I had always dreamed of studying abroad since I was younger and I’m sure a lot of people have too. After I got the chance to do so, I can make a confession that it really is a wonderful experience that everybody should have the opportunity to experience it once in their lifetime.
As one of many people who got lucky enough to have the chance to study abroad, I got asked quite a lot about what it’s like to study in a foreign country and whether or not the system is different from that back at home. Well, the answer is, yes, it is indeed different from when I was studying in Indonesia but the all the differences are not too overwhelming. Although obviously, my opinions might be biased because I am taking a different level of education here so do note that it may be an affecting factor.
Where should I start, though?
One obvious difference that I realize from the start is, here in the UK, I do not have to take as many subjects as I did back in Indo, even only half of what I took in back there. However, the burden and pressure of each subject are much more. You are required to do individual learning, read plenty of material before classes, and are expected to participate in tutorials. So I may spend less time on campus but the homework is much more.
All the other stuffs are quite similar, we had exam at the end of the course, although some courses do not have mid-term exam like all of my courses back in undergrad.
Another striking difference I experience is on the supervising of dissertation. Back in my undergrad’s dissertation-writing days, my supervisor took quite a major role on directing the way in which my dissertation was going. All of the major decision like the theme, title, and whatnots were from me but she did give clear advice, directions, and suggestions.
Meanwhile, here in the UK I struggle a bit because my supervisor only gives several pointers and does not intervene too much, everything is pretty much up to me. This could be great as you are free to explore your own topic and be very flexible but it also stressing me out. I get anxious that my dissertation would not turn out as good as I and my supervisor expected. But, fingers-crossed for now as it has been going pretty good so far.
I guess the major differences between studying in Indonesia and abroad (especially in the UK) is independent study is much more emphasized here, hence you will need to be more discipline with your study. It may come accross as a shock for those who have been much directed by the lecturers on their study like my case but it’s not really that hard to adjust with this difference. On the other area it’s pretty much the same so worry not, you will be just fine.
As I have mentioned above, I’m not sure if this difference is the result of different level of education I’m taking or if it’s true for studying abroad in general, I’m merely sharing the experiences I’m having. Should you have questions regarding studying abroad, especially in the UK just shoot me a comment 😉