Choosing to pursue postgraduate study is a big decision. This, along with moving to another country, can be challenging but also extremely rewarding. I knew when I was applying that I wanted to get the most out of my time in York. Having gone through this myself, here are some ways I approached postgraduate study that helped me stress less and enjoy my time.
I really like the subject I am studying (MA History of Art) and saw value in its future use in my field, which has been my main motivator. I think that is an essential part to getting a Masters. Since I had that passion and motivation, I knew it would help me through any intellectual challenges I faced. When I was applying for postgraduate study, I knew I wanted to put in the work to get the degree. Going back to school isn’t something I took lightly, because of the price and time commitment. Knowing the benefits and having a forward thinking mindset will make the work more worthwhile and fulfilling. Thinking about my purpose before I came has helped me focus my energy into this big undertaking.
It also helps that everyone else doing a Masters also has similar motivations, making it easier to get to know the people on your course!
Take advantage of every opportunity
Basically – go to events! This is relevant to both your social and academic life. I made a big effort to go to lots of events when I first started. I met so many people and made many friends through networking and socialising. This is a big deal when you find yourself alone in a new country! I definitely am not a naturally extroverted person, but putting myself out there was worth it.
Participating in departmental events has been a really good way for me to get to know professors better and also hear academics in the field talk about their research. It helped me feel more part of the Department and even more interested in my studies.
Also; consider getting a job or volunteering. York has so many unique opportunities. I was very aware that having international experience on my resume would set me apart in the future, so I tried to apply for almost every position that came my way. Often my Department would send out these offers with the local museums and heritage sites. It also is a great way to get to know the community more as well.
Take a break from studying and enjoy life
As an international student, not only was this a time of intense study and preparing for the future, but an amazing opportunity to experience life in a different place. I love the city of York and it’s a great place to be a student. Making time for a social life is so important and York makes it really easy to go out. I love all the independent restaurants and cafes. Just being in the city centre surrounded by history is great. I’ve met so many interesting people while studying which matters just as much as all the fancy books I’ve read. Even though I feel like I should be working all the time, taking time off prevents you from burning out and has allowed me to get to know the city better. Plus, in such a historic city, just walking outside provides just as much history as reading! Taking a break from the academic life is so important both mentally and intellectually.
Postgraduate study can be very difficult and being far from home is hard. But taking advantage of this opportunity can be incredibly rewarding!
Read more blogs about postgraduate taught study.