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International Insight: One Student’s Experience with Studying Abroad

Hi, my name is Rachael and I am an international student studying at the University of Brighton and I am going to share a bit about my experience as an international student in hopes that I can help you decide if studying abroad is the right choice for you.

I am from Colorado, right in the middle of the United States of America, and as I am writing this I am at the end of my first year doing Biological Sciences BSc(Hons). Before coming to the University of Brighton I was in public high school which I finished in 3 years instead of 4, I was also in my school orchestra and choir and was involved in the school theatre and I speak both English and Spanish.

Now I’ll be covering some questions about Brighton, the university, my course and being an international student!

How did you hear about the University of Brighton?
I heard about the University of Brighton through a campaign being done by a few British Universities (one of which was the University of Brighton) specifically for international students. I attended an informational presentation on these universities and the University of Brighton really stuck out to me.

Why did you choose the University of Brighton?
With so many great Universities to choose from, for me it really came down to the city and the lifestyle. After spending so many years working hard in school, I wanted to choose somewhere I would really enjoy living and spending time. The University of Brighton is a good university and Brighton itself is a vibrant city that is very inclusive, has a beach, and is one of the sunniest places in the UK.

What’s your favourite thing about your course?
I really enjoy the flexibility of my course, meaning I can choose classes that really will interest me, and choose to not take classes that I wouldn’t enjoy or don’t find relevant to my future.

What’s your favourite part of Brighton (the city) and why?
For me, my favorite part of Brighton is an even toss-up between the beach and The Lanes.

The beach for me is one of my favorites because I come from a land-locked state, which means I only really see the ocean when my family goes on vacation. I love knowing that at any time I can catch a bus or ride my bike for a very short distance and go see the ocean.

My other favorite part of Brighton is The Lanes, which is an area in town with tons of restaurants, cafes and shops. It’s a great place to hang out with friends or even just wander around by yourself.

Why do you think living and learning abroad was the right choice for you?
Studying abroad was a great choice for me because I am very adventurous and love to learn about how life is in other places. I also am very independent and choosing to leave home and travel all the way out here was a great way for me to reaffirm this about myself. This experience is something that will definitely make an impact on my life going forward and how I relate to people from other countries.

What’s the main difference between studying in your home country and studying in Brighton?
I don’t think I could pick one main difference between studying in Brighton as opposed to back home, instead, there are so many smaller differences, such as a difference in pacing, a difference in foundational knowledge that was taught before university, and even a difference in how you achieve your grade, or mark, for the class.

Do you have any tips for students from your home country who are considering studying in Brighton or abroad generally?
I think a super important tip for students considering studying abroad is to ask for help. It can seem very daunting to travel to an entirely different country for University; between leaving where you feel most comfortable, having to apply for visas and all of the legal stuff, leaving your family and friends, etc. But when you are feeling lost or stuck or stressed out, there are people who can help you and want to help you and all you need to do is reach out.

I made the mistake of not reaching out and only after having the most stressful few months of my life and getting to Brighton did I realize that there were actually people who could have helped me and likely would have made everything go so much smoother because they know what they are doing and have done this before.

Studying abroad can feel like such an isolating experience, but it doesn’t have to. There are people who know what you are going through and all it takes to get some help is to reach out.

Stephanie Thomson • May 24, 2022


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