My study abroad experience began with looking for accommodation. In recent years, a shortage of housing is said to be an important social issues for London’s citizens. This is also a problem for overseas students. My university is one of the largest universities in the United Kingdom, with over 30,000 students. Although many of the overseas students there apply for university residence before arriving in London, they tend not to find places that meet their requests regarding costs because of recent raising rents in the city. I was one of them, so I decided to find private accommodation. I searched for the best one that would meet my requirements such as cost, location, size of the room and so on by looking into social media and the web sites of real estate agents. I found an affordable flat that was relatively close to my university, in which I lived with five to seven people, including the landlord. As the flat was very calm and the landlord took care of keeping it clean, I was able to focus on my studies.
My course was divided into three terms. In the first term, I had to read a lot of materials ranging from academic articles to business reports for all of the modules I took every week. During the term, non-native students are encouraged to acquire good reading skills to identify what is the author’s argument in the texts. This skill I gained really helped me to conduct my course work, for which I wrote three essays, each of which had 2,500-3,000 words, for three weeks from the middle of December to the first of January. Due to the demanding course work at the end of the year, I could not enjoy the Christmas and New Year season so much. Looking back at it now, the experience helped me to write my dissertation in the last term, so I’m pleased.
In the second term, I was engaged in project work, in which I cooperated with three to six classmates and conducted a report project and a presentation. My team discussed what strategy was the best for the project by conducting a SWOT analysis and how to show our ideas for other stakeholders. I researched a lot of articles and books to apply the case study and ideas into our project. I felt that I enjoyed the research but I was struggling with the presentation. I understood that I was not good at improvising, so I made a script and tried to memorise it as much as possible. I spent a long time working on my confidence to help me with my speaking in front of others. However, I did my presentation without the scripts, so I was very satisfied with it.
In the last term, I worked on my dissertation. I spent one and a half month researching, one month analysing data with software and one month writing about 10,000 words. In the report, I had to show all of what I had learned during my studies by researching properly and reading efficiently, and then writing in academic style. It was such hard work to write, discuss with my supervisor and revise again and again. Finally, when I completed it, I felt really relieved and at the same time found something new in my study area.
As a result of all this, I broadened my knowledge of my interests and recognised what I wanted to do, and the most important thing is that I could study with people from all over the world. I would say thank you to my classmates and teachers in London.
By Yohei Ohashi, London 2019
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