Martina is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Digital Media Production at Oxford Brookes University. She found the programme and enrolled via StudyPortals. We asked Martina about her experience of searching and applying to a university abroad.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What is your name? How old are you? Where are you from?
My name is Martina Peckelová, I’m 25 years old and come from Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic.
Where are/were you studying and what programme? What degree and how long is your programme?
I’m currently studying MSc Digital Media Production at Oxford Brookes University in the United Kingdom. This degree is one year long and focuses on creating different media products. Our lectures include for example 3D graphic design and animation, video, video editing and web coding.
Why did you want to study abroad?
In my opinion studying abroad makes students more independent, they need to learn how to rely on themselves. I always intended to study abroad because I wanted to improve my language skills and gain more experience for my future employment. Moreover my previous studies were focused on multimedia and there is no such a Master’s degree in my country so it quite helped me to fulfill my decision.
Deciding for a university
What were your main priorities when choosing your university and your programme (e.g. academics, accommodation, university services & facilities, personal & professional development, city & culture, cost & funding, practicalities, social life)?
The main priorities when choosing my university were primarily my professional personal & development and then the place. I really fell in love with the programme when I saw its modules while browsing on internet. It was something that would broaden my knowledge from my Bachelor’s degree in Prague.
Secondary my decision was supported by the location of my university. As I wanted to improve my English, the UK was the best place to study. In addition to it the offer to study in Oxford was a perfect match for me because it is a beautiful student city with rich history that is well known in the whole world.
Was this your first study choice? What other universities did you consider? What was the main reason of your final choice?
Yes, Oxford Brookes University was my first choice. I was also accepted to Westminster University in London but decided for Oxford, because this place is not so busy.
Did you know from the start that you wanted to study in that particular country and city? Why did you choose for this particular location?
No I didn’t know that in advance. To study in the UK was my life dream but I thought it was absolutely impossible, because of cost of living and scholar fees that are very high. I have already answered the second part of this question above...
Did you find your study programme on StudyPortals? How did StudyPortals help you in your decision process?
Yes, I found it there and it was definitely very helpful. I read a Description and Career prospects and then I decided to find the main webpage of my university. If it were not Studyportals it wouldn’t be so easy to discover this awesome programme.
Did you take a language test (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS) when applying for the programme? If yes, which one did you choose, why and how was your experience with it?
Yes, I took part in IELTS language test because it was required by Oxford Brookes University. I signed up for two month long preparatory courses before taking the exams therefore I knew the structure of the exam in advance and didn’t have any problems. It consists of four parts – listening, reading, speaking and writing and the last part is quite difficult in terms of time and language skills so participants should be well prepared.
What would be your advice for students from your country that consider to study abroad?
To apply for a university abroad is a really long and demanding process and it took me about one year to solve all the requirements so it is good to think it through ahead and not leave everything to the last minute before deadline.
How did you finance your stay abroad and what financial advice would you give to future students?
Luckily, I received a faculty scholarship for UK/EU students that covers a small part of my fees. The rest is financed by a student bank loan for which I applied in the Czech Republic. My advice for other students is not to give up, even if you feel that you can not afford to study. You can always get the bank loan and the experience to study abroad is definitely worth it!
Why would you (not) recommend this particular city / university? How would you rate your experience on a scale from zero to ten (0 – It was a total disaster, 10 – I had the time of my life)?
Oxford is very international city full of interesting people. Oxford Brookes University is very open to every student and it provides a wide range of workshops and job opportunities. Therefore, I would rate it 10, because to study here was the best decision in my life.
Is there anything that you would do differently if you could do it over again?
Well because I live in student halls I would think more properly about what to bring with me abroad...It would be nice to have some basic cutlery at the beginning...
What was the biggest surprise in your study abroad adventure?
The biggest surprise for me was when I first met my classmates. I expected more students from the UK. There are only 13 students in Digital Media Production and everyone is from a different country – Germany, Ukraine, Greece, Syria, Spain, Japan, China...I was really amazed how our programme is so international.