Study Abroad Experience: 'I got a full tuition waiver'
Earlier this week, we'd asked you, our readers, to share your experience of studying at an international university. Reader Karan Desai who studied at the University of Westminster in London, UK shares his story with us:
After completing my graduation from Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics, Mumbai in 2004, I had made up my mind to pursue a post graduate degree abroad (UK or Australia) in order to gain international experience and build my network.
After some research, I discovered that a degree in the United Kingdom would be a good idea given that the universities there offered excellent programmes, besides having a very international student base which allows you to finish the degree in just a year!
For my applications, I worked closely with Study Overseas Consultants in Mumbai to coordinate my paperwork and sent it across to the Universities they were affiliated with. In order to gain maximum exposure, I visited the Education UK fair in Mumbai in late 2004 to submit my applications to some universities that were participating in the fair and also to reconfirm if there were any good universities that I missed out on.
During my visit there, I met the Director of Scholarships at the University of Westminster (UoW) stall who saw my resume and suggested that I apply to the UoW as I had a good chance of getting a scholarship there.
So I applied, and was delighted to learn that I had been awarded a full tuition fee waiver (10,000 GBP) a few months later!
For those who intend to apply to scholarships, let me that add that when you write a scholarship application, you must talk about what you have achieved academically and professionally.
You must explain how you will be utilising the degree you intend to pursue when you return to India. Typically, scholarships are only given to students who use them for development of their home countries post the degree.
I joined the University of Westminster, (London) in September 2005 for their Masters in International Business & Management programme on a scholarship and I must share that the year that I spent there was a life altering experience.
The advantage of studying in the UK is that the degrees focus on practical learning and group work, giving you the chance to work closely with students from different countries and walks of life, thereby giving you a holistic learning experience!
In terms of applying for the visa and completing other university documentation (proof of finance, etc.) I would suggest that the applicant make an early start to avoid any last minute panic and stress! One must also remember that you get almost everything in the UK (at not very expensive prices) and hence one should avoid carrying food, clothes, etc from India!
I believe that every student should do a lot of homework before choosing a country / university to determine what programme is best for them and how they can get maximum value from it, post the degree.
I was pretty sure that I would return to India post my degree and am happy with what I have achieved in life since (obviously a long way to go yet!)
The international degree made me more confident, helped me gain some international connections and friends and is a definite plus on my resume!
Dear Readers, have you ever studied at an international university? What was the experience like?
Which country and university did you go to?
Was the country student-friendly? Did it have a multi-ethnic culture?
What were your greatest learnings there? How did foreign education contribute to your success and what advice would you like to share with students who aspire to study abroad?
Image: University of Westminster
Photographs: Courrtesy University of Westminster