Hendrik: 5.5 years in England and beyond

Hi, I am Hendrik and I’m originally from Tartu, Estonia. My journey to the UK started back in 2013 when I was studying in 11th grade. A former student from my school had come back to give a quick talk about studying abroad. I was fascinated by her story and decided to email her after I finished my studies. A year later, I discovered that she was working for Dream Foundation and was really enthusiastic about helping me with the application process. 10 days and many-many conversations later I managed to submit my application.

I arrived in Coventry on the 19th of September 2014, and have had a wonderful time since then. I spent 4 years studying Accounting and Finance at Coventry University, including work placement with the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) at Cheltenham in my 3rd year.

Currently, I’m on the Ambitious Futures Graduate Scheme Programme at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, finishing in June, before getting married and heading off to do my Military Service back in Estonia.

I chose to go study in the UK due to a combination of recommendations, a gut feeling and a thirst for adventure. Going abroad was never quite what I imagined to be, however, with so many opportunities to do extracurricular activities, travel and learn, there was never a dull moment!

What I most enjoyed about my first year at Coventry University was the relatively slow pace of it (at least in comparison to the gymnasium back home). With only about 10-12 hours of study per week, there was so much free time! But as others, such as Birgit, have blogged, it’s easy to get carried away and forget that “in theory” I should do at least 20-25 hours of self-study each week as well.

By the second year of university, I was a lot more aware of all the opportunities available at the university and managed to take part in a couple of trips and even spent the year as the President of the Anime and Manga Society.

What is great about most Universities in the UK is that they give many students opportunities for cultural experiences abroad. Me, and about 50 other students on my course had the pleasure to go to China for 3 weeks. We visited Hangzhou, Shanghai, and Beijing.

At the same time, during my second year, I worked as both a Student Ambassador – this is a role that I would recommend any student to take up. Not only for the money but also for experience and networking.

In the photo below you see me working as a Student Ambassador at an Open Day event. Coventry University has Jaguar Building, which is supported by Jaguar and Landrover.

During my second year, I was highly encouraged to do a placement year within a company, and after many-many applications, and fine-tuning of my CV and Cover Letter, I managed to secure one with HESA – the Higher Education Statistics Agency at Cheltenham. A placement year happens between your year 2 and year 3 of University and I would definitely recommend a placement year to anyone who goes to university. My key takeaways were. It showed me what I liked and didn’t like to do and showed me a different career path (i.e. working in Higher Education, data management, improving systems and processes and organising and running workshops).

Pic HP2 - HESA.jpg
Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) building at Cheltenham, England

During the last year, I had a free trip to Frankfurt with the Financial Trading Society and managed to work part-time for the Coventry University as a Facilities assistant and a Student Ambassador. Thanks to this experience, I managed to secure my position on the Ambitious Futures Graduate Scheme. In a nutshell, it is an 18-month scheme, where I have 3 different work placements across 2 universities, with all positions focusing on giving you a wide breadth of experience across the whole university.

Pic HP3 - Frankfurt.jpg
in Frankfurt

To conclude, where-ever you may be going during your adventures, always try and make the most out of your experience – there’s always so many opportunities to get to know some lovely people and to gather some wonderful memories.

England has a very rich culture, some fantastic scenery, and very welcoming people. To this day, I’m still learning some fun and quirky sayings, particularly in the culinary area. The last two pictures perfectly sum up my experience at Coventry and the wider UK – wonderful memories with some very kind and warm-hearted people.

Leave a Reply