Higher Education Abroad in the UK – Indian Student’s Perspective

What life experience have you gained within your studies?

I did my Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Calicut. Ended up with a distinction when I completed my course!

Coming from the UAE, where you are in the care and comfort of your parents, it took time to adjust to a whole new world in India. It was difficult to cope with the food, people and life in general. Being a premier institute in India the best students from India came in to study here, hence it was really competitive during the course as well. But slowly and steadily, I was able to blend in to it and it was easy from thereon. I would say the best experience that I could gain from there would be the ability to deal with different kind of people and doing things on your own. Be it washing your clothes, opening your bank account, do your small purchases, sharing your room with students from different backgrounds, these were things which I hadn’t experienced before and as a result have helped me to develop as an individual.

Describe a situation where you were put under pressure?

I feel it should be first few days in college. I was scared, it was the first time staying out of home in Dubai. Also, coming to college sitting with students who were brilliant and pressure to perform was there. Being an NRI, the professors had this look on their faces that we all were spoilt and always expected the worst from us. I wanted to prove a point to them, and then came the First semester exams. I was determined to do well, and had focused hard enough to get the results that I had wanted to prove them wrong. The hard work did pay off!

What were your strengths?

Dealing with people, problem solving/conflict resolution, focus on work

What were your weaknesses?

Hasty at times, procrastination

What was the difference between studying in Manchester and India?

Well, I would say the biggest difference would be the way in which the things are taught and classes delivered. In India, I would say that most of the things are spoon fed. There are a set of text books that you need to refer, and the professors would point out the sections you need to refer. But in Manchester, the situation is completely different, you are expected to know the things before hand, and you require a fair amount of background reading before you come for the lecture. In Manchester what you get from the classes is just 20 percent knowledge, i.e., they are only to guide you in finding more information on this particular subject. We then need to go back to the library or the internet to gather more information on it. I would say this method of teaching is the best, as we need to apply ourselves to get the things that we want. It’s not simply mugging up things which I feel is flaw in the Indian education system.

Talking about living in Manchester, it is a completely different experience. My class had students from over 100 countries, hence it was brilliant to be in a class of such diversity. During assignment and projects we had to work in groups, and this has helped in developing communication and also allowing us to understand each other’s experiences and knowledge.

I had opted for the On-campus accommodation, hence, I was sharing a flat with students from different countries. If you ask me how it is different from India, well a lot I had learned to cook over my stay in the UK, and I was sharing the kitchen with my flat mates. It was tough as their cuisine is totally different and to get adjusted to the food that they prepare and its smell was a challenge! Nonetheless, it was an experience that have helped me to grow personally and adding value to me.

Where would you prefer studying Manchester or India, and why?

I feel you need to experience both. I would say the studying part was a challenge in Manchester, but living in Manchester was not so difficult. In India, it was a challenge to do things on your own, and not be gullible.

Tell me an achievement you are proud of.

It has to be in Manchester. As I had mentioned earlier, my class had students from over 100 countries. So we had our coursework submission for one of the subjects and had to prepare an investigative type report on a topic. My report was selected as one of the top 3, and displayed on the big screen as my professor was explaining “this is what I’m looking for and how it should be done” 🙂 Very proud of it.

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