''I feel that studying abroad should definitely be a part of every student’s life. It helps you gain a broader perspective, gain confidence in yourself and independence.''
- Chiara from Oman
Why did you choose to study abroad?
I always knew I wanted to go abroad due to the limited options for further study in Oman. Studying abroad had always interested me since I visited the UK with my family at a young age.
Furthermore, Aston university had the right mix of diversity and corporate exposure that I wanted and I couldn’t help but be excited when I received my acceptance letter.
How was life as an international student in Birmingham?
Being an international student in Birmingham was good. Birmingham is the second largest city in the UK and the location was an advantage as I could travel to other cities easily while living there.
Additionally, being a student, the cost of living was cheaper than other big cities which was an advantage.
Since I like experiencing different cultures, Birmingham had different restaurants and local pubs which was exciting. My university was also centrally located which was amazing so travel was easy and there was no lack of restaurants or shopping centers within Birmingham.
Did you feel any major cultural changes while being in the UK?
The best part of being in a university environment is the diversity and openness. Students are always willing to learn from new cultures and there is always something to learn from them.
I did feel a culture difference while interacting with my colleagues at university and when we met up after class. However this tends to fade away in time when I got to know them better.
How has studying abroad helped you in your career?
My university’s business school is well known and networking events and talks from business leaders were often held.
This was an advantage for me as networking is an important skill in today’s business world and these events helped me gain confidence.
Furthermore, the international exposure of the university helped me get knowledge of different companies that I would like to work with or the prospects of starting my own business.
Do you have any tips for international students to get involved in university life?
Firstly, I feel that studying abroad should definitely be a part of every student’s life. It helps you gain a broader perspective in life, gain confidence in yourself and independence.
Every university has a student union and community and the best way to be involved is to take part in the multiple student activities that occur at the student union. Moreover, don’t be afraid to not fit in as there many student clubs at university that suit everyone’s interest.
Furthermore, I hardly felt homesick due to there being many counselors or support staff on campus always willing to talk to for additional help and support.