From the U.S.A to the U.K: Tips from Josefina
My name is Josefina Vega and I am from California, USA currently studying an MA in International Education (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) at the University of Manchester.
During my undergraduate, I had the opportunity to study abroad for an academic year at the University of Manchester! I chose to study in Manchester because I liked the idea of studying in a major city with easy access to public transit so I could travel. Apart from knowing where it was generally located, I had honestly not done enough research of what life would be like in Manchester. During that year, I fell in love with the energy of the city and everything it had to offer. It became very obvious why the city and university’s mascot is a bee. Manchester has a rich history of hard workers and high energy just like worker bees! I like to think I am like that, which is why I related so much to the city. The great thing about Manchester was that, even though I did not have a lot of money to travel, I never felt like I was missing out! The city is so diverse and there is always something new happening. As my year was ending, I did not want to leave.
After finishing my undergrad, I worked for a study abroad provider, helping students across the United States make their dreams of studying abroad a reality. It was incredibly fulfilling to see students’ excitement about the adventures they will soon encounter. However, being a first-generation, low income, Latina during university, I knew the study abroad experience is not always easy or accessible for everyone. Knowing the barriers, I overcame and seeing other students across the US face the same ones, I wanted to join the conversation of professionals working to make the experience accessible for everyone. With this professional goal and my personal desire to get back abroad, I thought of pursing my masters. Fortunately, the University of Manchester offered the perfect program that would allow me to accomplish both! So far, my master’s program has reframed my perspective on the experiences of international students and ways of creating equity in and through education. Just like my first experience studying at the University of Manchester, my outlook of what my future career could look like has been expanded and I am excited to see what more opportunities I pursue because of it.
For any students coming to study from the US, I recommend you really get to know Manchester as your home. Join clubs on campus, make friends with locals and with other international students on your program. Find your favorite restaurant, coffee shop, pub, and park. All those little things will make the city feel like home when you feel homesick. And ultimately, do not be afraid to ask for support! The University of Manchester is filled with so many people who care about making your experience a great one, so you should take advantage of it.
Written by Josefina Vega