Student Life

Student spotlight: "Studying abroad isn't like what you see in movies or on Instagram."

Updated on: Oct 30, 2023
Student spotlight: "Studying abroad isn't like what you see in movies or on Instagram."
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Could you please introduce yourself and share a bit about your background?

My name is Ramya and I'm originally from Andhra Pradesh. After obtaining my MBA in HR and Marketing in 2015, I worked as a centre manager. As time went on, my desire to grow in my career intensified. Although I initially considered moving to Canada, my aspirations eventually led me in a different direction.

My interest in marketing grew stronger and I decided to study further abroad. While exploring options, I came across Edvoy, which seemed like an excellent opportunity. So, I went ahead and completed a one-year Masters course in Digital Marketing at the University of Salford, starting in January 2022. I've since completed the course, which has reinforced my ambition to advance in the field of marketing.

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How did you come to the decision to study abroad?

My decision to study abroad was fueled by a combination of my previous work and academic experiences, and my desire for global exposure. I had an MBA in HR and Marketing, and my work had largely been interdisciplinary marketing. However, I felt a pull towards digital marketing and I saw international study as a great way to immerse myself in this rapidly evolving field.

The choice of the UK was an easy one, given that it boasts some of the top universities in the world. Another influencing factor was that I had family in the UK, including a sister who is working for the NHS. These elements collectively informed my decision to pursue further studies abroad.

How did you prepare for your study abroad journey?

It was a bit of a whirlwind decision. I was so excited to explore new horizons that I didn't even think about finances until later. I guess you could say my enthusiasm and curiosity to learn more took the front seat!

What factors influenced your decision to study in your chosen country and university?

While browsing various universities, Salford was highly recommended. I wasn't set on any specific university at first; I was simply trying to find the best one that fit my needs. As I was browsing, Manchester caught my eye and I thought it would be a fantastic place to live and study. I looked at a few universities in Manchester, and Salford stood out because it has a great reputation for Business Management, which was really important for my studies in Digital Marketing.

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What factors influenced your decision to start university in January?

My decision to start university in January was influenced by a variety of factors. Initially, I was aiming to enroll in September, but the decision-making process was quick and there were fewer seats available then. Consultancies suggested the January intake and it seemed like a feasible option. I also received an offer from a London university for a September start, but the high fees were a deterrent. 

But more than just practical reasons, I was drawn to the idea of experiencing winter and Christmas in the UK as soon as I got there. I was excited about the prospect of seeing snow for the first time and immersing myself in the festive season. It was a chance to experience something new and I was looking forward to it, even though adjusting to the cold winter climate was a bit of a challenge.

Which scholarship did you receive for your studies?

Actually, I didn't apply for any scholarships, but I was pleasantly surprised to receive one. The university granted me the Global Gold Excellence Scholarship, which amounted to £3,500. They just deducted it from my fees when they gave me an unconditional offer. 

Were there any specific requirements or criteria for the scholarship?

From what I could tell, a lot of students received some sort of scholarship, but the amount seemed to vary from person to person. I'm not completely sure, but I think the university might have taken factors like work experience into account when determining who got a scholarship and how much they received.

How did you find applying through Edvoy for studying abroad?

At first, not many people believed me. But as I was browsing for top consultancies near me, I came across Edvoy. I decided to go with them, and it turned out to be a great decision. The whole process was done online, I never even had to visit their office. I am 100% satisfied with their service. They were always there for me.

They even guided me with my Statement of Purpose. If anything needed to be added, they would guide me through it. The decision-making was on me, but they supported my choices. That was something I really appreciated. I've even recommended them to some of my friends because I felt that, unlike other agencies, they didn't try to sway my decisions.

I would definitely recommend Edvoy to anyone considering studying abroad.

How has receiving the scholarship impacted your studies and life abroad?

The scholarship was definitely a big help since it reduced the amount I had to pay out of pocket. I was using both family funds and personal savings, so every bit of support made a difference.

Finding a job after moving was a bit of a struggle initially. I was leaning on family funds and at one point, I was even considering going to the university to ask for additional help. Fortunately, it didn't come to that and I was able to continue using my family's support. I also had a friend who was able to get assistance from the university, so I knew there were options if I really needed them.

Can you share a bit about your day-to-day life as an international student?

Well, I lived a bit away from Manchester, so I used to catch a train to get to class. My typical day would involve attending class and interacting with peers, followed by group discussions about our course, jobs, and any personal difficulties. We made a point to be there for each other. After class, I'd spend some time in the library before heading back home. If I had any questions or concerns, I'd discuss them with my tutor.

One of my favorite spots on campus was the international cafe. They used to host meetups there, and it became a real cultural hub. We have a lot of festivals in India, and we'd celebrate them in the cafe, which was always a lot of fun. Being a part of those celebrations exposed me to many different cultures, which I really enjoyed. There were also some local trips. For instance, we visited Media City, which was quite exciting.

How have you managed to balance your academic responsibilities with your personal life?

Honestly, it took some time to adjust. At first, it was really tough. I was a new student in a new country and for the first time, I was living on my own. It was a bit overwhelming and I was quite confused. 

There were even people around me who were planting negative thoughts, and at one point, I was worried I might get depressed. But over time, I adapted. I figured out how to balance everything and, in the end, I actually came to like the independence and the challenges.

Have you experienced any culture shock? How have you adapted to the new culture?

There was definitely a bit of culture shock for me. After all, it was my first time ever leaving India. But one of the things that stood out to me was how friendly people are here. People would often smile at me, strike up conversations, and generally make me feel welcome. These random interactions were quite different from what I was used to in India, but I came to appreciate this aspect of the culture here. It helped make the transition a lot easier.

What are some interesting cultural experiences or customs you've encountered in your host country?

There are a couple of things that stand out. For one, I noticed that people here love to read. It's not uncommon for me to see 10-15 people a day just sitting outside, enjoying the peace and quiet with a book in hand. 

Another interesting cultural experience I've encountered is the tradition of family dinner on Fridays. People here really enjoy their fish and chips! I found it wonderful how everyone seems to let their hair down and relax on Fridays and Saturdays. I had a chance to visit Blackpool and it was such a joy to see families and friends spending quality time together. It was a refreshing change and a tradition I've come to appreciate.

What advice would you give to students who are considering applying for study abroad?

The first thing you need to be prepared for is managing your finances and dealing with culture shock. Studying abroad isn't like what you see in movies or on Instagram. It's not just about partying, pubs, and driving around. There's so much more to it. You can learn a lot from even the smallest things, including adapting to a new culture. The beginning might feel overwhelming, but over time, you'll start to enjoy the journey. 

I've actually recommended a few people to Edvoy because they made the process so much easier for me. It's important to prepare yourself mentally for the hardships you might face. I've had friends who studied abroad and didn't really talk about the challenges they encountered. So, just remember, it won't always be easy, but you'll adapt and grow from the experience.

What are your plans after graduation?

After graduation, I've decided to take advantage of the post-study work permit included in my visa. Currently, I'm on the hunt for a job that offers sponsorship. My sister, who works in the NHS, has shared a lot about her experiences with me, which has sparked my interest in joining the public sector, particularly the NHS.

At the moment, I'm living with my sister in Southport, so I'm primarily searching for job opportunities in this area. It's a bit of a daunting process, searching for the right job myself, but I'm hopeful. 

My long-term plan is to stay in the UK. There are, of course, challenges ahead, such as the strikes and looming recession, which are a bit scary. But I'm committed to navigating through these uncertainties and building a future here.

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