From Bombay to Aberdeen

I walked into the office of an educational consultant in Mumbai in June 2016, to enquire about the possibility of studying in Europe for my Master’s degree. I was not too hopeful, as at this point I had already appeared for the GRE and TOEFL, and had not met with much success while applying to universities in the US. While I waited in their office, I thought about having to appear for IELTS, and spending more money towards the application process. I considered the idea of having nothing to do till December, because I felt there was no way I could apply for the September intake in June.

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My meeting with the consultant lasted barely 15 minutes, during which I was provided with a lot of information about studying in the UK. The postgraduate courses offered in the UK lasts for one year, as opposed to other countries that offer a degree in two years. Most colleges only require good grades in your undergraduate degree, and a good IELTS score. Having read and studied so much about North Sea oil over the course of my undergraduate degree, I was presented with the possibility of studying in Aberdeen — the oil and gas hub of Europe. I was amazed at the speed at which the whole application process took place, because I started receiving acceptance letters in three weeks. And so by July 2016, I knew I was headed to Robert Gordon University (RGU) in Aberdeen, Scotland to pursue my MSc in Petroleum Production Engineering.

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The time between accepting the offer from RGU till I reached Scotland went in a haze. While the Indian education system kept me waiting for my degree certificate till the very last minute, all other formalities took place very smoothly. By mid-September, I was at the airport with my parents and friends, ready to leave for the UK, knowing it will be a long time before I saw them again. With a five hour wait at Frankfurt for my connecting flight, I finally landed in the Granite City. RGU had their ‘Meet and Greet’ desk at the Aberdeen airport where the volunteer was kind enough to provide me with some instructions about spending my first few days here. I did not have to wait long, as RGU’s vehicle was there to offer me a lift from the airport to my accommodation.

On the drive to my new home, I saw how the buildings were smaller, and beautiful houses built of stone, and many trees along the road. Interestingly, my flat was located in a six-storeyed building, which is pretty tall in comparison to most buildings in Aberdeen. Choosing to stay at the Garthdee Towers happened to be my best decision, for the view outside my window was breathtaking.

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I spent the next few hours unpacking, and calling family and friends to tell them I had reached safely. I could barely contain my excitement to go to my new university the next day for the induction week. The induction week provided us with all the information about the facilities at our disposal at RGU, including the IT services which deserves another post itself. The Freshers’ Fayre also supplied us with enough stationery to last the entire academic year. I was amazed at the vast expanse of the campus, and it took me a few days to fully understand all the different locations we had to report to for our lectures.

Now, in June 2017, I have taken in all possible experiences a student can experience at RGU, and I continue to do so. I was fortunate enough to have some amazing opportunities, and meet some lovely folks in Aberdeen and it has only made me a better person. Unfortunately, I have not gained a Scottish accent yet, but I continue to remain hopeful.

Athira

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