From Fears to Opportunities: Studying Master’s Course as an International Student

by | Dec 7, 2023 | Geography and Global Development, Postgraduate | 0 comments

When I read stories of others who had studied their master’s program abroad, I was always stirred to follow suit and experience this life-changing endeavour. I am now a living embodiment of my dreams, studying Master’s in Global Development at the monumental University of Manchester. If studying masters as an international student is your dream, keep reading as I enlighten the benefits and key steps to take to realize your dreams.

Benefits of pursuing Masters degree abroad

Personal and professional growth

Few months into my master’s program, I can already testify to the enormous personal and professional growth I have experienced. Personally, my academic deliverables and the unlimited opportunities, both soft and tangible skills have empowered and hyped my confidence for advanced personal and professional development. Having attended several campus career fairs and webinars on career development offered through the university and students union has expounded my professional prospects.

Networking and exposure

Developing both social and professional network is a powerful success strategy. I have been exposing myself to meaningful interactions which have propelled me into learning from a diverse group of scholars. I participate in academic discussions and social interactions where I get enlightened on various topics with global viewpoints. My circle is now diverse with connections from around the globe, widening international relations to boost my career possibilities. In addition, being a member of One World Together, allows me not to feel the hiatus from professional conversations engaging in volunteering.

How can one prepare

Start early

Studying master’s as an international student has always been my dream. Having failed to secure funding for about five years, diffidence trickled in. However, I did not compromise on preparation to keep trying every year. If studying master’s abroad is your goal in 2024, you better start now. This is the time to organise all required documents, including your bachelor’s degree, transcripts and references. Finding a resonating course can also be a daunting task, however, The University of Manchester makes this easier through the masters courses page where you can browse course structure, required documents and application timelines. Another key document is your personal statement, where you tell your story—highlighting your experiences, goals and career aspirations. Last but not least, invest in a valid language proficiency certificate, preferably IELTS.

Apply early

Demand for some master’s programs is quite high as such universities can only admit a certain number of students. You cannot afford to miss out on your most preferred course because of procrastination. Cross-check that the application form is completely filled with all required attachments. Lastly, inform and request your referees beforehand.

Financing your study

As an international student, there are several options to secure finances for your studies in addition to self-funding. The University of Manchester offers several competitive funding programs at master’s level which normally require a separate application. My dream to study master’s abroad has been fulfilled through the prestigious Equity and Merit Scholarship, offered by the university. In addition, there are also program-specific partial scholarships, discounts and loans that admitted students can qualify for.

Starting your masters

Ensuring you have a valid passport and visa shouldn’t be undermined. Meeting immigration requirements can be another hurdle, but with meticulous preparation and planning, it’s stress-free. Confirm your accommodation early, reach out to admission office or current students for any unclear issues. In my preparation, I enquired about weather and balancing studies.

Navigating life on campus

The dream has come true, and new challenges have set in. The need to balance studies, possibly part-time work and exploring the city can be overwhelming. Having a clear timetable coupled with real-time updates has helped me thrive. The University of Manchester offers numerous student support services, which I have utilised in various ways. From writing better essays, manoeuvring the library system even registering with GP the university has been very supportive.

Written by Noriah, current MSc Global Development (Development Management) student at The University of Manchester