How I Completed My Study Abroad Admission Journey | Study Abroad Diary by Saikat Mukherjee

Study abroad is a long and complex process. Study abroad aspirants can expect several unexpected blockers – budget issues, how to write Statement of Purpose (SOP), arranging letters of recommendation (LOR) or visa process. All these steps are critical, and could be quite time-consuming. During my Study Abroad Admission Journey, I faced various issues during the short-listing, application and admission process. But, thanks to my counselors, I managed it well at the end. Currently I am an MSc Chemistry student at the University of Wroclaw, one of the best in Europe. In this post, I will be talking about my study abroad admission journey. I hope this post will help many other study abroad aspirants.

My Background

I always wanted to do a postgraduate degree from outside India, and this is what I persevered since I was a Under-Graduate student. I had my interest in chemistry & biology since my high school days and always wanted to study a subject that works in the interface of chemistry and biology. So after completing my high school I opted for a Bachelor’s in Pharmacy. But then I faced a lot of family issues and eventually I had to take up a job after completing my Bachelor’s where I worked from 2011-2015.

But there came a point where I was in a job, earning a lot of money, and seeing the same people every day. This quickly got boring and repetitive and that was really when I decided to start applying to Universities.

I worked with an Indian MNC (Lupin India Pvt Ltd) for 4 Years as senior Marketing Executive after my B.Pharm.  During that Phase I got the opportunity to interact with several colleagues working in different European Companies and I genuinely believed (and still do) that the European way of learning, teaching, and working is better than others. It is designed as a more sustainable way of achieving work-life balance.

While researching the countries in Europe, I came across several good options. Ultimately, I chose Poland. The first reason being good quality education, and secondly, because I knew that total expenses for two years would be lower than 7 Lacs.

Study Abroad Admission Journey

Study Abroad Admission Journey

Why I Chose To Study in Poland?

It was during the winter of 2013 after working nearly for 2.5 years I was nearly frustrated and exhausted too. During this time I again started re thinking about my desire to study abroad & after some discussion with my seniors & my brother I decided that I will go for my studies . So I started taking all the necessary information. Initially, I targeted Germany and UK as my desired destinations. Whereas UK was proving to be too costly for me; Germany required much higher marks in Bachelors (I had around 7.2 CGPA).

Study Abroad Admission Journey
Wroclaw City

I choose Poland (University of Wroclaw) which is a fairly new member of the European Union, and also one of the few countries that was not hit by the recession. Poland is definitely among the Best Emerging Study Abroad Destinations for International Students.

Why I Finalized The University of Wroclaw?

While researching about the countries and speaking to my Counselor (Tanmoy Ray), I came to know about the University of Wroclaw. University of Wroclaw, established in 1702 (reorganized in 1945) has got a rich academic heritage for education and research. It is one of the best in Europe, and an excellent choice for Science-subjects including Chemistry and Biotechnology. The University of Wroclaw also features among the Top 800 universities in the QS World Rankings (current rank is 701).

The University has also produced 9 Nobel Prize Winners. Besides quality education and great research infrastructure, the University of Wroclaw has also got strong industry links. The University has got the Academic Incubator of Entrepreneurship that hep students in starting their own ventures through mentoring, organizing conferences, seminars, subsidizing selected investments and offering office space. So, I was absolutely convinced about the decision of joining the University of Wroclaw.

Study Abroad Admission Journey
University of Wroclaw

How I Overcame The Struggle of The Application Process?

While applying to Masters Degree programs, I needed to submit my CV, statement of purpose (SOP), letters of recommendation (one academic and one professional), and all educational and professional documents appostilled (which can be done from the Ministry of External Affairs, Govt. of India or VFS). Generally it takes a lot of time so students are advised to start it early.  Initially I suffered a lot With the CV& the SOP. But with the assistance and guide of Tanmoy Ray (who also happened to be my senior during my Bachelor studies) I was able to sort them out. The valuable guidance and all the technical information that I received from Tanmoy helped me a lot. I also learned a lot about all these procedures – like few courses need GRE as a compulsory requirement; whereas others will request an IELTS/TOEFL score if they feel your school/under-graduation does not sufficiently reflect your ability in English. For me, I did not need any of those extra exam scores. IELTS was enough for me.

My Expenses of Studying in Poland

Program fees vary courses to courses. Since the budget was a significant constraint, the selection of Poland worked really well for me. For me the tuition fee is 3,000 Euros per year. The living expenses are also quite low in Poland. To live comfortably, 2,500 – 3,000 Euros is sufficient for one year. Even though I was getting ready for bank loan to fund my studies in abroad, I didn’t need to go for it at the end. I managed to save sufficient amount of money while working for 4 years.

Study Abroad Admission Journey
Wroclaw City Centre

There are many scholarships available. Most Universities have their own scholarships which are advertised on their websites. There are a lot of part-time jobs and internships which are put up on the universities’ web portals for students. Aside from that, you can also find out about opportunities from friends, professors, various societies. Since the Masters Classes and labs are pretty intense, you had to complete a thesis, it is very busy. So if you are intending to work part time as well, you have to be prepared to work very hard.

The main requirement for student visas is to show an unconditional offer letter and sufficient funds. Funds can be shown as bank statements, fixed deposits, or bank loan. You have to show both degree as well as living costs (for 1 year it is 3,000 Euros).

Experience at University of Wroclaw in Poland as an International Student

Study Abroad Admission Journey
Wroclaw in the evening

The University of Wroclaw has one week before all University classes begin called Fresher’s week. This is when most international students are settling in – meeting flat-mates, sorting out phone, internet, and any remaining paperwork. Fresher’s week has a wide range of events taking place all day and all night – from outdoor walking tours to pub crawls, tours of the library or indoor games – the detailed programs have plenty on offer.

The International Student Center is open every day, helping students get their identity cards, bank accounts, doctors’ registrations etc, and free coffee/tea and nibbles. It is just nice to do things as part of a group, meet people from all over the world and participate as much or as little as you want.

The only problem that I suffered at the beginning was the language. You can’t expect everyone to know English. But people are very nice and helpful here in Poland. Besides, you also get the opportunity learn Polish language for one whole year.

There was also the week where each department hosts and induction day, where we heard from our heads of schools and came away with information and guides. This week is very full on and a lot of fun!

Now talking about the department of Chemistry I must say, all are very supporting & helpful starting from the day one. I was immediately placed in a research group on my personal interest, where I learnt a lot about Solid Phase Peptide Synthesis and Combinatorial Chemistry. The best thing about University of Wroclaw is that as a student you are allowed to work & explore freely .The labs are top class , so is the faculty members . Even students from under graduates are allowed to work in the lab with PHD students and not just that they are free to use apparatus and machines like NMR, Mass Spectrometer, FTIR, and HPLC.

Future Goals

My future goal is to pursue my PhD in the field that works in the interface of Medicinal chemistry & molecular Biology particularly dealing with cancer, CNS and infectious diseases. I intend to work on drug-designing, chemical synthesis, and analysis of biological efficacy of medicinal drugs. My final goal is to work towards the discovery of novel life-saving drugs.

My Suggestions for Study Abroad Aspirants

Students planning to study in abroad should come with an open mind and no preconceived notions. Work hard and make the most of your time here. Trust me you can, and you will have the best lessons and time of your life while studying abroad. I hope my study abroad admission journey will inspire few fellows to be more patient, more open and courageous towards study abroad and life in general. There will always be challenges and obstacles. But, if you work hard and take right advice from the right people – you will reach your end goal.

Study Abroad Admission Journey
That’s my Bike