, it gets easier as time goes by. I made new friends here that became my new family, so I never felt lonely. Furthermore, with Skype & social media I can communicate with my family and friends at any time, just like I would do back home. Also, since you know in advance your entire academic calendar for the year, you can easily plan your vacation back home to rest and be with your loved ones!
- I must deal with any problem by myself.
Being on my own gives me freedom but at the same time I amresponsible for *almost* everything that I have to take care of. I am responsible to for everyday household duties such as cleaning or doing groceries, to even take care of myself when I get a cold or if something else happens. However, this experience made me more mature and responsible. Plus, I always have support from my friends here and my family who believed in me at every step.
- It is expensive.
Finally, what I knew from the beginning – and was verified in the process – is that living abroad could be expensive. It depends on the choices that you are going to make, but at least in comparison to my home country, life is more expensive here. However, if you manage your expenses – without missing the chance to do things you enjoy – you can balance your expenses and reduce the total cost. 😊 Finding a part-time job is something that a lot of my friends – including me – tried and helped us a lot to have extra money without having to burden our parents!
Studying abroad is a life-changing experience that in my opinion has its positives and negatives, just like any other choice we make in life 😊 But I can surely tell you it is something you are going to remember for the rest of your life. Don’t judge a book by its cover - so equally, don’t exclude the opportunity to study in a different country before you try it! Plymouth is one of the biggest chapters in my life and I have memories that I am going to remember forever! I strongly suggest you make that step and live the dream. Trust me, you are not going to regret it!