St Mary’s University London is located in the south west part of the city and is dotted with beautiful Gothic architecture equipped with modern facilities. With international students comprising 10% of the student population, overseas students receive a warm welcome and lots of support and understanding from faculty and staff.  

Situated in a beautiful, green historic campus just 30 minutes from central London, St Mary’s is an ideal place for international students who want to feel valued and at home. With a warm welcome and teaching excellence at its heart, it’s easy to see why St Mary’s has the highest student satisfaction rate in London.

– Gregory Barron, Regional Manager (Middle East, Africa & UK International) St Mary's University, London

SchoolApply interviewed Saurav Ganesh, a first year student at St Mary’s University, to find out what his university experience has been like so far. We at SchoolApply help students with their overall application to study in the UK.

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Location: Twickenham, London, England (UK)

Student Name: Saurav Ganesh

From: India

Graduation: July 2021

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Five words to describe St Mary’s University London: Beautiful, Welcoming, Eventful, Resourceful, Relaxed.

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Saurav Krishna Ganesh, I am 19 years old and I’m in my first year of university at St Mary’s University London. I am originally from Kerala, India but my mother’s family is settled in Bangalore, India so we move between the two places. I was born in Dubai, UAE and that is the only place I have studied and lived before moving here to London. So Dubai is home for me.

What is your academic background?

I completed all my education in Dubai, UAE in two different CBSE schools; from KG1 to 4th grade I was in Gems Kindergarten Starters and then from 5th to 12th grade I studied at Gems Our Own Indian School. The experience in a CBSE school is so different from university here at London, the whole system of education and teaching methods are quite different. My high school experience in Dubai was really great, yet as many people know, going through a CBSE school is not easy and you end up facing a lot of pressure from the board and the school to get good marks. Towards the end, all that pressure did seem beneficial when I got my result, which was an overall of 85% in the commerce stream in Accountancy, Business Studies, Economics, Entrepreneurship and English.

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How did you hear about St Mary’s University London and what made you decide to study in the UK?

One of the reasons I moved here is because the UK is known to have a really high degree value and it is also one of the best places for students to study. Another reason to study in the UK was that my uncle had moved here recently and he offered to let me stay with him which means I could save a lot on accommodation. I was looking for good universities that were also affordable London and St Mary’s seemed like a great option.

Did you have any problems adjusting to life in a new country and university?

I wouldn’t say I had any problems with adjusting because the people in this city and university are very welcoming. However, I did miss my family and my mom’s food a lot but I am all about having different experiences and stepping out of my comfort zone, so eventually I adapted to the place. At first, I thought it would be really hard to get around and talk to people, but everyone is very friendly and helpful which helped me settle in. One way to overcome this hurdle is to be friendly and try talking to new people and exploring the city with them or alone. Since London is so big and beautiful, it's a great place to explore and travel.

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What were your first few days at St Mary’s University like?

I was very surprised how beautiful the campus and university were as soon as I arrived. The university was built in the 1800’s and it was renovated in 2014. It is primarily made up of these historic looking buildings which are really beautiful and I find them quite fascinating. The campus is not massive but it is still quite big – it has a really nice cafe that has views of the lawn and track, some amazing sports facilities, a huge cafeteria and a really nice library. The community is really great because everyone is very friendly and welcoming. On my first day, I was really nervous but I talked to and had dinner with a bunch of new people which was nice and made me less nervous to come in the next day.

What degree are you pursuing? What made you decide on studying this?

I am pursuing my bachelors in Business Management and Finance. I decided to pursue this degree because I always had an interest in the commercial field and was always intrigued by the way businesses run and how people are able to take a risk in their businesses. I am interested in this industry because I want to work for myself and run my own business someday and this course seemed perfect for me to learn what I need to succeed.

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What has your experience been like as an international student at St Mary’s University London?

My experience as an international student has been going really well so far. I have made a couple friends who are from different places and it is interesting because I get to learn a lot about their cultures. Academically speaking, it’s pretty great when people get to tell about their experiences from around the world in relation to the class lecture.

There is not much to do in the area of Twickenham, however, there are a lot of good restaurants and cafes and it is very close to River Thames. Central London is about a 30 minute train ride from the university and there is plenty to do there, so it's a great place to go hang out or go shopping.

There is a department with a dedicated office building that looks into the matters of the international students and everyone on the international team are very friendly and helpful. They do their best to help with whatever issues you may have. I have been here for only 3 months and I have attended two really great events for international students, one of them being Thanksgiving, which was a first time experience for me. The international team is a great and they strive to give all international students an amazing university experience.

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What would you say to international students who are considering studying at St Mary’s University London?

It is a great place to live and study and students are also given a lot of benefits such as discounts on tickets for concerts or movies. St Mary’s University is great because they have really good lecturers and a lot of courses with different combinations. The university is also very sports orientated and they have some of the best sports facilities in the area and really good coaches and teams. There are quite a few different societies to suit everyone’s interests. The university is located in a really nice area which is quiet and lovely. There is a resourceful library and 24-hour study rooms for students that plan on pulling all-nighters. Education-wise it is quite laid back and there is minimal pressure on the students which is a very nice change for a student coming from a CBSE board. I would recommend staying on campus for the 1st year because that’s another experience in itself - I don’t live on campus and I am sort of missing out on that, but I’ve had my share of fun too.

A piece of advice I would like to share is to not continuously convert pounds to the currency you are used to, because the pound value is quite high compared to some countries and converting it will stop you from spending on things you need to. London is relatively more expensive compared to other places in the UK, but it is not as expensive as you think it is. Spend wisely, but don’t stop yourself from spending at all.

If you are interested in applying to St Mary’s University London, click on their SchoolApply profile page and start your application now!