September 15, 2015, by International students

Getting ready for Nottingham: my #journeytoUoN

It’s September, yet the beaming sunlight peeking through the little opening of my room’s curtains make it appear like the peak of summer.

That’s New Delhi. At 30+ degrees Celsius, the Indian capital feels like pre-heated oven, ready to bake you. And here I am, wrapped in layers of sheets, huddled in a corner of my bed after having fallen prey to the temperature outside. And it doesn’t end there. With the laptop next to me, I am trying to write about my preparations for the big day – flying to Nottingham. Such irony!

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Hello! I am Venkat Shruti Vaddy and as I look back, screening the many moments in the past 9 months since when the whole roller-coaster ride of applying to universities in UK started, the most prominent thought running through my mind is, the duration of 9 months is most certainly symbolic of the greatest miracles of life.

As part of my under-graduation, I interned with the Indian English daily, Deccan Herald and American Online’s COOLAGE. Ironically, it was these non-psychology internships that made me passionate for the subject. I realized, as compared to criticizing people on their shortcomings and making them self-introspect, inspiring others, opening their mind to have their own original thoughts and being a different kind of leader from the traditional, was gratifying to me and therefore, a masters’ in Organizational Psychology was something I knew, would allow me to make real-time changes in the workplace.

However, psychology is still taking its baby steps in India and occupational psychology is unheard of here. Therefore, choosing to pursue the course in UK was an obvious choice owing to its plethora of world-renowned universities and the well-established British Psychological Society.

The biggest challenge however, was convincing my parents to let me study abroad. Anyone who has ever visited India or knows Indian parents would know that, they have an innate need to babysit their children, no matter what the child’s age. And therefore, the thought of me leaving home and living in a foreign land all by myself was something they had to get accustomed to. It took them some time but once I had their approval, it was a smooth ride thereon, of applying to universities. For one I knew, the moment I receive an offer letter from The University of Nottingham, the deal shall be sealed.

MSc Work and Organizational Psychology at UoN, offered me the perfect blend of research and academic modules, with relevance to contemporary workplace scenario. The varied teaching methods used, caught my attention as did the campus life. Also, the University’s global standing and Nottingham’s Purple Flag accreditation were a major add on. Studies aside, Nottingham is well-connected to other cities in UK and provides diversity in terms of culture – my greatest takeaway as an international student. Education at one of the finest universities of the world coupled with exposure to rich cultural heritage and scenic beauty was difficult to resist.

But the cherry on the icing was when I received a scholarship. One fine day towards the end of June, I opened my inbox to check mails and the one from the University read, “Congratulations, Ms. Vaddy! You’ve been awarded 100% tuition fee waiver as part of Developing Solutions Masters Scholarship.” With tears of joy rolling down my cheeks, I knew, life would never be the same again. Not only did it provide me financial security to pursue my studies without any hindrance, it boosted oodles of confidence into me. For a girl from a patriarchal society, the achievement felt like unclipping of my wings and now, there is no looking back.

I have never travelled abroad and the excitement is incomprehensible. The past month, I juggled between getting my documents together, the visa process, meeting my friends and saying goodbyes, preparing never ending lists of ‘places to visit’ and ‘things to do in UK’ and most importantly, shopping. Every girl just needs an opportunity to shop, doesn’t she?

The year ahead seems like nirvana to me – with the academic course satiating me mentally, the never-ending list of places to visit taking care of the travel bug in me, the many cuisines to try and experiment for the foodie in me. But none of this is what I’m most excited for. It’s the people! For the communicator in me – I’m looking forward to becoming one amongst you all, where it won’t matter which country I belong to.

And while I still lay here, I am trying to figure out if I’m more eager or nervous. With just a day to go, truth be told, I am starting to have my panic-attacks. I’m nervous about being away from home for the longest time, nervous about how life’s going to be without my daily staple diet of mother’s scolding, walks with dad and gossiping with the sister.


A farewell gathering with friends

But like every good thing in life has come to an end to make way for something better, I’m hoping the next one year is going to turn out to be my magic beans and I cannot wait for the many surprises life has in store, to unfold.

Venkat Shruti Vaddy, an international student from India studying MSc Work and Organisational Psychology at The University of Nottingham.

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