Life Update // Moving to London
After almost 5 years in South Africa, I MOVED TO LONDON!
My plan has always been to move to London, but, I have to admit, the timing has changed a bit over the years. My original idea was to take a year off between Peace Corps and graduate school, but I ended up taking 2 years… oops haha, but I knew I’d eventually make it, and here I am!
Why I chose the UK (and specifically, London)
When applying to graduate school, I knew I wanted to move to and study in London, therefore I mostly applied to British schools (with one American school as a back up). I applied to UCL, LSE, King’s College, SOAS, and Queen Mary. I could write a lot about why I chose UCL specifically, but these are the reasons I chose to study in the UK:
- I was ready to leave South Africa but I was not ready to go back to the States. America will always be there, but I may not have many opportunities to live abroad (that’s not necessarily true since my partner is foreign, but you get the idea).
- Grad school in America is two years; grad school in the UK is one year (12 full months). I’m totally down with getting the same degree in half the time and entering the workforce sooner.
- Grad school in America is almost 2x the cost of grad school in the UK. My degree from UCL costs approximately $25,000. The same degree from a US school costs $60-$80,000! I mean, come on! If that’s not reason enough…
- Alex is kind of British (it’s complicated), so the idea that we could one day live and work in the same country appealed to me.
- I wanted an English speaking program and Australia and New Zealand are a bit too far away. Although I would love to say that I am fluent in more than one language, I am not, so an English program was a must.
- The British schools to which I applied are ranked quite high, especially in my chosen field. Additionally, UCL is a top 10 school in the world!
- London is a thriving metropolis with such a diverse group of residents. I walk down the street and hear multiple languages and see people who are so vastly different than me (which I love).
- London is a world hub of global health. What better place to study global health than in a city so intrinsically linked to it?
The MSc Global Health and Development program
The classes I will take as a GHD student:
Term 1 – 23 September to 13 December 2019
Concepts and Controversies in Global Health
Research Methods and Evidence for Global Health
Power and Politics in Global Health
Health Systems in a Global Context
Term 2 – 13 January to 21 February 2020
Essentials of Global Child Health
Collecting and Using Data: Essentials of Quantitative Survey Research
Term 3 – 29 April to 29 May 2020
Gender and Health
Term 4 – Summer 2020
Dissertation – At UCL (and most British schools) the last term is spent as independent study working on the student’s dissertation to be submitted in September 2020.
The modules in Term 1 are required courses, the modules in Term 2 and 3 are optional modules. I chose those to suit my interests and career goals.
I am really excited about my modules this year and I think I will learn a lot about global health. Although I have a lot of practical experience in global health through Peace Corps and my time in South Africa, I don’t have much theoretical training and I can’t wait for that aspect of my program. I have not decided on my dissertation topic yet, but I can’t wait to talk to my tutor and plan it out!
Where I live
I decided to live in UCL student housing as a way to meet new people and save some money. However, I could not, at my age, share a bathroom with other people, so I chose a hall with my own private bathroom and a shared kitchen. I’m not gonna tell you which hall I live in because, well, stranger danger. However, I will say that I live in Zone 1 on the Victoria line.
I wrote a blog post all about the nitty-gritty of moving abroad as a student and how you can do it if you want – so check that out!