For a person who has constantly been under the shadow of his parents, someone who has never stayed alone; moving to a foreign country and trying to survive alone could be quite a nightmare. I thought it would be a nightmare for me too. Thankfully, it wasn’t at all. Let me tell you a short story. My story. My journey from Bangalore to Cranfield.
As a kid I was always amazed by the way planes worked. I can still vividly remember going to the airport viewing area with my grandfather to see the Boeings on the tarmac. I wanted to be a part of this community, I craved it. Having completed my Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, I finally found a gateway to my dreams through Cranfield University.
I remember going through the modules offered on the uni website and I was surprised that my course, Aerospace Dynamics, had every single topic that I wished to learn. What was more exciting is that the module offered flight testing. Really?? Actual flight testing for a postgraduate course? I found that hard to believe, until I stumbled onto some videos uploaded by previous students. Now that’s interesting… Not only would I be learning the basics of Aerodynamics and Flight Dynamics but I will also have some practical experience to bolster this knowledge of mine.
A few months later I was finally at Heathrow. Travelling alone was an ordeal on its own and the excitement was killing me. Never have I ever met or spoken to someone from a different cultural background. How will I adapt to them? Can I really make new friends here? How’s the food going to be? Can I survive for a year? All these questions bounced within the walls of my brain as I made my way to the University. As we drew close, I found myself entering a secluded and quiet area away from the city. There was nothing much around except a few stores. Soon, I was at Mitchell Hall – the place I had booked to stay for my duration here. It was quite welcoming. The best thing about Mitchell Hall is they offer an amazing breakfast. I did occasionally miss homemade food, but on the other hand I was always eating and experimenting with something new.
Classes started a week later and life has been a roller coaster ride since then. During the first few weeks an effort is made to help you understand the basics. The flight testing was an amazing experience. Theory coupled with practical experience was one of the best things about my course. Soon we got loaded with assignments and course work. The assignments, I must say, tend to bring out the best in you. The feedback after every assignment helps you improve over the course duration, and ensure that you are ‘industry-ready’ at the end of the course.
On Fridays I would hang out with my friends at the CSA (Cranfield’s Students Association) or do some photography… Yes, Cranfield is beautiful and photogenic. Even the view of the airport, with the constant arrival and departure of a variety of aircraft, can be a good stress buster and motivator. If that wasn’t enough to get rid of the stress, there is a regular bus service to and from Bedford and Milton Keynes with loads of places to explore. Not so secluded after all…
Overall, studying at Cranfield has been quite an experience. The staff have always been very supportive and never turned a blind eye to any problems that I faced. I can finally say that this year has been a year well spent. With new sparkling skills added to my resume, the University has transformed me into a better person altogether. It has given me the confidence to come out of the shadows and be the person I always wanted to be. I will miss all this someday; the memories, the challenges, and of course, the new family I have made here.