Rebecca is currently pursuing her Masters degree in International Journalism for Media Professionals at Edinburgh Napier University. She found the programme and enrolled via StudyPortals. We asked Rebecca about her experience of searching and applying to a university abroad.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What is your name? How old are you? Where are you from?
My name is Rebecca Lee Robinson and I am 24 years old. I grew up in Florissant, Colorado which is basically a bunch of houses in the woods around the Pikes Peak region of Colorado. When I am not doing school work Im photographing my travels, or selling books at Old Firehouse Books in Fort Collins, Colorado!
Where are/were you studying and what programme? What degree and how long is your programme?
I am currently wrapping up my M.A. in International Journalism through Edinburgh Napier University. It was a 1-year course and I am currently working on my dissertation. The great part is that the whole programme was online and that allowed me a lot of freedom to travel and work from Fort Collins, Colorado which I call home.
I also did a study abroad session in my undergrad at Santa Reparata International School of Art in Florence, Italy in the summer of 2013, where I studied Italian History and Italian Fashion.
Both experiences have been amazing!
Why did you want to study abroad?Before I started college I backpacked through the British Isles, Germany, and France and I absolutely fell in love with adventure and travel. Therefore, both study abroad sessions were a chance for me to experience more of that. For the M.A., some of it was the freedom to travel, but also the cost and quality of education versus programs near where I live. Overall, it was just a better bang for my buck and what I wanted out of life.
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)?
So many things played into my choice to go abroad. Perhaps first it was money and the cost of the programme along with what my living conditions would look like. In Italy, t was the comfort of a small apartment in the middle of the city and in Scotland, it was a chance to travel some but also get to stay at home when I wanted to.
Also, quality of education was important; I looked at listings and reviews to make sure I would get my moneys worth. The best part is that each experience has been better than I even imagined possible.
Was this your first study choice? What other universities did you consider? What was the main reason of your final choice?
I chose Napier for the quality, length, and flexibility of the program. While programs existed in journalism at my alma mater, they didnt have the global focus I wanted. Napier was my first choice and my final choice and Im really happy I picked them.
Did you know from the start that you wanted to study in that particular country and city? Why did you choose for this particular location?
I chose somewhere in the British Isles for the ease of the language and also a reputation of good journalism education. I was maybe going to go for History but chose journalism after many conversations and restless nights. I am so glad I did, because it is opening up many more doorways than I knew it could. Edinburgh itself is world renowned for its education and is a city and culture I fall in love with every time I visit. I love the people, I love the knowledge, it just gets me excited knowing how many people have walked those streets, made discoveries etc. Even John Napier, the man the school is named after, influenced the common use of decimal points. How cool is that? The place he was born is even part of the campus buildings!
How did StudyPortals help you in your decision process?
GREAT information and listings! You allowed me the ease of not only finding courses I was interested in, but also giving me contact information and much more.
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?
What would be your advice for students from your country that consider to study abroad?
DO IT! You wont regret it. It will challenge you in beautiful ways, make you more worldly and compassionate. Give you stories to share at parties. Sharpen your communication skills and so much more. Its worth every last cent!
How did you finance your stay abroad and what financial advice would you give to future students?
If you can plan ahead and save, do that. Or there are loans available. For the M.A. I did Sally Mae, but if I was living in Edinburgh and on campus I could have got Gov. Loans. It just depends what you want. I couldnt live in Edinburgh for a year due to family stuff, but I think it worked out just fine. I would love to live in Scotland in the future, and I plan to one day. Even if I just retire there.
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)?
Can I rate it a 15? No? okay 10.
Is there anything that you would do differently if you could do it over again?
I would maybe go part-time, but that was some personal stuff that came up. Honestly every teacher has been very understanding and I could not ask for better treatment.
What was the biggest surprise in your study abroad adventure?
How much I learned about a city I had already lived in for a month. Another three weeks there really changed my perspective permanently and I cant wait to go back for another adventure!