What it’s Really Like to be an International Medical Student in the UK
Ever wondered what it’s like to study in the UK as an international student? University of Central Lancashire MBBS student Serena Patel tells us about her experience after relocating from Boston, USA to Preston, a small, friendly city in the North West of England.
How did your university help with your decision to study abroad?
It is daunting moving so far away from home. The decision to study abroad was not one that my family nor I took lightly. It is life changing. However, UCLan has so many ways in which they care for all of their students, but particularly their international students.
One thing that was so appealing to me about UCLan was how much thought they put into the arrival of their international students. This included things like airport transfers, help with visas and background checks as well as welcoming events and dinners for students and their families.
Additionally, they were happy to call me back on the phone instead of just e-mail; this really personalised my experience with UCLan – just knowing that they cared enough to take the time to speak to me and answer any questions I had.
What is studying at UCLan like for an international student?
UCLan has a large international population and is located in just the right area. Preston itself is a multicultural city and the student population only adds to that. We have a variety of ethnic food stores, cultural events, and religious establishments.
The UK on a whole was appealing for me to study in because of the diversity that exists across the country. It is in the culture of the UK to recognise, accept and learn about different cultures and religions. UCLan is certainly no exception to this.
The culture at UCLan encourages and celebrates their student’s differences by holding events such as international evenings, or various clubs and societies centred on culture and religion. This immediately gives international students, like me, an opportunity to create a home away from home.
Was it difficult to settle into studying abroad?
Living at home versus living abroad is certainly a learning curve. However, moving into a university that is so far away from home gives you a chance to immerse yourself into a completely different life that you are able to build yourself.
You get the chance to explore a new place, build new friendships and work on becoming a future professional in your choice of field. I would not take back my decision to study far from home or at UCLan at all.
If anything, I have seen such progress and growth within myself these last 2.5 years than I have over my entire life. I know that once I leave UCLan, I will be a much stronger, competent and qualified individual.