I consider myself very lucky to have been able to experience higher education in the UK. Although I always wanted to pursue my career as a Bollywood actor and singer, my parents repeatedly highlighted the importance of education in securing a good career in the future and encouraged me to pursue my master's degree.
Having completed my undergraduate studies at Dronacharya College in Gurgaon near Delhi, I moved to Edinburgh Napier University in 2006 to study for an MSc in corporate strategy and accounting studies. I fancied a challenge so I moved abroad for my education. Having now gained my master's degree, I can look back and say it was a truly invigorating experience for me.
While undertaking my studies, I performed twice at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which was a great chance to showcase my work.
At first I found the whole experience daunting, juggling the demands of postgraduate study with my acting and singing commitments. It did eventually take its toll and I went through a tough time. I can honestly say that without the support of the staff at Napier, it would have been almost impossible for me to get through it. I really appreciate my university for supporting me throughout.
Higher education allows you to grow into a rounded individual; it improves your communication skills and helps you to present yourself in a professional manner. Not only does it provide the opportunity to gain experience in a great variety of areas, but it also presents you with the tools to deal effectively with difficult situations.
My course at Napier was incredibly practical and immersed me in real-life scenarios. Nowadays, it is very tough facing the world as a young adult and it is particularly demanding for all students during this unfortunate time of recession.
However, the work I undertook during university has provided me with the capabilities to deal with difficult situations, and gaining a degree demonstrates a real dedication to achieving your goals.
No matter which industry you end up working in, you need to be very astute, and the skills you pick up throughout university allow you to develop this.
It is very expensive to study for a degree in the UK. As an international student I was paying about £9,000 a year. It's a real pity that tuition fees are so high that they discourage students from applying. I have taken out a loan to fund my studies, but I realise that this is not an option for everyone.
If my acting and singing career doesn't take off, I will be for ever indebted to my parents, who played a huge part in convincing me to pursue my studies in higher education.
In my three and a half years in the UK, I have gone on to release an album, Baawari, and I have recently finished filming on a Bollywood movie called Mausam - Seasons of Love, due to be released next year.
Despite my chosen career path, I will never forget the lifelong skills I have picked up during my time at university; I draw upon them daily and cannot emphasise enough the importance of higher education for the future generations of students.