• Ankit Gupta

A journey towards the Dreams (Studying in the U.K)

The decision of studying abroad is very challenging and yet somehow, I had taken the same life-changing decision during my bachelors or say in the final year of it. There were many options to choose from, just as there for any other student. A total chaos of choosing the right path for a bright future so, should I start working/job hunting? Should I get into some reputed university for masters? or prepare for the GATE exam to get into IIT? (yes GATE exam which means sitting home and preparing for a whole year). Amidst it made me prepare a detailed chart of available options (Shown below) broadly, having main four – Job, startup, Masters in India or Masters abroad. At the same time, I realized that major in Computer Science Engineering is not what I want to go with, for my whole life. So, as my interest which has already started going towards Aerospace made me finalize my field of future studies and “Going Abroad”.

Available Future options after bachelors: -

1)   Job – (First hunting and then working lamely)

2)   Startup – (Without exposure is risky)

3)   Higher Studies in India – (GATE for IIT or some XYZ university)

4)   Higher studies abroad – (International Exposure and the change is a field)

For some time, I started looking for two options broadly, either higher studies in India (where I found GATE exam was the only feasible option to get in some reputed university) or to study abroad, for which I came across many countries as good options namely America, U.K, Canada, Australia, Europe and New Zealand. There were many prestigious universities to choose from but, I was only concerned about getting into top 50 universities of the world and, at the same time I had to change my subject as well as find an affordable university for further studies.

After a lot of research, I found that U.S.A and U.K are two of the best destinations for higher studies because of having a large pool of prestigious universities as well as the quality of education. After thorough research, I chose the U.K because of its only 1-year master’s program instead of 2 years. Now, not just I could get a master’s degree within 1 year sounds great while it is also a lot affordable compared to U.S.A and other destinations (because of only 1-year’s fees and stay), Canada was never an option as they do not allow a change in course, and the Australia & New Zealand were also the expensive options too, while in Europe language is a major barrier.

Luckily, I came across SIUK, a firm closely working with UK universities. They have provided me with some good option of universities and thence, I have applied to top 5 universities with the desired course, from the list of appropriate universities. And soon after completing the admission requirements, I got an offer letter from Leeds, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Cranfield University respectively. After thorough research and understanding, I finally accepted the offer from Cranfield because of its admired presence in the Aerospace industry and being the only Postgraduate university too, as well as having their own airport being a plus point.

Until now, I have shared my Journey to be accepted in one of the best universities, now it is time to share about the preparations I have done to step in. So, after accepting the admission letter I started finalizing the formalities for final acceptance such as, getting a loan and applying for a scholarship (to arrange a big amount of fees) then applying for a visa and giving English speaking exam too. After completing all these formalities, I have finally flown to London on 1st of October, landed at London Heathrow Airport where I was waiting for the cab from the university itself. I and my other friend haven’t got a room in university amidst, we have booked a hotel nearby university in Milton Keynes for a temporary stay. We have spent three days there and then moved to university accommodation as we finally got lucky and had got rooms in student accommodations.

The studies have already started by the time I landed in the UK (missed welcome events because of the long visa process) and within the first few weeks, the temperature in England started decreasing rapidly and getting colder. All in all, I was trying to manage my best in a completely new place, got a part-time job in a restaurant and everything was going fine. Within the first month, I have been elected as the course representative for my school of Aerospace and also been selected as the Indian Society president. Soon after, I have also started giving yoga classes at the university (2 classes weekly). Simultaneously balancing studies and the part-time job had become very hectic and nerve-wracking but, I was trying to manage my best all along. Planning my day from morning to night, attending lectures, going to meetings, organizing events, giving yoga classes, self-studies, a part-time job and whatnot. For the first 2 months, I have been into the accommodation hall where food is served and students are not allowed to cook. Well, ‘being a vegetarian in the U.K sucks’ as there are only very limited options for vegetarians. So, I applied for the room to be changed and luckily just within a few days, I have got my request accepted and have got a room in University accommodation houses. Happily, I moved there in a very big room having a common kitchen in the house. Now, I not can only cook myself while I was also free to eat any time as well as organizing some small gatherings (oh! What a relief). Then in January we had our exams and submission of assignments and has also been assigned a Group project with BAE systems too. Till March we had simultaneous classes as well as had to work on the project. It was the most-most hectic time but, we finally survived. Then in April, we had some more exams again for the second semester as well as assignments, we were also required to choose our individual project during the same time. Well not to brag but, I had been preparing for this from last two months, have already applied for Erasmus grant and connected to a professor in Spain (Universidad Politecnica de Madrid), who have accepted my proposal for research.

And then for IRP before going to Spain, I came back to India in between (on 20th may for 10 days) and have got my visa done for Spain. Truly, I was missing my family and have earned enough money to surprise them by coming to India on my own. After this, on the 1st of June, I have flown back to the U.K and then to Spain after 3 days. Soon after landing, the very next day I have started my studies there. Wuhh! Now studying in Spain is a part of another story so, let’s just skip this stay of three months for the next article.

By the 3rd of September, I have landed back in the U.K to submit my Individual thesis. I had to give a presentation and then present a poster for the whole work. Blissfully, my work was deeply appreciated by the professors and I felt really pleased after completing my masters on the 5th of September. This was just all about my journey until I finished my masters. Now a new hunt was started “job Hunt”. Yes, I got several offers but, I got rejection always on the last stage only because of not having a ‘U.K resident permit’. So, I applied again and again up until December when I finally realized that securing a job is not possible in the UK anymore, (simultaneously working part-time). I was earning okish amount of lumpsum money from part-time and then I started working full time in Amazon (Dec. and Jan). During this whole time after masters, I was sharing a room with one other friend and hence saving a little more by paying less rent. With this savings, I have sent some gifts back home by online shopping and continued staying in the U.K till the last week of January, which have given me an opportunity to earn a good amount of money. Since I knew that there is no chance to get a long-term job in the U.K so, I started going on trips to enjoy the U.K as much as I can. I have nearly gone for 10 trips (Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Isle of the sky, Bath, Chester and many more cities too), only with the money earned either from working part-time or in Amazon.

Well, all in all, it was a hell of a solo ride but I enjoyed it. Learned a lot and become self-independent completely, gained a lot of enthusiasm and self-belief. Most importantly, trusting myself to achieve more. I have spent my last day in the U.K on 30th Jan, and a sweet journey was ended with the weeps of Joy having an album of all the everlasting memories in the heart (Some in iPhone too 😄😄).

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