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Why I decided to study a master's abroad in London

By Mari T

Updated May 12, 2022 Updated May 12, 2022

I left my home city of Tokyo to start a master's in international relations in London, UK. I’ve had the best time studying abroad, meeting new people, and experiencing a new culture. I’m glad I made the leap for myself and would recommend it to everyone.  

Here’s why I decided to study abroad. 

Studying in a city with a strong reputation for my subject  

London cityscape

I wanted to pursue a master’s in a location that had a good reputation for my subject. Studying in a diverse, cultural, and political hub like London in the UK meant I could study where international affairs are taking place all around me.  

After graduation, I want to work for a business consultancy firm where the importance of geopolitical risk management has been growing recently.  

Studying in London, a city with a high reputation for international relations, will offer me an opportunity to learn from reputable professors and practitioners with industry knowledge, and acquire the cutting-edge perspectives I’ll need to succeed in the field. 

The opportunity to expand my horizons  

London South Bank

People come to London from all over the world, which exposes me to culturally diverse communities. I grew up around Japanese people. There was no diversity, so diving into an international environment with a variety of people was essential to expanding my horizons.  

I got to understand the different ways of living, different attitudes and the way people spend time with each other in different cultures. I celebrated New Year’s Eve with my friends watching the fireworks. The holiday season reminded me again that people in the world have different lifestyle. 

The topics I’ve studied on my course have made me realise how narrow and biased my perspective was before. Through my lectures and seminars, professors and classmates have given me various viewpoints to consider. Having to keep up with the course content and with my peers has helped me to stay motivated in my work. Now, when I watch the news, I’m always thinking about other viewpoints or positions around international events.  

Making global friends  

Students chatting together

Meeting people from around the world, I’ve been able to contribute to different discussions that I’d never have engaged in had I not studied abroad. My course mates are from a broad range of countries and that provides a global experience for us all.  

I’m able to broaden my horizons through the conversations I have with my multicultural friends. They have their own opinions on complicated and unfamiliar topics for me, including immigration and radicalisation. I spend a lot of time with my friends, eating out in lots of different restaurants and watching movies together. We’ve even visited Bristol, Bath, Oxford and Canterbury for days out.  

When settling into the UK, my friends have introduced me to world foods that I’d never tried. I’d make ramen and they would cook Taiwanese, Chinese, and Turkish food for me. Food is an amazing way to make new friends.  

Bringing my international knowledge back to Japan  

I think studying abroad can give you the edge when looking for international graduate jobs, as you can show that you’ve experienced a different culture and can apply your skills to international problems.  

However, I want to take my new international experience back to Japan where I can bring all my newfound knowledge and perspectives to my home city. The knowledge and skills I gain in international relations will be useful in business consultancy, to formulate business strategies which need to consider geopolitical risks.  

Having improved my English language skills while studying in the UK, I’ll be in a better position to liaise with clients around the world and to work with international businesspeople in Japan.  

 

I have loved studying abroad in London as I have had so many experiences that I wouldn’t have had studying at home. I have truly broadened my horizons, made friends and contacts from around the world, improved my language skills and feel like I have a solid understanding of international relations in the UK.  

While obstacles like finance, admissions processes or language could have put me off trying, I decided it was worth the experience and I’m so glad I did. I would recommend it to anyone.  

This article was originally published in May 2022 .

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