19 October 2017 | Postgrad Advice | Guest Author
If someone had asked me ten years ago if I had planned on getting a masters degree, I probably would have said no. When I was in high school in America, I was not the exemplary student and spending my free time studying was low on my priority list.
After I graduated from high school I started classes at a local college and worked 20 hours a week to pay for my rent and food. During my first semester I thought all of my classes were really easy and dull so I barely studied. When my final grades were up I was dismayed to see my unacceptably low scores.
It was while I was working and studying that I realized that I needed to change my attitude towards my studies because it would have a direct effect on my future. I studied harder, got good grades and transferred to UC Davis (ranked 46th in the World University Rankings by Times Higher Education) to complete my bachelor's degree.
After I graduated I wanted to work, travel and experience a more global perspective so I started looking for jobs abroad. I accepted a job teaching English in Seoul, South Korea. Originally, I had planned on staying only one year but I enjoyed my time there so much, I ended up staying for three years. I taught university students, businesspeople and even kindergarteners.
During my time in Seoul, I realized that I wanted to pursue a career in education. I was especially interested in working with international students who wanted to study abroad because my international experience had been so positive. While in Seoul, I explored recruitment sites and job boards for the universities that I wanted to work at and I saw that they were all looking for people with a masters degree or higher.
I had the experience under my belt, but I needed the education as well.
I looked into some programs in the United States but I was put off by the high tuition fees, longer programs and difficult entrance exams. I started to look into programs in continental Europe and the United Kingdom when I found my current masters course.
I was pleased with the scholarship opportunities, the high academic rigor and the resources available that were provided at my current university. My program is providing me with relevant knowledge of education research, policy, theories and cross-cultural experiences that will be extremely useful for my future work.
My advice to anyone who is considering postgraduate study is to research the qualifications and requirements for the career you want. For example, if you want to work at a specific company go to their JOBS section and examine the criteria of what they expect their applicants to have.
Since the job market is so competitive these days, always keep yourself informed and up-to-date with the demands of your career-goal.
Nadja Jepsen is a California-born international student studying MA Education in the United Kingdom. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and also lived in Seoul, South Korea for three years before she moved to England to continue her education. Nadia is currently employed as the Financial Programs Manager at non-profit organisation College Track - to get in touch with Nadia, connect with her on LinkedIn