Sourced by Rachel Shepherd, Editor, Graduate Prospects, November 2011
Weighing up the pros and cons of postgraduate study might seem complicated enough without throwing in the option of studying abroad. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Prospects looks at your overseas options.
Claire Fowler graduated from the Royal College of Art and St Anne's college, Oxford University. Her films have screened at international venues and she has recently returned from America where she studied Film at Columbia University as a Fulbright Commission scholar.
‘I'd always wanted to live in America and explore the country and culture, but felt it was very much out of my reach - both financially and also because I was, and still am, pursuing a very tenuous career in the arts.’
When doing her research Claire discovered that without any personal funds her options were limited. Find out more about what funding options are available if you want to study abroad. She also wanted to develop both her screenwriting and directing and there wasn’t really any course in the UK or Europe that concentrated on both.
‘I applied to the Fulbright first and then started looking at the programs in America. I found the film MFA at Columbia University in New York after hours of internet browsing.’
‘The scholarship was the only reason I was able to attend Columbia, and once I'd secured that, I was able to get support from the University and another Philanthropical organisation called the PEO. While it was hard financially, politically, it was very exciting to be in New York for the US election, and to be in Harlem the night Obama was elected.’
‘So few Brits are fortunate enough to study in the USA because of the great expense incurred. I feel incredibly privileged to have had the support of the Fulbright. I've acquired skills and knowledge, made friends and contacts who are mentors and supporters, and had the experience of living and working in a very different culture. I've even written scripts and plays in American-English as well as British-English. My resume not only looks better, but my skillset and self-confidence has been developed too.’
Claire points out that America is the most expensive place to study in the world, but that the education is excellent.
‘There are very few scholarships available for UK students to study in the US, and they are quite hard to find. Once you find them, they're very competitive. I would recommend anyone who plans to study overseas to research all opportunities thoroughly and apply to everything they can.’
‘I would also recommend applying to several schools, and after receiving offers, going to each school and asking what financial aid or scholarships they can offer you. Use this information to barter with the schools and see how much they want you! Sometimes smaller schools can offer more financially than their larger, more famous counterparts.’
If you want a similar experience to Claire then find out about funding and applying in our guide to studying abroad.
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