Becoming a Physiotherapist was a dream I had throughout my studies, and I was willing to go wherever I had to in order to achieve it. In November 2018, I began applying to various universities all across the world. In total, I applied up to 18 international universities!
In December, I was told that I had the opportunity to attend an in-person interview held in Toronto in January 2019. All other schools who gave me the opportunity to take part in an interview had to be done via Skype, so the fact that Robert Gordon University (RGU) was sending over representatives to interview potential students was comforting; they took extra time and care when choosing new students to become a part of the school.
After my interview, I knew that I wanted to study Physiotherapy at RGU more than anywhere else and luckily that evening I received an email from the Head of Admissions for Physiotherapy indicating that I would be receiving an official offer of acceptance, for January 2020, within the next few days!
From there, the preparation to begin a new chapter of my life began!
HOW DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT THE SALTIRE SCHOLARSHIP?
I decided to apply and started writing my application. I stayed truthful to myself and my reasons for applying to the physiotherapy course and some short time later, I found out that my application was successful. With the Saltire Scholarship, I had a new role representing the school on an international level, which was a huge honour and I was up for the task and responsibility that came with it.
WHAT WERE YOUR NEXT STEPS?
My first step towards moving to Scotland was preparing all the documents for my Tier-4 Visa and providing the school the first installment of my tuition to officially accept my offer. Applying for my Tier-4 Visa could only happen 3 months before the start of the program, so I had to wait until November.
When applying for your Tier-4 Visa, make an appointment with the closest VFS Global location, arrive early, and bring with you all the documentation required by the Visa application centre (the list is provided to you once you book your appointment). The guidelines are stringent, and they require you to be present and accountable, so the more prepared you are the better!
HOW DID YOU SECURE YOUR ACCOMMODATION?
Finding a place to stay was another task I had to take care of. During the months leading up to November, I looked for places to stay through various websites. Some letting agencies do not let houses to people who are not present to do the viewing but some companies that deal with international students are happy to let you sign a contract for the house. They would also be willing to send a video walk-through of the property before signing the contract over the internet. RGU also have an accommodation department that can offer you advice on your options.
Moving to Aberdeen, Scotland was the next part of my adventure. As you can imagine moving to a new country involves many different things, from furnishing your new home to learning the new type of currency, and adjusting to the new way of living (particularly driving on the other side of the road). All these things made this journey even more exciting!
WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
One of the biggest challenges I faced when I moved to Aberdeen was getting a cell phone plan, setting up the internet, and opening a bank account. In order to get a cell phone and internet plan, you need a bank account, but opening a bank account can be tricky. The Internet connection will take approximately two weeks before you are able to have access, but your cell phone will start up almost immediately.
My next task was to get a ‘Letter of Induction’ from the University – this is required to open up a basic bank account and you can get it in person by visiting the Student Help Point. Having the letter will by-pass you having to wait for 3 to 4 months for a letter from the city council or electrical/gas company confirming your address and it will make your life easier when setting up a bank account.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS NOW?
Moving to a new country can be difficult and stressful, but once everything is lined up, life becomes a little easier and more enjoyable. One thing that I have learned through this process is not to be afraid to ask for help from people you meet not only at school, but those you meet on the bus, on the street, or at the local pub.
Everyone I have met is extremely kind and helpful and asking for help from the locals will not only help you organise your life, but they will be able to teach you the different tips and tricks of living within this beautiful city.
Take the time to explore and experience this new adventure. This is the beginning of a new chapter!