December 19, 2014, by International students

Becoming more tolerant, confident, and braver

Choosing The University of Nottingham to continue my education was a fairly easy decision; I had spent a year in the city for an exchange programme and I felt an immense respect for the University and its professors. In addition, I knew a masters degree would be very different from an exchange year, and I wanted to study in a friendly environment that would allow me to make the most of my year abroad.

My journey began in July 2013, when I started my pre-sessional English course. It was an incredible experience and I would recommend this course to any person that is thinking of studying in their second language; the course not only prepares you in a language level, but it helps you understand how the system works and what are the professors expecting from you; this is highly important for international students given that every country and university has its own assessment methods and it is not always something that everyone thinks through before applying. As a result, you begin the year feeling more confident in your abilities and ready to commence the year without the fear of not knowing what you will face; not to mention, the schedule was perfect for working during the week so I could have time to travel and enjoy the summer during the weekends. Then, it was time for the difficult part to begin.

At first, it was a bit difficult to keep up; I don’t think anyone fully understands the commitment you need to make when choosing to study in another language, however, once you get used to the rhythm (and the accent) everything gets easier and soon you won’t remember how difficult it was at the beginning. Also, when I finished my degree I felt even prouder since it was a double challenge for myself.

Time management and perseverance are key factors in order to complete successfully whatever postgraduate course you choose to study, and still have fun. The programmes are highly demanding, in particular the summer period when you need to write your dissertation, since there is no schedule, thus it is up to you whether or not you finalize your work on time; however, it is not all bad news. Especially in the case of international students, traveling around the country and through Europe is great part of the experience; this is absolutely possible if you learn to organize yourself. Furthermore, in my experience, the people you meet are basically the best part of studying abroad; even if the budget is not high enough for traveling, you meet so many diverse people from every part of the world that it is very easy to discover different cultures by just staying in your hall.


This year has been one of the most challenging experiences of my life, and I could not feel happier with the decision I made. Sometimes pushing yourself can be healthy and being away from home is a perfect way to do it. It helps you in so many levels; first, you get to know yourself and what you are capable of; second, it signifies an expansion of your view of the world and knowledge; and finally, when you finish, not only you are awarded with a fantastic degree but you become a better version of yourself. The former is the most important point; becoming more tolerant, confident, and braver is the greatest thing that could happen to you. This will eventually shape your career and your life, so enjoy the experience and make the most of your year!

Best of luck


Javiera (2)

Javiera, MSc Corporate Strategy and Governance student from Chile.

This post is also available in: Spanish

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