February 11, 2019, by International students
International Student Ambassadors: Alessandra from Mexico
Hello, I am Alessandra, I am Mexican, and I am studying my master’s degree in Public International Law in the University of Nottingham. My time in Nottingham has been a delightful and challenging experience. Throughout these months, I have had to reconnect with my academic abilities and to develop my internal strength to deal with the fact that I am so far away from home and all by myself in a completely different country. Though difficult, I can’t deny that this has been the most amazing experience of my life, and one of which I am very proud and grateful to have.
What attracted you to the UK?
As corny as it may sound, the United Kingdom has always been my dream spot to live in. Since I can remember, I have always loved the UK, maybe it was the Harry Potter books, the accent or the multiple movies that I have seen, but I always dreamt of being here. Once I decided to study my postgraduate programme, the UK was the only option in my mind.
Thankfully, the research stage was easy because the programme I chose, public international law, was not offered in many universities. Once I found the University of Nottingham’s programme there was no turning back. The modules, the teachers and the approach of the University were exactly what I was looking for.
Why did you choose to study your specific course and what are your favourite aspects of the course so far?
I studied my undergraduate degree in international relations, so I learnt about international law during one of my lessons. Once I understood the topics it covers and its scope, I realised that I wanted to specialise in this in the future. Even after working several years in Mexico City in an unrelated topic, this plan stayed in my head.
The programme in the University of Nottingham is what I was looking for and it turned out to be exactly what I expected it to be. A couple of months into the programme, I can say that my favourite aspects have been the readings, which are challenging and eye-opening; the teachers and their unique method of teaching, which is completely different from what I experienced in Mexico; and the general environment of the school, where everyone has been welcoming and friendly.
What was your experience of arriving in the UK/in Nottingham?
My trip to the UK was a little dramatic because I lost my computer on my way here! Once I got over it, everything got better. Just the fact that I was finally living my dream of being in the UK and studying my masters degree made me very ecstatic.
During my first days here, which demanded lots of walking and constantly getting lost, I had my first approach to the School of Law, the professors and my classmates. Everyone was very kind and attentive with one another. Since the beginning of the course, the staff of the University has been helpful, considerate and supporting, making sure that everyone feels welcome and not alone.
If you were awarded a scholarship, please give details of the scholarship and the impact it has had on your studies.
I was lucky enough to get the Latin America Masters Scholarship in Partnership with Santander. Bluntly put, I wouldn’t have been able to come and study if it wasn’t for it. This scholarship is awarded to Latin American students and it supports them with £5,000 towards tuition fees. Since it is one of the few scholarships available for Mexican students, I feel very fortunate and lucky to receive it.
How do you hope your course will impact on your future career?
One of the reasons I wanted to study international relations, and subsequently, public international law, is that I have always dreamt of working in an international organisation, such as the United Nations or Amnesty International. I hope this programme will give me the necessary knowledge to develop a more complete profile, and, at the same time reinforce my previous experience. I believe this programme will provide me with the necessary insight to develop strategies and solutions for the issues that threaten the international scenario, such as the refugee crisis, migration, human rights and international conflicts.
In addition, this course is a big step for me, since I am specialising in law rather than international relations. However, I see this as a big opportunity for me to get a broader perspective on today’s world and the problems that afflict it. The knowledge that I am acquiring is opening my eyes to new viewpoints and solutions. I expect this course will help me to become a multidisciplinary, engaging and effective professional.
How do you manage your money as a student?
I establish a monthly budget and I do everything in my power to respect it. Thankfully, living in Nottingham hasn’t been as expensive as I feared. A good tip is to take the first month as a test, and once you define your regular expenses (cell phone, rent, food), you can establish the rest of your budget according to that.
Once you get used to your new life here, it is easier to control and respect your budget. It doesn’t hurt if you can find a part-time job that can result in more money.
What has been your experience of making friends with people from other countries?
It has been very rewarding. I am not a naturally social person, so it has always been a struggle to make new friends and to gather the courage to speak to people. However, everyone I have met has been very friendly, open-minded and receptive. It is helpful to remember that all of us are new and alone, especially the international students, so it is almost certain that we are dealing with the same struggles and insecurities.
Everyone is open to making new friends. The new friendships that I have made, have allowed to learn about other cultures as well as to share the Mexican traditions with them. These new experiences have been truly fulfilling and enriching.
If you have any questions about studying at the University of Nottingham as an international student, you can get in touch with our International Ambassadors via email.