How Getting a Degree in the UK Changed My Life


by Madeleine Hagan

Choosing to get my entire degree in Portsmouth changed my life in a way that choosing just a semester or even just a year never could. A UK degree not only means a standard of education that I think will help me with my career, but so much more outside of just pure academics. Here are my key reasons on why my degree has changed my life for the better:

  1. Friends from around the world

Since I knew I was going to stay in the country for three years, I had time to invest in friendships for much longer than just a semester. Three years is more time to get to know the people in your friendship groups, and so many of the friends I have made in the past three years I know I will be keeping in touch with for the rest of my life. Plus, I can brag to my friends back home that I have friends all the way on the other side of the world.

  1. Travel experience back and forth

Fortunately I have been able to go home three times a year since starting my degree. That’s a 21 hour journey from door-to-door, there and back. Because of this, I have tons of travel experience and know loads of tips and tricks when it comes to that particular journey. Whether that be researching to find the cheapest flights, sorting out coach (bus) and train tickets in advance, knowing what time to book a red-eye flight, and knowing the best place to get a chicken sandwich in London Heathrow Airport, it was only completing this journey so many times that gave such valuable experience.

Learning how to handle International Travel well is a great skill to have in the ever more global world

  1. Less of a tourist and more of a home away from home

It’s difficult to adjust to a new country and city on the other side of the world when you know you are going to leave relatively soon. Three years in Portsmouth specifically has helped the city feel like a home away from home, which in turn allowed me to give in my degree my best efforts. Only a semester or a year would not have given me as much time to adjust.


  1. Good on a resume

A degree overseas stands out on a resume. It shows an adventurous and bold spirit plus commitment and hard word to back it up. And while others might have a semester abroad as part of their degree experience, you could have an entire three years of a degree, travel, and work experience across the ocean. One more thing to stand out in a crowd of other resumes right?


  1. Expand your Cultural Awareness

Studying for a degree in the UK as an International Student can be really rewarding in terms of expanding your cultural awareness. Most modern Universities have a thriving student community comprised of dozens of different cultures and nationalities. I know so much more now about loads of different cultures and nationalities.


  1. Learning English quicker and in more depth

Being immersed in UK culture and English language allows International students like myself to develop their language skills quicker and more fully. Now I have the advantage that I already come from an English speaking country but that said, it’s great to be able to understand UK slang and really communicate with people in a comfortable way.

Immersing yourself amongst fluent English speakers is a fantastic way to really pick up the intricacies of the language.


  1. Proximity to Europe and other countries

Three years in Portsmouth has also been amazing because of the location of the city on the channel. This way I could plan time off exploring castles and countryside in England and spring breaks in Italy (something I never would have gotten to say if I went to college back home). Because of this I get to come home with stories about flying over the Alps, cycling around Lake Garda in Italy, exploring Windsor castle, having tea in London, and so much more. Only choosing to get my degree in the UK gave me those opportunities and I 100% recommend it.