"I found it amazing living in an incredibly vast city like London where you are one solitary person - that is both a scary and an exciting thought, to be in charge of your own destiny and to make your own path."
- Andrew from New Zealand
Why did you decide to study in the UK?
Quite a few factors influenced my decision to study music in the UK. Firstly, I had heard that the standard of education was very high, and I was seeking a postgraduate course that would challenge me and that could increase my skills in certain areas. Secondly, I was interested in living in London, as it is a cultural hub with an incredible amount of concerts and events taking place every day. Thirdly, I was keen to move from my home in New Zealand and experience what it was like to live and work as a musician abroad.
What were the best parts of being an international student in the UK?
For me, the best part was life in the UK. I found it amazing living in an incredibly vast city like London where you are one solitary person - that is both a scary and an exciting thought, to be in charge of your own destiny and to make your own path. The UK in general is an incredible country full of opportunities.
Another amazing thing for me, being from so far away, was to have the possibility of travelling to many different countries with relative ease. I did a lot of travelling in the university holidays and after I had graduated.
How has studying abroad impacted your career?
My institution is considered one of the leading music conservatoires in its field, and to be a graduate from there has really helped me going forward. After graduating I received some commissions and opportunities which I feel were strongly based on being an alumni of the conservatoire, as well as what I had achieved while I was a student.
What was student life like in the UK?
I lived in the UK both as a student and later returning one year later to work as a freelancer. I enjoyed my student times a lot - there are a lot of student offers to events, and London itself is very student-orientated. There are so many universities who do shared events, my own conservatoire holding events with Imperial College, and it is a great way to get to know students who are studying in different fields. I also lived in a Hall of Residence which was all postgraduate students and they came from all walks of life. It was a great time and I made some lifelong friends.
Do you have any tips for international students to get involved in British university student life?
My suggestion would be to get out there and get involved - join a local club or society of your university, or get along to the orientation events. Another good way to meet people is to sign up to the Couchsurfing website and find your local city meet-up group - there are always daily events and you meet people who live in your city as well as those who are visiting - you can make friends with university students in other cities and visit them!