Perspective: My struggle to find a job in the UK - Manan

Updated: Jan 18

Hi, my name in Manan and I am an international student pursuing my Master’s Degree in the field of marketing at Oxford Brookes University, England, United Kingdom.

It has been a difficult journey, having had to make so many independent decisions, starting from the decision of studying abroad, choosing the right course, the right country, the right university. I struggled a lot to finally make a decision regarding my career and future; I sought out counselling services to help me decide to pursue a Masters in Marketing in the UK.

Once I was ready with this decision, it became really hard to narrow it down to one university. While I successfully landed up applying to various universities in England, I was absolutely clueless during the entire application process: the documents required, the qualifications, the certificates, the language requirements etc. Moreover, different universities had different requirements, so I finally got help from a professional who guided me throughout the application process on a 1:1 basis.

I spent a long time (1 month ), waiting anxiously for an offer letter from a university, and I finally decided to join Oxford Brookes University. I remember I read the offer letter every day I woke up to just check if I was missing any details or did, I make a mistake: it was a really nervous time for me.

But once I had the offer letter, I was ready to apply for the Visa but again having no idea about how and where to apply? What documents are needed to apply? I reached out to my counsellor, and she helped me navigate a very “complicated” visa process, If I was alone, I am sure I would never be able to apply. The financial documents, the correct signatures, the correct bank statements, the certificates, the qualifications, the correct form filling, arranging the documents in the right order when submitting it to the embassy, I had to be really careful with everything because it was a lot of money at stake and even a small spelling mistake could’ve caused problems for me. These were very tense moments for me, I was dead anxious at every step; I used to re-check my name thrice and without any help I don’t know what I would have done. I received my visa decision in 2 weeks, and it was a yes.

I was happy, but the 2 weeks wait for the decision was terrifying. I used to check my phone every minute, check my spam emails, called the embassy twice. I would say it were the most nervous 2 weeks of my life. But the happiness of getting the visa was equal to it. Now to book a flight and decide the dates was also tricky because there was a lockdown in the UK, flights were being cancelled every now and then.

I didn’t take any risk and booked my flight through an agent but still my flight got rescheduled twice and I finally made it to UK in February 2021. All excited, happy and a tad nervous but also confused as I landed to the airport. Luckily one of my friends suggested me to take an airbus from London to Oxford, so I reached Oxford at a cheaper rate, but many people because they were unaware, took a taxi to Oxford, and it was like 5-6 times expensive for them.

To find accommodation initially wasn’t hard as I made the decision to stay in the university provided accommodation. I had already made the decisions and signed the housing contract with the university months ago, so it became easier for me, but I saw people who were looking for private accommodation were struggling, they paid huge amount by quarantining in hotels until they found a house for themselves.

Well then it was about settling in, adapting the culture and weather. But again, you are coming to an entirely new country. I was so confused with the travelling systems around Oxford, I didn’t know if to take cabs or use buses, how did the buses worked, was there a student discount, where do I find the best groceries, so many questions? Another confusing stage was opening a bank account, which account, which bank? After a lot of struggles, I was finally able to open the correct account for myself.

Then comes the most difficult part, finding a “part-time job”. I cannot explain in words how difficult it was during a lockdown to secure a part-time job. After giving 20 interviews and constantly applying for jobs, after around 15 rejections I finally secured a part-time job. But it was really frustrating, I had no idea what documents I needed to submit to my employer, my CV wasn’t up to date, I was struggling with the application process, I didn’t know how salary/pension schemes works in UK, with no one to help you, altogether in a new country, trying to settle in, it was really difficult time.

In time, I was able to work things out and finally made a routine life. But again, now I am close to finishing my degree and I am againl nervous, anxious, struggling to find a full-time job that is related to my career, I have no idea how do I find it, where should I start, how should I apply, when is the correct time to apply, what all documents do I need to make a successful application, I am unsure of my CV. Another big thing is to find a house, to make a decision if I want to move to London, or not? I am so confused with my career right now; I don’t know where it is heading.

I also need to apply for my visa extension (PSW) and I know it’s not going to be easy. It’s a very complicated process and I have to be very careful while applying for it. It raises so many questions for me when to apply, how to apply, where to apply? It’s been a journey of happy but also very nervous/confused times, and it would be great to receive some help right now regarding my career. This is when cMyQual could really be helpful.

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