Carolin: Tallinn-Portsmouth-Cambridge-London. Everything is possible!

I think the main driver for me always wanting to move to England was my school (Tallinn English College) where the teachers for some reason always encouraged studying abroad and “spreading your wings”. And so I did in 2014. I attended the University of Portsmouth where I studied Criminology and Forensic Studies. I was totally out of my comfort zone – I did not have my mum to cook me dinner, wash my clothes, clean the house etc. But weirdly, I really enjoyed it.

I moved to Portsmouth with my Estonian friend, so I didn’t really have to miss home as part of it was always with me. And I met some amazing people. What made my uni experience special was probably all the uncomfortable situations I had to go through. For example, the uni shared houses were not the newest and quite often me and my housemates found ourselves laughing in tears on the floor because of the toilet not working or mice eating my protein powder…. yep, we went through some weird stuff but that’s what made my experience. On the university side of things, I really enjoyed the freedom and ability to plan my own time. That is the best way of learning to be responsible. We had loads of societies to join but unfortunately, I never did and that is probably the only thing I regret, because there is no better way of socializing and finding “your” people.

During my last year of undergraduate studies, I decided I am not ready to be an actual adult and work, so I decided to do a master’s degree. Having the mindset of “I’ll just try, it probably will never happen”, I applied to some of the top universities. Amongst them was the University of Cambridge, where I actually got accepted. My Cambridge Criminology course only lasted for a year, but that was the best year of my England experience. There was only 40 people on my course, instead of Portsmouth’s 100+ Criminology students. Thus, the feeling of unity was a lot stronger. Also, I never got the chance of living in uni halls in Portsmouth but was accepted into halls in Cambridge. That meant a lot as I met people from various courses and got the proper “uni experience”. We had social events almost every night, so you never felt like an outsider. Not going to lie, the uni side of things was a lot tougher than in Portsmouth, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel and knowing that I graduated from Cambridge with a first feels amazing. More importantly, throughout these 4 years of uni life, I have made friends with people from all over the world and have had unforgettable experiences. As I now live in London and work for the Metropolitan Police, I’m certain that I made the right decision back in 2014!

I would encourage anyone thinking of moving abroad to JUST DO IT! It might feel scary and you will definitely be out of your comfort zone, but nothing will make you more confident and open-minded than the experience of studying abroad. Whenever I felt homesick, I just thought that I can always go back home and that is probably the most important feeling, knowing you have a home to go back to. And who knows, you might meet the people who will change your life and the last thing you want to do is move back! Whichever way you choose, it is all worth it!

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