Hi! My name is Nicole, I am 25 years old and come from the tiny island of Malta. I finished my Bachelor of Psychology in 2018 and during that year I was also part of the EFPSA Board of Management. In 2020, I decided that I wanted to continue my studies in psychology and applied for a Masters of Science in forensic psychology at Coventry University in the United Kingdom.
I started this journey in the midst of COVID-19, applying during lockdown and eventually travelling to Coventry in August 2020. The decision to leave my family and friends was not an easy one, however, I had always planned
to venture outside of my country and it was finally the time to do so. I felt excitement at the thought of discovering a new culture and meeting people from all over Europe. In fact, I particularly chose Coventry University as it is known for its international community.
My experience at Coventry University was not your typical studying abroad experience as most of my lectures were held online due to Covid. However, the lecturers did their utmost to encourage communication and sharing of ideas. Most of my course mates were other Europeans and we bonded over our experiences. When restrictions decreased, we were able to meet and discover Coventry and surrounding cities. We organised a cultural night in which we tried different foods from each country and also went sightseeing. I loved the opportunity of meeting like-minded individuals, all of whom were interested in Forensic Psychology and all very were inclined to help each other with school work. EFPSA had already introduced me to the wonderful experience of making foreign friends, and this experience continued to build on that. Furthermore, I also got to meet many local friends with whom I discovered more of the UK and Wales. It was amazing to get an insider’s view of the country and I loved being just a drive away from different cities and nature sights.
Although it was stressful, my Masters taught me invaluable lessons on which I had not focused much during my bachelor’s – particularly writing styles and critical thinking. My supervisor at the university was particularly helpful and I really enjoyed our discussions about my thesis – she guided me while still pushing me to trust in my instincts and skills.
Most important of all though, the experience of studying abroad taught me how to be independent. This was my first time away from my family, in a situation where I had to live entirely by myself, cook, clean, and all that comes along with it. At first, it was a shock – I was video calling my mum for help every day! But, as time passed, it became easier, and I began to enjoy the experience (even though my mum enjoyed my lack of calling a little less :p). My most improved skill while in the UK was definitely cooking – I cooked many new dishes and loved every second (of eating them).
I highly recommend to anyone to take the leap and apply for opportunities outside of your home country. Experiences like this force you to step out of your comfort zone and allow you to truly discover yourself and grow. I, for one, will definitely cherish the time spent abroad and cannot wait for the time to come when I have the opportunity for something like this again!