Studying at the University of Salford has many perks and it’s amazing that one of them can mean travelling 4000 miles from campus to the other side of the world. I’ve been given the amazing chance to chat to second year BA Television and Radio student Jamie-Louise Massey about her current experience as an outgoing international exchange student studying at Middle Tennessee State University. She has been documenting her travelling and studying experience through a blog, which you can find at jlmlearningabroad.wordpress.com. This interview also includes several photos Jamie herself has taken on her journey! ✈️
Hi Jamie! Did you ever consider studying abroad before or was it an impulsive decision?
Hey! It really is incredible, some days I wake up and it still feels like I’m dreaming. Two years ago on the 2nd February 2017, I found out I was going to the University of Salford and if someone had told me that I’d be studying in America I’d have probably laughed in their face! I didn’t know studying abroad was an option if I’m honest, I just remember near the end of my first semester getting the first email from my personal tutor about studying abroad and I knew straight away that’s what I wanted to do and I wasn’t going to stop until I had achieved it.
Tell us about the application process for studying abroad.
After some back and forth emailing with my tutor he put me in contact with the Study Abroad team who I went to speak to so I could find out more information, I then had to do research (lots of it) so that I could fill out the application form confidently because I needed to have an idea of where I wanted to study and why. I also had an interview based on my application where the team decided if they were going to nominate me or not and then there was a lot of waiting because I had applied for Semester two. From what I remember the actual university application was pretty easy and I had lots of support from the team, the hardest part though was sorting the visa out, but again if I needed help all I had to do was ask and someone would be there to help me whether it was the team in Salford or the team here at Middle Tennessee State University. Both have been amazing.
How are you finding classes at MTSU? Do you feel the university experience is different?
I’m loving it here, I feel settled already. My favourite class has got to be Broadcast Announcement and Performance, a year ago I wouldn’t dare get in front of the camera, it’s been 3 weeks and every week I’ve been in front of the camera ad-libbing, co-presenting and reading from a teleprompter. Yes, the university experience is very different but very easy to adjust to.
What have you been getting up to in your spare time?
So far it has been spent doing ‘homework’, going to the gym, trips to the movies or shopping mall and watching basketball games with friends. I’ve also signed up to a programme called ‘First Friends’ where they pair you up with a local family and it’s amazing. I’ve spent one day every weekend with them and it is so nice to see how the local people live and get a taste of their culture.
What has been your favourite day in Mursfreesboro so far?
I think my favourite day so far has got to be the trip to Nashville we went on. It was only my second day here and the international team at MTSU arranged for the exchange and international students to visit Nashville. We found some murals to take photos of and then we went downtown to get some food. The atmosphere downtown is unreal, I fully understand why they call it Music City now.
Do you ever get homesick?
Occasionally, there are good days and bad days. It’s just about finding ways to keep yourself busy and focused. I find it hardest on a weekend because there aren’t any buses here so it’s all about finding something to do. Also I find talking to my family and friends everyday helps and I try to video-call everyone at least once a week.
What advice would you give to students back home considering applying for the International Exchange scheme?
100% go for it! It’s a lot of hard work, money and preparation but it is all worth it. Do your research, talk to people and ask loads of questions. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity that will stick with you forever and just believe in yourself because you can do anything you set your mind to, especially with a bit of work and dedication.
Finally, what made you decide to create a blog documenting your Study Abroad experience?
I’ve always wanted to start a blog but never had an interesting story to tell. Originally I wanted to do a ‘vlog’ but there is a lot more work behind that and I want to still enjoy my experience without worrying about filming 24/7. There are also two more reasons for me doing the blog; the first one is so that family back home can keep up with what I’m doing (even my grandparents have made an account and are following); and also because it will be handy in the future if people ask what I did abroad. It’s kind of like an online diary.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the study abroad opportunities we offer for University of Salford students or maybe you are an international student looking to come here to the UK please have a look at the information page here or feel free to email the Study Abroad team: firstname.lastname@example.org.