How Sebastian found life in Bristol as an international student.

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By Sebastian, MSc Sustainable Development in Practice.

UWE Bristol student, Sebastian, tells us of his experience as an international student living in Bristol. He shares the factors that influenced his decision to move to the UK, how he found Bristol, and the advice he’d give to other international students.

Why I chose to study in the UK

It’s always been a dream of mine to study for a master’s degree. And I wanted to do this in a high-quality country. I already had the language from my time living in Australia, and I thought that the UK would provide me with a high-quality education. So, it was a mix; and finding the mix I was looking for. I really wanted to be involved in a different culture – to learn from other people.

“Learning in a different language and the way you express yourself on paper is a challenge, and it’s something I’ve been very keen to improve on. The great thing is, I can see from the grades in my modules so far that I am improving which is great.

The teaching style is also different here, very student focus orientated. You’re responsible for coming to class having completed the pre-reading – with classes being an opportunity to expand on your knowledge and the concepts. You need to develop this knowledge – go to the class and have a deeper understanding of the concept. Here, most of my grades are from assessment at the end of the module. This is different to how you’re assessed in Columbia.

These were my main reasons to choose the UK, and of course also the excellent facilities that the UK/Bristol brings to students.

Why I chose to study at UWE Bristol

My course has really given me another perspective over sustainable development. England is one of the most developed countries in the world. Other countries learn from England and adapt for the future. Here, you get to see first-hand new technology and processes and how these are implemented.

I’ve found the teaching at UWE Bristol suits me well. It’s all about putting what I’ve learnt into practice and developing skills in the work field. It’s one of the reasons I chose to study here. I knew this course included practical assessment across all my modules, all of which include work-based learning. I think this will serve me well when I start to look for employment as I can use this knowledge and experience from my course.

I also like the focus UWE Bristol has on student life and connecting with others. In class we’re asked to sit with someone who isn’t from your home country. This has really helped as I’ve got to know my classmates and its’s made me be braver and interact with people I might not have before.

The benefits of UWE Bristol aren’t just the course, however. The city of Bristol is a fantastic base for international students. I found similarities from having lived in Melbourne and then coming to the UK to Bristol. They’re both spectacular cities. There are many synergies such as the vibrant graffiti – I’ve really enjoyed walking around Bristol and spotting all the Banksy artwork.

“Bristol is the perfect size. It has everything you need and is very compact. You can always find something to do, you’ll never get bored because there’s so much going on.

If you like music, Bristol is great for gigs, and there’s some great green spaces and parks. I like that the city isn’t big like London and Manchester. The public transport is good as well. Buses function as well as anywhere I’ve lived. Security is also important for me, and I’ve had no problem with not feeling safe.

Tips for other international students

Apply for a scholarship: Receiving the scholarship was the real decision maker for me in coming to UWE Bristol to do my master’s. I made the decision in the middle of the pandemic to really go for it and to come to the UK. It was a tough situation. I did think about postponing my travel. And the scholarship was a turning point that sort of made me decide to go for it. 

Accommodation: Choose the University accommodation (if you can) and apply for this as early as possible as it’s so competitive. And it’s not always straightforward to find private accommodation as an international student due to the requirements from the landlords.

Keep trying: My ambition of wanting more for myself, to make my family proud. This really is the motivating factor behind all the decisions and all my actions so far. And, although hard at times I know it will all pay off and be so worth it in the end.

Find out more about international study at UWE Bristol.

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