• ScholarGeek.org

  • ScholarGeek.org

  • ScholarGeek.org

  • ScholarGeek.org

Study Abroad

…About Study Abroad Before You Go:

With the excitement of Study Abroad abound we are scouring the web to find you personal advice and experience from students who have gone before you. 

Shamayita Chakraborty graduated from Cardiff University with a master in International Journalism in 2008.  Here tips are not only insightful; they are food for thought to help you be more prepared. 

Below are her top 7 incites:


1. You start missing your mom like never before, the moment the flight takes off

No matter how smartass you are, you feel a lump in your throat as the plane taxis on the runway. It is the moment you suddenly feel you are uprooted and thrown to uncertainty. The moment also opens your eyes to the fact that it will be a long time before you can taste 'maa ke haath ka khana.' So be prepared.

2. You will be free — only in your dreams
Along with freedom in the new country comes the responsibility which we conveniently ignore. It doesn't matter if you are in a university accommodation or private shared housing, your freedom will revolve around words like cooking, cleaning (loo included), washing, studying, writing and working.

3. It takes time to adjust to the new country
If you are going to a cold country, it will take at least three months to get acclimatised. Be well prepared for a brush with flu. So pack ample paracetamol. Register with a local general physician (GP) as soon as you get there.

4. You have to work hard like a dog
If you are not on full scholarship in the US for your PhD — in which case you get to be a teaching assistant — you have to work abroad to meet your daily expenses. If you are lucky you can get an office/library attendance job. Otherwise, you might have to work at McDonald's and that is pretty much McJob — google if you are hearing that word for the first time.

5. A gargantuan dissertation awaits you
Between 15,000 and 22,000 words is the length of a dissertation for a masters degree. Yes, you read it right. Unlike India, a masters dissertation (especially in the UK) is huge. And the deadline is damn tight. You write about 75,000 words in a PhD dissertation (for humanities, social sciences, etc.) in four to five years. But for a masters degree you are expected to write 20,000 words in six months.

6. When you say 'party' you may actually mean 'kitchen party'
Let us face it. We dream about big nightlife in western countries. But that is less likely when you are a student. You plan for a party, check your budget and settle with a nice and warm kitchen party with potluck classmates. It is twice as fun as any posh nightclub could offer, trust me.

7. After-graduation nightmare awaits you
I completed my masters in 2008, soon after Lehman Brothers went bankrupt and the world economy slowed down. With this, my big dream of landing a job in The Guardian or BBC hit a road block. Yours should not be that bad. But be prepared for zillions of job refusals before you crack the one.

Although some of her insights might give a person a moment's pause before heading out the door it is important to go into your new adventure fully armed.  You will have incredible times, experiences which not only change you but change your perception of the world around you.  The benefits greatly outweigh the sacrifice.


image courtesy of ratch0013/ FreeDigital Photos.net

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