Being an international student – is it even worth it?

I was born in Poland, but since junior high school, my goal has been to study in a foreign country. It was not a dream, but rather an idea. Britain was an obvious destination because of the language, high level of higher education and cheap flights from Poland. Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) covered all the tuition fees at the time, so I ended up applying to the University of Glasgow. I enrolled to the integrated master’s degree program, which is a 5 years course.

At first I struggled with a lot of things which I had not thought could cause any problems at all. I found difficult to understand the Glaswegian accent, sometimes I still do. It often happens when talking to a bus driver or a post man, though understanding the lectures is not that much of a concern fortunately. Finding a flat to rent in Glasgow is quite a challenging task, especially a flat which is close to the Uni. Most buildings in Glasgow are not higher than 5 floors and a population density is fairly low comparing to other major cities. Because of that, it seems like there is not enough flats to satisfy the needs of all students. I would recommend to have at least 3 weeks up to a month just to find a flat.

Now, the upsides. I am very happy with the quality of teaching at the Glasgow Uni. The lecturers are experts in their fields. They have excellent attitude towards teaching and they do their best to clearly explain every topic and to thoroughly cover all the important bits. Thanks to all this I saw that computing science is not only useful, but beautiful and interesting, especially algorithmics. I also like the fact that it is always specified which parts are examinable and which are not.

I have to admit that studying and living in a foreign country is a great experience and it is a brilliant preparation for adulthood. Of course sometimes it is hard to stay positive when you miss friends, family and home in general, especially 5 years course is not for the faint-hearted, but all in all I would say that the whole experience is definitely worth it. In the end you might find that skills and an attitude you learned and a thick skin you developed in the process are more valuable than the degree itself.