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Going to a foreign land in pursuit of further study has enticed many with its offer of worldly experiences and opportunities. Three individuals speak about what it is really like studying abroad.

Anthony Michael

Becauseof its worldwide recognition and long history, Anthony chose the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology to pursue his interior design course.

Having studied previously at a local institution, Anthony says that the learning programme at RMIT was more structured.

“I found the head of department and lecturers more approachable. There was more of a friendship than a strict student-lecturer relationship, which made it easier to seek assistance from them. The programme co-ordinator also set up regular one-to-one meetings to review student progress and for students to voice out concerns.”

According to Anthony, studying in a foreign university will give students international exposure as they mingle with both students and staff from other parts of the world. For a design student, he adds, this is particularly important.

He says those planning to pursue their education at an overseas institution should carry out extensive research beforehand on the chosen university and country. And whilst there, he advises them to make the best of the education offered and find time to join social groups on campus.

Of course, studying in a foreign land comes with challenges and Anthony was not spared. He says having to cope with the changing seasons, especially winter was rather difficult.

“Also because you are not at home, you are not in your comfort zone and being away from your family and friends can be rather tough at times.”

But studying overseas, Anthony continues, taught him to be more independent. For example when pocket money was running out, he took on part-time jobs that included telemarketing and leaflet-distribution to help sustain his lifestyle.

Anthony considered staying on in Melbourne once he graduated but as he was offered a job back in Malaysia, he chose to return home. He has since then moved to London where he works as an interior designer.

If asked to do it all again, Anthony says he would not hesitate in choosing the same institution. “I was very happy with the education I received and the study culture so I will definitely choose the RMIT experience all over again.”

Allan Kwek

The Charles Sturt University in Australia was Kwek’s choice to continue his tertiary education. Kwek studied advertising and says he chose Charles Sturt University because it was linked to his college.

He says that the study culture at the university was different from what he was used to in that people were more willing to participate in classes and were more outspoken, which he found to be good. However, what he found challenging was trying to understand the Australian accent.

Like most students studying overseas, funds were scarce so Kwek had to look for an alternative to supplement his pocket money. “I took on jobs as a chef at a few small restaurants cooking Chinese food. These restaurants allowed me a decent wage for my living expenses,” he says.

After graduating Kwek worked in Australia for two years but soon realised that home is really where the heart is; he decided to come back.

“Even though the wages and the lifestyle is better there, Malaysia is still home to me and I do not regret my decision at all,” Kwek says.

Kwek presently works as an animation producer, working mainly on commercials, TV series and anything that requires graphics or animating and has been in this field for about a year-and-a-half.

In his opinion, employers take higher education seriously but he feels that it does not stop there.

“One must have the passion and knowledge in his chosen field. Take advertising for example, you cannot be an advertiser solely through books as you need the passion for knowledge and selling. You need to be in the mind of consumers and think like them. It’s all about presenting and selling yourself at the end of the day,” he explains.

For those planning to go overseas, Kwek’s advice is to go with an open mind. “It was a good experience for me to wake up to something different and unfamiliar every day. If the opportunity presents itself, leave and come back with knowledge.”

“And when you’re there, never forget your roots.”

Audrey See Tho

A psychology major at the Stony Brook University in New York, See Tho says she chose to study at this university because of its high quality of research and teaching in psychology.

“I also chose the university because it is part of a network of New York state public universities called ‘State University of New York’ and it’s relatively near distance to New York City,” she explains.

See Tho says that everything is discussion-based in class and if you don’t raise your hand and ask questions, you lose out. “Professors are also very willing to mentor students and are always welcoming students to come to their office for questions or just a chat,” she adds.

Studying away from home has helped See Tho attain independence and leadership skills as she had to do everything on her own from grocery shopping to paying the bills. Together with the good, studying abroad brought with it a set of challenges.

“The distance from home also brings various stresses such as homesickness, loneliness and in winter when the sun sets really early, one can easily get depressed,” See Tho says.

She also had to cut down on her spending as she realised she could not just rely on her parents for funds so took up a job in the library as a student assistant.

See Tho says that she would definitely encourage students to study overseas as it has exposed her to so many different people and experiences and she now looks at things from new perspectives.

“New York City has broadened my vision of the world. I have been provided with so many opportunities and have met so many interesting people during my time here,” she elaborates.

Once she graduates, See Tho plans to stay on in the US if she is offered an opportunity. “I do not, however, intend to live here for the rest of my life. Malaysia is my home and I want to bring better changes to my home country with the knowledge I have gained overseas.”

