Janine Tillett is currently pursuing her Masters in Computer Systems and Sciences at Stockholm University. She found and enroled to her studies via StudyPortals. We asked Janine about her experience of searching and applying to the university abroad.
Tell us a bit about yourself: What is your name? How old are you? Where are you from?
My name is Janine Tillett. I am 22 years old. I am from Belize.
Where are you studying now? What university and programme are you enroled in? What degree are you pursuing and how long is your programme?
I am studying in Sweden at Stockholm University. Currently, I am enroled in the Masters in Computer Systems and Sciences. This programme is 2 years long.
Why did you want to study abroad?
I wanted to study abroad to gain international experience. I also wanted to pursue a higher education and to have an adventure somewhere extraordinary.
Searching for study options
How did you find your study programme? Why did you choose this particular university?
I found my study programme on StudyPortals. I chose Stockholm University because it was ranked highly and the Computer Systems and Sciences Department is one of the best. StudyPortals assisted in finding the right programme for me and allowed me to narrow down the top programmes I had applied to.
Did you know about that university and/or programme before seeing it on StudyPortals?
No, I did not know about the university or programme before seeing it on StudyPortals.
On what stage of application were you using StudyPortals?
I used StudyPortals to select the three programmes that suited my interest. I also researched about the university a bit more in depth. StudyPortals provided all relevant information, so I did not miss anything.
Deciding for a university
What were your main priorities when choosing your university and your programme (e.g. academics, accommodation, university services & facilities, personal & professional development, city & culture, cost & funding, practicalities, social life)?
My main priorities for choosing Stockholm University and its programme were: academics, cost & funding, as well as personal & professional development.
Was it your first study choice? What other universities did you consider? What was the main reason for your final choice?
Stockholm University was my first choice. I also considered Lulea University of Technology as well as the Eindhoven University of Technology. The main reason for my final choice was the academics. Stockholm University was ranked higher than my other choices.
Did you already know from the start that you wanted to study in that particular country and city? Why did you choose this particular location?
In the beginning, I was unsure which country or city I wanted to study in. I chose this particular location because it is extremely rare for Belizeans to ever visit much less study in Stockholm, Sweden. I believed it would be quite a rare opportunity.
Did you take a language test (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS) when applying for the programme? If yes, which one did you choose, why and how was your experience with it?
Yes, for my programme I had to take the TOEFL language test. My experience with the test was quite enjoyable. However, travelling to take the test was quite arduous, because there were no test centres in Belize that offered the electronic format of the test required by the programme. So, I had to travel from Belmopan, Belize to Merida, Mexico by bus, which was the nearest test centre.
What would be your advice for students from your country that consider studying abroad?
My advice for students from my country is to use StudyPortals to decide what their viable options are. Research the university as well as the programme thoroughly. Decide which programmes you would like to apply for. Apply in advance before the deadline, because mailing may take 2-3 weeks.
How did you finance your stay abroad and what financial advice would you give to future students?
To finance my stay abroad, I had to take out a loan for living expenses. I was awarded the Stockholm University Scholarship, so my tuition fees were waived. My financial advice to future students is always to seek out scholarships as well as be aware of all study costs. Make sure you have the right budget for it.
Why would you (not) recommend this particular city / university? How would you rate your experience on a scale from zero to ten (0 It was a total disaster, 10 I had the time of my life)?
I would recommend Stockholm University to anyone. On a scale of 1-10, 10 meaning I had the time of my life, I would give it a 10. It is truly a remarkable experience.
Is there anything that you would do differently if you could do it all over again?
I would have applied to the Eindhoven University of Technology as well. This would have left me with an option between Sweden and the Netherlands. I would have also liked to have applied earlier for the programmes and the scholarships.
What was the biggest surprise in your study abroad adventure?
My biggest surprise was the efficiency of the transportation system. We dont have trains or subways in Belize. Buses are usually 15 minutes late. Here in Sweden, everything runs quite smoothly.