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The learning environment is refreshing, and the degree I will receive will be recognised globally....
US University: Harvard College
US University Website: http://www.college.harvard.edu
US State: Massachusetts
Level Of Study: Undergraduate
Length Of Study abroad: Full Degree
Field: Undeclared Major
Region From: Midlands
UK School/University Attended: Wolverhampton Girls’ High
Years Abroad: 2010 - 2014
I grew up as a dual UK/US citizen, exposed to American life and culture. I had always seen studying in America as an option for me, and found the liberal arts curriculum very appealing. I wanted university to be a complete change for me, so studying abroad seemed like the perfect adventure. The US is a completely different world to explore, whilst also being eerily familiar and easy to assimilate into. The learning environment is refreshing, and the degree I will receive will be recognised globally. During Year 12 and 13 I was disillusioned by the pressure to decide on only one subject to study at university; I had always been a mathematician, but my passion secretly lay in geography. I knew that in the US I wouldn’t have to pick- I would eventually have to specialise, but I would have time to explore my options in a college setting first, and continue to take a wide range of classes even after I had made my choice.
My favorite experience would be December 2011 when I travelled to San Francisco to attend the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union. This is the world’s largest conference of Earth scientists and, for an Earth Science major, was understandably an incredible opportunity to interact with leading scientists in my field and learn about all of the current research. This was made even more incredible by the fact that I was there to present a poster of my own research. I had spent the summer at Harvard Forest, conducting research on phenology as part of a National Science Foundation funded research program. I had continued this work through the Fall Semester and had my abstract accepted by AGU. I was awarded a Student Travel Grant which, combined with funding from the REU program, meant that funding for my entire trip was covered. I was so proud of all that I had achieved to get to that expansive poster hall, and was so inspired by all of the people that I interacted with.
When applying the most important thing is to be organised. If you know all of the requirements and deadlines, and can utilise all of the resources available to you, you’re going to have a much easier and more successful application process. Don’t give up; through the whole process I felt like I was swimming against the current but it was so worth it come April 1st. Also, personality is really valued by US universities.
Harvard does not award academic scholarships but has a very strong financial aid program. I have received funding for the past two years and expect this to continue through graduation. I am also eligible for government funding and was awarded Work-Study which means that if I work on campus the government will pay the majority of my pay check. This makes me highly employable, virtually guaranteeing this as a possible source of income. Harvard takes into account every facet of my parents’ financial situation, and calculates costs covering everything from tuition to travel expenses and school supplies.