Taanvi, Tanya, and Apeksha told us about their study abroad experience, and why they chose Canada, the UK, and the USA respectively. Here’s what they had to say:
What did you study when you went abroad? Where did you study?
Taanvi (Canada): I studied digital enterprise management at the University of Toronto (HBA degree).
Tanya (UK): I did my bachelors and Masters abroad. I studied BSc in Sociology with Criminology and Msc in Innovation management and Entrepreneurship.
Apeksha (USA): I did my Bachelor’s in Biology and English at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
When did you first consider studying abroad as an option?
Taanvi: I thought of going abroad for most of my education, but more specifically when I was in the 11th grade when I was enrolled in the IB program.
Tanya: Honestly, when I was in the 10th grade I applied for a foundation course for photography at the University of Arts London. So that’s when it grew upon me that I wanted to study abroad.
Apeksha: I grew up in the USA, so going back felt intuitive. I also had lots of friends and family members who had already pursued their higher education there, and from what they told me, it seemed in line with what I expected out of a college experience.
What made you finally decide?
Taanvi: I went to an international school and always knew I’d want to study abroad, so it wasn’t one definite moment in which I decided to go abroad. It was just years of grooming to either go to the US, UK or Canada for undergrad.
Tanya: I decided in the 11th grade that I’m going to go to Middlesex University.
Apeksha: I liked the fact that I didn’t have to commit to a field if I went to the USA, and I knew more about the culture, programs, and weather. I also had family nearby, which was really important to me.
What aspects of your experience do you think really defined your experience studying abroad?
Taanvi: I think the entire experience as a whole was life changing, and to pinpoint one aspect would be unfair. But living off campus definitely helped me become more independent. Living outside the dorms and university housing forced me to manage my time better. I was completely in charge of every decision I made whether it was attending class or getting involved with other extracurricular activities on campus.
Tanya: I met two different kinds of people, both with different aims in life. One who came from family money and the other literally on every sort of loan out there possible. This really helped me figure out where I want to be, financially independent.
Apeksha: The independence, the opportunity to work and do research, and the general energy of a US college really made an impact on me. I was able to explore so much beyond what I thought my interests were, and my education was just as much about what I was learning as it was about how I was learning.
What is it like applying to study where you went?
Taanvi: It was a really easy process applying to Canada. The university of Toronto has 3 different campus and we selected our order of preference and submitted it all through an online portal.
Tanya: The application was simple. I went through a college counsellor in India.
Apeksha: I took the necessary standardized tests (SAT, SAT subject tests, and ACT), and applied through the common app. There were lots of essays to write, but the process itself wasn’t too difficult. I did learn, however, that you have to pay to apply to each of the schools you’re interested in – so I think that’s important to remember, unless you get the application fee waived.
Do you have any advice for students considering going abroad in the future?
Taanvi: Always look into the university you’re applying to completely. Research everything about it including their class sizes, campus life, alumni connections, etc. Before committing to any place for 4 (or more) years make sure you resonate with all their values and the culture of the institution.
Tanya: Honestly, don’t let peer pressure decide your future. Just because your friends are going abroad to study doesn’t mean you follow as well. I’ve seen a lot of this happen within my friend’s circle.
Apeksha: Look into programs more than institutions and keep location in mind. Some schools are literally in the middle of nowhere, and some are so huge that you don’t know most of your class. Consider what is important to you, and where you want to try and get out of your comfort zone. I would also try and talk to alumni and look into interesting professors. If you’re like me and not sure what you’re interested in, see how much you can explore your interests at the institution you’re looking into.
Overall thoughts? Concluding remarks?
Taanvi: Don’t skip lectures. It will be tempting but go to your classes and get your money’s worth!
Tanya: Go with an open mind. Don’t be stuck with your own. Network with everyone.
Apeksha: Remember that it’s you that’s going to college, so make sure you are happy with your choice. Also, prestige isn’t everything – there are so many incredible schools out there, and you don’t have to be in a top 10 school to get an amazing education.