Source by Gregory Basil, New Straits Times MY

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When we signed up for study abroad, we were told in so many words what to expect and what the experience was going to be like. We were told that we would visit historical sites, monuments and museums while also getting the opportunity to experience a different culture while earning college credit.

Well, after embarking on the journey and making it home, I can tell you that those things are true, but what it is more difficult to explain is just how memorable and life changing study abroad can be.

While I’m not going to sit here and say that I suddenly discovered a solution to all my problems while drinking a beer in London or found the meaning of life while sipping on wine in France, I will tell you that the things I saw are something that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

The study abroad I went on was a 10-day trip themed after D-Day, the 1944 Allied invasion of France. Our journey took us over the Atlantic into London, down to Portsmouth, across the English Channel into Normandy and ended in Paris.

Beach of Normandy

While on the beaches of Normandy, I had a great epiphany that I think is worth sharing, one that I think encapsulates the thing that makes study abroad so valuable. What I realized was that no amount of reading, lectures, movies or any other retelling of an event can come close to actually experiencing it for your self.

Only when I was standing on the damp sand of Omaha Beach, staring from the water’s edge back to the towering cliffs, did the magnitude of what the Americans accomplished really sink in. Only when I was standing in a crater on Pointe du Hoc did the true power of the navel warships I had read about truly make sense.

My point is that there is no way to completely explain the feelings and thoughts a place will evoke without being there. That is the true magic of study abroad. Through the program, you can go to those places, experience those emotions and create those memories.

So to those of you who are considering study abroad, I hope this helps inform your decision. Remember, you only live once so get out there and see what the world has to offer.

Source: The Lion’s Roar

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At the register section, Thao Tran, a fulltime student in SCCC commented while waiting in line to pay her tuition fee “My tuition for this fall quarter is cheaper than last quarter because I did not have any English as Second Language (ESL) classes”, she said. One of her friends, Nancy, who is American, was surprised about Tran’s comment. Looking at Tran’s amount, Nancy thought Tran was taking about 30 credits for that quarter because Tran was paying $3,000. She asked Tran why she is taking so many credits this quarter and how she will be able to complete all homework. “They are just 3 classes which are 15 credits”, Tran said. Nancy was astonished and asked Tran “Why is your tuition so expensive? Tran replied “I am an International student so I have to pay more than American students.”

Being an International student means students have to be prepared to pay the higher tuition fee that is often three times than the local students.

Tuan Nguyen – another International student, is saying that he is so busy and being stress with homework. “I have to take at least 12 credits every quarter. However, tuition fee for 12 and 15 credits is not much different so I decide to take 15 credits to save money and time”, he said. One of his host family member asked “Why do International students come to America to study when it is more expensive than their own countries?” Tuan replied that” American education is more valuable in my country to our employers, so when I go back, I will have higher chance of getting the career of my dream.”

According to the Institute of International Education (IIE) – Office of the Spokesman in Washington, DC, the number of International students at colleges and universities in the United States has increased by 8% to an all-time high of 671,616. In 2008/09 the number has increased by 16%. This represents the largest percentage increase in International student enrollments since 1980/81. Those finding were released at the Open Doors conference in 2009, and the annual survey report published by (IIE) with funding from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

International students pay higher tuition as if they were non-residential students. Furthermore, they haven’t previously paid the state taxes. In general, the taxes people pay still contributes to their kid education. More than that, they are required to pay for insurance which is included in the tuition only if they are not already covered in their countries.

Another reason, the international students generally receive their educated, and return home. They are not part of American’s community, and will not contribute to the community wellbeing when they leave. Most students who are from other countries and enrolling in SCCC said they would like to return home to work later.

Sibel- a Turkish student is going to graduate the AA degree in next two quarters, said that she will go back home after she graduates. She said “I will use all knowledge that I have learned to work for my family business. The majority of International student have the same response that American education is worth any price. In theory, again, native students are from American’s community, to whom people wish to give the advantages of education, and once educated they will remain part of the community and enrich it, both by their skills and by the higher taxes they will pay. Therefore, the community gains more from educating native students than overseas ones, and is willing to subsidies them.

Also because the number of oversea students is just increasing really fast, so charging higher fee for overseas students is a way to protect local students. Otherwise, seats at internationally reputed colleges will be flooded by rich students from other countries. The tuition fee is a way to limit the quota for applicants.

In addition, their economic impact—tuition and fees, living expenses for themselves and their dependents, and U.S. support mainly from the schools they attend. As it has been year after year, more than 60 percent International students receive the majority of their funds from personal and family financial assets. The next largest funding source is the college or university they are attending, according to the Institute of International Education (IIE).

Source: New City Collegian, by Trish Tran

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Finding a Job

There has been a lot of coverage in the media surrounding the job market and the high level of competition job seekers face. This is true in some aspects, although there are numerous employers looking to fill positions and new job opportunities are posted on the Internet every day.

