The task of choosing a university is one of the first major life decisions you make as a young adult. However, like other international students, I was also choosing to move countries.
Although I found no shortage of advice on the Internet, I couldn’t find any tailored for international students given by international students themselves. Personally, I was more concerned with whether I could catch a direct flight to my home country than the nightlife.
So keep reading to find out why I chose The University of Manchester and some things you might want to consider before choosing your university!
My home country of Singapore is incredibly diverse, both racially and by nationality. I had also graduated from an international school. When looking for a university, I knew the diversity ratio was a very important factor in my choice.
The University of Manchester was very upfront about their diversity ratios and information is easy accessible via Google. 11,000 students at the University are international students and represent over 160 countries! This equals roughly 40% of the total student body. I didn’t want to be the only student feeling like a stranger in a new country and knowing that I wouldn’t be was a great source of comfort to me. The University is committed to being “an accessible organisation, committed to advancing equality and diversity” and consistently sets new targets for inclusion. For example, a target for next year is to increase the number of BAME (Black and Ethnic Minority) female teachers.
As much as I’ve grown the love both the University and the city, I wouldn’t have chosen to study here had it not been easy to go home! This is why I knew that my future university would need to have be in a city with an international airport. Manchester Airport is extremely well connected, having flights to over 199 destinations. The airport ranks 13th in the world for total destinations reached. The airport itself is also easily reachable via public transport whether it be bus, tram or train. I knew getting home would not be a problem in the slightest.
When applying for university, like most international students, I spent time caught up in league tables. I now realise that choosing the course that is the best match for you as an individual will help you to succeed more than a ranking will. However, I also wanted a university that was on the forefront of research and progress as well as having a rich history. The University of Manchester is a Russell Group university, this means it’s committed to providing the best possible standards of teaching and is internationally acclaimed.
We have 25 Nobel Prize winners amongst our current and former staff. This isn’t surprising given that, in 2018, 83% of the research carried out in the University was judged to be ‘world leading’. The University is constantly innovating; in 2010, Kostya Novoselov and Andre Geim won a Nobel Prize for the discovery of graphene. The University has a multitude of institutions that carry out more academic focused research as well as teaching. An example is the Cancer Research Centre, it’s associated with The Christie Hospital that treats over 40,000 patients a year in Europe.
A unique opportunity available here at the University is Stellify. The word itself means ‘to be changed into a star’. As our world becomes increasingly globalised, being able to connect and work with people from various cultures, backgrounds and perspectives is even more important. The Stellify program does this through the Stellify award, optional course units from the University College for Interdisciplinary Learning and by hundreds of volunteering activities that can cater to everyone’s schedule.
Moving away from home is never easy. Moving to a country where you aren’t being taught in your first language isn’t easy. That’s why choosing a university that is accommodating of international students is the best decision you can make. I’m very happy with mine and I hope my advice either helps you make a choice or reinforce the choice you’ve made!