From the US to the UK: My path to Surrey

My first visit to University of Surrey, in the rare hot summer weather!

Hello! I am Lorena Colcer, an MSc student studying Nanotechnology and Renewable Energy at University of Surrey. I’m from Oregon, mostly around Portland. I am also an international ambassador and I hope to help anyone who is deciding whether they should study at University of Surrey. 

I have several reasons for studying here, mainly connected to a drive to experience a new place. I have always dreamed of studying abroad, but engineering degrees are demanding and I was not able to fit it in. After graduating, I worked in industry for 3 years and I was content. But something was missing – I did not feel fulfilled staying in the same place that I had grown up. I wanted more.

I also have always had a passion for education, so that drove me to start searching for universities abroad. My undergraduate degree is in chemical engineering, but I did not want to work in manufacturing or refining. After experiencing so much existential stress since March 2020, I wanted to do something good with my degree and my future. 

As I searched for universities, I was mostly looking for electrochemistry programs. I didn’t want to study chemical engineering again, I wanted to broaden my horizons, but be relatively familiar with my subject matter. I stumbled on University of Surrey and looked through the departments until I found this degree that I am studying now. It holds promise for impactful careers in renewable energy, but also has a strong electronics foundation that would let me get stable employment if I needed to. Plus, the university is on one central campus and in a town. I don’t enjoy big cities, they are too over stimulating for me, especially when I need to focus on studying. 

There were a few other options, but I chose University of Surrey. Not only because they met the most of my criteria, but they were also the most accessible with their course information and their helpfulness. Conversations with faculty members in my prospective department helped me decide which program I wanted and what options I had before me. I felt secure in my decision. 

While I was packing here, I found the piece of paper I wrote in a therapy session of October 2019. It was a description of where I wanted to be in 5 years, and among my top priorities was living in a new country. It is extremely gratifying to know that I can reassure past-me, that I have made it, and that it’s been one of the best decisions I have ever made. 

Take care!