My decision to go to Oxford for studying was primarily influenced by the presence of the university in the city. It offers a mix of busy city-life that one might expect from a big capital city, and peace that one might expect from the countryside. The architecture of the university gives a glimpse into history and a river running through my college allowed us to go punting at any time in the summer!
After taking my IELTS, I joined the university to pursue a course in M.Sc. in Psychological Research, with the aim of strengthening my research skills and gaining experience in conducting psychological and neuroscience studies. My target is to use this knowledge to further apply for a Ph.D. programme to start an academic career.
The best thing about Oxford University is that there is something to learn everywhere — be it in the laboratory and lectures or during formal dinners with college mates, or over a coffee break with your supervisor, or even at a restaurant in a large group with friends of friends. There are interesting conversations to take part in and never-ending opportunities to learn new things about different fields of study, cultures, life experiences and perspectives.
I strongly feel that the approach to education is very different abroad. It is not that India has a dearth of good teachers or students, but the system of education in most schools and colleges in India are not up to date. Abroad, there is more emphasis on forming your own opinions on the study matter and learning how to defend them; students become resourceful learners and independent thinkers rather than students who merely memorise and reproduce what the books say.
The biggest advantage of staying abroad is the experience of living alone, away from the comfort of your own home. Many people take this for granted and find it very difficult to move out and make that transition, which is why this might be a challenge. Personally, I find myself becoming a lot more independent when I live abroad, from managing big financial decisions to taking care of small things like grocery shopping and doing laundry. A big difficulty I faced was in terms of missing my family and friends back home, but I kept in regular touch with them and it got easier after a while. I think the things I miss most is the Indian food and its flavours, and hearing the cacophony of Indian cities