At Student Central we regularly recruit former international students as Global Associates to help onboard future students to the platform and support them in acheiving their goal of studying in the UK. Arun is one of our recently recruited associates and we asked him a few questions about his experience as an international student studying in the UK.
Arun, you graduated from university in the UK a few years ago, tell us a little about what you studied and where.
I studied an undergraduate degree at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland. At the time I studied, I had the option of taking a 'customised program' so I took a mix of business management with hospitality and tourism.
Tell us a little about your background
I would consider myself to be lucky and privileged to come to study in the UK. Even in my wildest dreams I would have never thought that I would end up here. My dad used to work a lot and it’s his hard-work and sacrifices which ensured that we had a good chance to leave our poor lives behind and make a better life for us.
When I was 11 yrs old, it was the first time I left India and we went to Singapore. We tried to make it work there, tried few different schools but it didn’t work out. Then we tried to go to the US with my dad but even that didn’t work out and then came calling the opportunity to move to the Middle East and start fresh and build a better prospect of studying and living in the UK.
So I managed to complete my schooling in Kuwait with exchange programs in Dubai and Bahrain.
Then, when I was 14yrs old, my father told me that "it’s time that you go for an adventure and experience new cultures" so I ended up travelling on my own to Heathrow. I was a little scared when I arrived, not knowing where I was, and then having to make a trip down to Devon to join a summer English programme.
But this experience changed my life, when I returned after the summer programme, I told my father that once I finish schooling, I would like to go and study in the UK.
How did you decide what and were to study?
I did quite a bit of research and found the most useful information through a network of friends who had taken a similar path to myself.
What qualifications did you have before you came to the UK?
I only had my language test (TOEFL) results plus my high school diploma. I was never a very studious or a smart kid but I have always been a confident communicator so this helped me.
What did you find most difficult about APPLYING to study in the UK?
I found the most difficult part of the process to be the UK Visa application. You have to make sure you get it right or you risk getting your application rejected, so it can also be extremely stressful.
What was the best thing about studying/living in the UK?
The UK is a beautiful country with lovely, friendly people and good quality education.
What was the most challenging thing about studying/living in the UK?
The cost of living was high compared to other countries but there are lots of part time employment opportunities to help supplement your funds and meet expenses.
Did you get involved in any clubs or societies during your time at university in the UK?
I played domestic club cricket for a premier side during my university days and even now I’m still associated with the same cricket club. I also tried to get into the university basketball and football teams but never made the cut.
What are you doing now/what are your future career plans?
I am currently working for a bank as a client onboarding manager. Hopefully in 5-10 yrs time I can design a fin tech app with my ideas. The plans are there but only time will tell whether I can achieve this or not.
What advice would you give to somebody who is thinking of studying in the UK?
Do your research about the programme and the university, make sure you take into account the cost of living, employment opportunities and most importantly believe in yourself.