Alia’s insights into studying at Middlesex University
Why did you decide to come and study in the UK?
Initially, in 2012, I decided to come to the UK to learn English, both because my sister was already living in London and because I had just finished high school and was still unsure on what to study at university.
During my English course, I had the opportunity to find out more about the British lifestyle. London provides a truly multicultural environment (thanks to its large student population) and here I came into contact with people from all over the world and their many different cultures.
During the time that I spent in London attending my English course, I decided to begin my studies in business management at Middlesex University because of their reputation and accreditation system. The course covers everything I think I will need in my professional life. It gives excellent preparation for working in business and prepares you for many different careers. Moreover, studying in English, the main business language worldwide, will be a big advantage if I want to work internationally.
What surprised you about the UK when you first came here?
The architecture is very different (old fashion and beautiful), as is the public transport system (subways, trains, ferries) – all of this felt really new to me! In Colombia, we don’t have the facility to travel easily to other countries – it is expensive and the journey would take many hours. It’s great that is so cheap and quick to travel from the UK to another country in Europe.
What do you wish you had known?
I wish I had studied English harder before I arrived.
What are the challenges of studying in the UK?
The challenges for new comers are many. For me it was mainly the culture shock: it wasn’t easy to make British friends and at times it can still be very difficult.
I struggled with the experience of learning a new culture, with how to write in English and how to adapt to the English weather (it still feels really cold!)
What do you like about studying here?
Being able to study and work at the same time: indeed there are many openings if you want to work part time during your studies.
There are also many things to do in your free time, such as going to the Theatre, opera and some more.
I really enjoy walking by the river (beautiful views), and I like that London is clean, safe and it has good transport.
What advice would you give to anyone about to start studying in the UK, from overseas?
Studying abroad especially in the UK is a great opportunity to meet new people with different backgrounds and learn from them, create a new network of relations, and more generally, try new things.
I’ve found that being proactive is one of the most important thing: if you need help ask for it, do not be intimated if you make mistakes.
I am very sure that this experience will help students to enhance their interpersonal relations, a crucial aspect in one’s personal and professional life.