The Application Process: An International Student's Perspective

Friday 20 December 2019, International students

by Charlotte Stevenson

The Application Process: An International Student's Perspective

Charlotte Stevenson
Laura Klepeisz graduated secondary school in Austria and is currently applying to university in the UK.


1. What most made you want to apply to university?

Firstly, because I don't want my education to be over yet. I feel it will be an opportunity to further enhance and develop the skills I have already gained. In addition to this, student life is full of enriching experiences. Not only does it present new opportunities, but it also broadens my outlook on life in general.

2. Of the application process, which element did you find most difficult?

The personal statement!  It is the key to making it or not making it for me, so I wanted to give it my all. It wasn't difficult to understand the application in general, in fact it was quite simple to understand. It is just that the statement is the most challenging aspect and requires hard work to complete.

3. Where did your interest in journalism begin?

It largely became an interest from my love of languages and cultures, which goes back to as far as I can remember. Working with Know Your Rights (an Austrian human rights organisation) when I was around 13 or 14 opened my mind to journalism as I began to experience more of it. There was also a time when I went to the Vienna TV company for a school trip and I just had to know more about everything I was seeing and hearing. It inspired me because of how fascinated I was by it.

4. You speak both German and English - tell us more about your love of languages and why you think they are important.

Words have always intrigued me and I've always loved writing. Firstly in German and later in English, which I have now been learning for around 8 or 9 years. Seeing how sentences and writing styles can be put together in both languages is so interesting. Over time, language is broadened by the people who use it and so it is always evolving. The communication aspect is great because it allows me to connect with other people, their lives and the world. I would love to learn even more languages too!

5. What do you think are the values of being an international student and studying abroad?

There are many advantages. For me the main reason is because I have always liked English culture. But in addition to this it also broadens horizons. By being in a new place and practicing language skills it becomes possible to increase opportunities by doing something more unique and strong minded. You get to meet likeminded people who are passionate and interested about the same things as you and can learn from them too. They are important connections to make. But overall, it's just a fantastic opportunity and amazing experience.

6. What are some of the most rewarding things you have learnt so far from your previous experience with travelling?

Through travelling I've learnt that everything is not only done one way. Other places have traditions too, and they have their own versions of culture and what is defined as normal. The world is an incredible place but that cannot be fully realised without seeing these places firsthand. Once you are up close it is easier to comprehend those different cultures. Through being open minded, I've seen and experienced some wonderful countries, plus made some close friends. Finally, as well as learning from my travels, I also enjoy nature and photography which are both a large part of my trips.

7. What advice do you have in terms of the overall application, specifically in relation to finding referees? 

Choose someone as a referee who knows you well. For instance, a teacher who knows you quite well because of working with you on a regular basis. Make sure they know your passion too and show it fairly. In terms of the overall application, talk to friends and family. Friends who have been through this already may be able to offer some advice or comfort. But above all, start early and give yourself plenty of time to prepare everything. Don't be too stressed by it! Keep calm, focus and you shall succeed.

8. What do you most enjoy writing about? And what would you like to explore and write more of in the future?

Even more travel writing because this could perhaps open up a career in this area. It would link my love of travel with journalism. I am not sure of the specifics because of my range of interests - I'd like to write more about everything. Really it's about opportunity. If something is offered that's new then you should rise to the challenge.

9. Where do you see yourself in another 5 years time? What are some of the things you would like to achieve?

It's impossible to fully answer this question because it's about taking every day as it comes. I don't want to put too much pressure on myself. On a smaller scale, I am very much looking forward to beginning university and further travel through Erasmus. Later, I would like to study a masters degree in London.

10. Any final comments or thoughts for your fellow applicants?

If you have a dream, don't let anyone tell you you cannot achieve it. Afterall, this is your life and you should be the one who decides. Take your fate into your own hands.

Thank-you for all of your thoughts and ideas Laura - It's been great hearing about what it is like to be applying for university in 2017!

If you would like to hear more from Laura, you can read some of her previous articles here:

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