Jennifer Dobler - U.S. First Year Postgraduate Advisor
Jennifer graduated with a degree in history from Gonzaga University. She lasted a year at a desk job before she quit to backpack Europe for over a month. Her trip ended in London, which led to her time with Across the Pond as a graduate student at the University of East Anglia. After earning her master’s degree in 2014, Jennifer was inspired to help others do the same, which led her to become part of the Across the Pond advising team. She loves having the opportunity everyday to help students study in the UK!
You have a master's degree in Modern British History from the University of East Anglia and a bachelor's degree in History from Gonzaga University. What inspired you to study abroad?
When I was 20 I spent a wonderful summer studying abroad in Italy. Shortly thereafter, in the summer of 2012, I decided to go one step further and backpack through Western Europe. I had the time of my life and went to 10 countries in five weeks, ending my trip in London during the last week of the Paralympic games. During my time in England I became fascinated with the British perspective of history and I decided that I wanted to continue my education in the UK. Within a few weeks of coming back to the States I had begun to work with a representative at Across The Pond to help make it possible.
Other than providing you with a career you may have never thought of before, how would you say Across The Pond has changed your life?
Across The Pond did everything they could to ensure that I was able to study in the UK. Initially, they helped me to expand my search of possible degrees and assisted me in pinpointing the program and university that interested and suited my studies and experience the most. In addition, they informed me about funding and scholarships and helped me through the visa application process, ensuring that everything was in order for me to pursue my master’s degree in the UK.
In short, Across The Pond was integral in every step of the application process, from helping to match me with university programs to making sure everything was in order for my visa application; it would have been nearly impossible to navigate the entirety of the application process without their help.
From your experience as a grad student in the UK, what do you think makes the UK such a great place for international education? What about graduate degrees specifically?
In terms of my personal academic focus on Anglo-American history I found the British historical perspective to be incredibly unique and not something I would have been able to find in the United States. Generally speaking, the UK is a great place for international education because of the depth of history and experience as well as the proximity of new cultures, which all help to lend a different academic and life perspective for the student.
Additionally, British universities tend to be less expensive and are often ranked higher academically than American universities. Another benefit of graduate study in the UK is the specificity of the degrees, which enables students to become experts and really focus in on the area of their subject that interests them the most. Therefore, the student is not only gaining an invaluable and incredibly in-depth academic perspective and new life experience, but is often times doing it for less money and less time at a higher ranked university.
How does your experience abroad help you advise students better?
My experience abroad helps me to advise students better because when my students have a question I know how to help them; I am able to relate to how they are feeling because I have been in their shoes. I have felt daunted in the face of the application process, confused when it comes to funding and visa information, excited when I submitted my applications and begun to get accepted into universities, and a little anxious in the final weeks before I left for the UK. In addition, I travelled throughout Great Britain during my studies and immersed myself in the culture, so I am eager to answer any questions that students might have about what it is like to live, study, and work in the UK.
Volunteering is clearly in your blood. As a passionate volunteer for various schools and organizations, do you recommend volunteering to Across The Pond applicants?
I would definitely recommend volunteering to Across The Pond applicants. Volunteering is a great way to feel part of the community and immerse yourself in your surroundings. It can also prove beneficial when applying for job opportunities on your return home as it shows how involved you were in your community and/or university.
What is a typical day of work like for you?
My day starts fairly early in the morning, as I organize and answer my urgent emails. I then participate in meetings with my colleagues or with our partner universities to learn more about the programs they are offering and what it is like to study at their university. I then spend a large part of my day going through my emails and talking to students, answering their questions, and helping them through the application process. Near the end of my day I work on company projects and go through my inbox again before signing off for the day.
What is the most important advantage of studying in the United Kingdom through Across the Pond as opposed to independently?
The great advantage of applying to study in Great Britain through Across The Pond has to do with our relationship with our partner universities. We work closely with our university partners to ensure that our students are matched with a program and university that fits them best. In addition, our relationship with our partner universities helps us to better understand the application process. We know what the universities are looking for in a student, and how they should be making their application.
Without Across The Pond’s help selecting a university and preparing a successful application can feel daunting and appear confusing; it is, therefore, our close relationship with our partner universities and the knowledge it gives us that our applicant’s will find the most invaluable.
Of all the universities in the UK, what universities do you receive the most interest in? What university do you find is forgotten about and should be taken advantage of more often?
I tend to receive the most interest in our London based universities, however as someone who studied outside of London I think our other universities should be emphasized more for people who would like to experience more of Great Britain.
What is the best piece of advice you give aspiring postgraduate degree students who want to study in the United Kingdom?
The best piece of advice I can give aspiring postgraduate degree students is to consider the investment you are making. You are partaking in a degree at a world class university, and while it may seem expensive, it is an invaluable experience that can give you a new academic and cultural perspective and change your life.
What do you love most about your job?
The best part of my job is my opportunity to speak to and correspond directly with our applicants. I enjoy knowing they will be able to improve and further their education by pursuing this once in a lifetime experience.