Also, many industries are growing and employers are looking for qualified workers. Recently there was a CareerBuilder and CareerRookie.com survey, which revealed that “employers (54 per cent) reported they plan to hire recent…graduates in 2012, up from 46 per cent in 2011, 44 per cent in 2010 and 43 per cent in 2009”. This survey shows that grads and entry level employees are in demand for new hires. If you are currently looking for a job, consider the following tips:

1. Be proactive in all aspects of the job search. Many times this involves taking several approaches to find companies that are hiring, creating connections with those companies, and networking in person. This can include joining social networks, volunteering your time, blogging, and talking to your current connections to see if they can assist in some way.

2. Don’t make excuses for yourself. When it comes down to it, you need to be accountable for making your job search successful. That means not giving up and putting in the time to change your resume, as well as your cover letter, for each job posting. Also, it involves applying for those jobs that you may not necessarily be a perfect candidate for and remaining optimistic about your job search. In all honesty, you are just looking for one job that fits your qualifications.

3. Pursue two or three companies for a job. This is easier than targeting the whole industry and not knowing who you are contacting. You can do this by contacting several people in leadership positions within those companies and making connections with them. They may not have a job for you right now, but if you show initiative and make a good impression then you may be offered a job down the road. People are more willing to engage with you concerning opportunities than you would expect.

4. Make sure to market yourself in interviews. Resumes get you the interview, but it is the impression you make, your communication skills, and your personality that gets you the job. Be prepared to answer questions about your strengths, weaknesses, success stories, and experiences. Explain what you can bring to the table and that you will immediately become an asset to the organization.

5. Show that you are excited to work for them. Express how you feel to the interviewer and that you are eager to work for them. Do your research and communicate what you can offer if you were hired.

Source: http://www.careerbuilder.ca

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Ranking of 48 countries, organized by Universitas 21, looks at various measures of what constitutes a “good” educational system.

While there are any number of well-regarded global rankings of universities and colleges, these don’t reveal anything about national systems of higher education and the environment which different countries provide for their institutions and students. Given the significance of higher education in economic growth and development, it’s important for governments to be able to benchmark their systems. More transparency and clarity is needed to encourage knowledge-sharing, collaboration and development of opportunities for students in all countries.

Today sees the first publication of a new ranking of national HE systems, based on research at the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research at the University of Melbourne into data from 48 countries. The ranking is organised by Universitas 21, an international research network of 24 universities and colleges whose membership works together to encourage international mobility and engagement between staff and students (the network has two Canadian members, the University of British Columbia and McGill University).

The ranking is based on 20 different measures that the researchers believe are critical to what makes a “good” HE system, grouped under four umbrella headings:

  1. resources (investment by government and private sector)
  2. output (research and its impact, as well as the production of an educated workforce which meets labour market needs)
  3. connectivity (international networks and collaboration which protects a system against insularity) and
  4. environment (government policy and regulation, diversity and participation opportunities).

Population size is accounted for in the calculations.

Canada is placed third globally in the ranking, behind only the U.S. and Sweden, and above international competitors for overseas students such as the U.K. and Australia. Its position is based primarily on being ranked first for resources – a reflection of the level of investment into the system – and third for outputs. Canada’s position may have been higher but for lower ratings for environment (29th, a reflection of a relative lack of diversity in terms of types of HE institutions and the composition of the student population) and connectivity (17th, meaning relatively less international collaboration and involvement of overseas students in research).

universitas_1
Source: Universitas 21.

Generally, there is a strong relationship between resources and output – illustrating the importance of funding support. Of the top eight countries in output, only the U.K. and Australia are not in the top eight for resources. There is some evidence of groupings of neighbouring countries. The four Nordic countries are all in the top seven; four east Asian countries (Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan and Korea) are clustered together at ranks 18 to 22; Eastern European countries (Ukraine, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovenia) are together in the middle range; and the Latin American countries (Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico) also cluster together. While many countries don’t feel they can be a world leader, they do want to remain competitive with their neighbours.

Government funding of higher education as a percentage of GDP is highest in Finland, Norway and Denmark, but when private expenditures are added in, funding is highest in the U.S., Korea, Canada and Chile. Investment in research and development is highest in Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland. The U.S. dominates the total output of research journal articles, but Sweden is the biggest producer of articles per capita. The nations whose research has the greatest impact are Switzerland, the Netherlands, the U.S., the U.K. and Denmark. While the U.S. and U.K. have the world’s top institutions in rankings, the depth of world-class higher education institutions per capita is best in Switzerland, Sweden, