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Maja Lie

April 14th, 2022

Why I chose to study maths at LSE as an undergrad and postgrad

0 comments | 1 shares

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Maja Lie

April 14th, 2022

Why I chose to study maths at LSE as an undergrad and postgrad

0 comments | 1 shares

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

When I tell people I’m from California, the first question I often get is: why did you come to London for university? While it’s true that the US has many reputable universities and California is associated with sunnier weather, I didn’t apply to any of them because I didn’t feel like I fit there.

During high school, I was lucky enough to travel to Europe frequently while visiting family. My mom is Dutch, so I have dual citizenship, and my parents instilled a love for travelling and expanding my global perspective. I grew to love London through my visits. It’s a city with everything: it’s modern but full of history and maintains traditions, there’s always something going on, and it has the international makeup of tourists and residents which I so value. Most of all, when I visited London, I didn’t feel like a visitor. I felt like I belonged. So when it came time to apply to universities, London was where I knew I wanted to be.

One of the biggest reasons I wanted to come to London for studying was the international community. Because of my personal background, I consider myself a global citizen and value international perspectives. I was born and raised in the US, and I wanted my further education to be somewhere different. Geographically, London serves as a hub to everywhere in Europe, so it’s a natural convergence of different cultures.

It may sound trivial to people who have grown up in Europe, but I love the fact that you can take an hour plane ride and arrive in another country, whereas in California you’d end up still in the same state after an hour. As someone who loves travelling, the potential to travel during my studies was certainly attractive. Even more attractive was the possibility of working abroad after my studies. This opened so many doors and nothing is off-limits. Who knows where I will end up after my master’s?

A second reason I wanted to study in the UK was because of the teaching approach. I knew I wanted to study Mathematics so the idea of getting my degree in 3 years rather than four was appealing to me. It was economically efficient and would mean that I could potentially start working earlier than some of my American friends. Of course, I ended up pursuing my Master’s, so I got that fourth year of schooling in anyways.

Dr Jozef Skokan teaching Discrete Mathematics to a class in the Mathematics Department.

I had one thing down: I wanted to study in London. The second thing was deciding a university. Given that it was rare for anyone from my hometown to go to university abroad, I had limited resources at high school and didn’t know who to turn to for advice. I had to do a lot of research on my own, but I also got help from a consultant in London.

Although I wanted to study Pure Mathematics originally, she recommended applying to LSE’s Mathematics with Economics course. I was sceptical, but the programme was mostly maths and I had heard about LSE before because of its international reputation, so I did. It ended up being one of the best decisions for me. I didn’t fully appreciate the economics portion of the degree until I got to LSE, but I’m glad that they were part of my course. Economics changed the way I looked at the rest of the world and made me a better thinker. I also thought that LSE100 was a compelling module, as much as first and second years may lament over it. Ultimately, I found it valuable to be in a classroom with people from different departments approaching the same problem together. Without it, my modules might have felt more monotonous.

Particularly for the Maths with Economics course at LSE, I also liked that year after year built upon each other and modules were accumulative. I really appreciated that I was forced to retain information from previous modules as I progressed through the programme. I was also taught that in order to succeed at the end of my degree, I would have to really absorb and understand my material rather than memorise and regurgitate information. Although this was hard for me to get used to in my first year, it’s also why I decided to continue my graduate education here rather than going back home, and I think it has made me become a better mathematician.

I also had other reasons to pick LSE. The university has a strong, international alumni network, which I know will come in handy in future. My dad always told me how important networking was for your career, and with LSE’s network all over the globe, the opportunities available to me are endless. LSE also has an excellent Careers Centre and reputation. I wanted to be prepared for the rest of my life when I graduated university. LSE has the tools and network that has reassured me time and time again that I will be. Being in the heart of London and surrounded by faculty and students that come from all over, I have never felt more connected and truly unlimited. As I’m considering pursuing a PhD, I feel that LSE has instilled in me a confidence and global, multidisciplinary perspective and that I can go anywhere in the world.

So, for all the wonderful things people say I’ve missed out on by foregoing an experience at an American university, I regret nothing. I think I’ve had so many more of my own amazing experiences by choosing LSE and choosing different.

About the author

Maja Lie

I am both an alum and a current student at the LSE having studied Mathematics with Economics for my undergraduate degree and continuing to study Applicable Mathematics as a postgrad. I love learning languages, whether spoken or programmed, and am addicted to traveling. I am also not-so-secretly a huge nerd and Marvel fan.

Posted In: Applying: Masters | Applying: Undergraduate

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