I have always been amazed at how fast time truly passes by. It seems as if it was yesterday when I arrived on campus in the middle of the night lost and confused. As I have come to the last chapter of my postgraduate degree here at Aston University, it can be determined that not only will I take a couple of key aspects away as I continue on my career pathway, but I also have achieved and learned a couple things that would be helpful for other students who might follow a similar track. Because of this, it can be determined that my time here in the United Kingdom has been one of the most unique experiences of my life.
Although I already had a couple of year’s work experience under my belt, I feel that I have developed over the course of the year not only through academics, but also through critical thinking and world culture awareness. Many of our modules focused on discussing and analyzing the topics at hand, which is also how we were usually assessed. This was to ensure that not only were we able to regurgitate the material, but actually understand it to its full extent. In addition to this, the fact that I was always surrounded by students and lecturers from other countries helped me become more culturally aware of how people respond to certain topics of that country. There were only a couple of other American’s who I only saw on a time-to-time basis. I utilized this opportunity to learn as much about these different cultures to enhance my future endeavors once I finish my time at Aston.
Coming into the 2014-2015 Academic Year, there were a couple of various goals that I wanted to achieve. Besides academic excellence, I desired to learn and experience as much as I could while living abroad. I have a huge passion for learning about various cultures and the best way to do this was to travel to different areas and interacting or residing with locals. I would always interact and befriend the locals I came in contact with when traveling. Because of this, I feel that I have contacts in many countries in Europe, South America, Asia, and some parts of Africa. In addition to this, I was also recruited for Aston’s Volleyball Team where I was given the opportunity to travel throughout the United Kingdom for away matches at various universities including Nottingham, East Anglia, and Cambridge. Because of this, not only was I given the opportunity to travel through Europe, but also in many cities of England.
Through my time spent here in the United Kingdom I have come to realize that although the United States is one of the larger countries in the world, there really is so much more to the world than that. I remember thinking about how many of my friends from America have never left the country, but in reality it is only a small fraction of what is really out there. In addition to this, many people from the U.S. believe that “their way” is the “right way”. Obviously living abroad has been a huge eye-opener to what is happening on an international level.
For potential students hoping to come and study at Aston, my advice would be to make the most of your time while here and not only perform well academically, but to also get involved in as many aspects as you can. I say this with the intent that way students will get to know their professors and colleagues in order to create everlasting contacts of various countries. By doing this, a student will not only come out from Aston with a degree from one of the most prestigious schools in Europe, but also with an extensive international network.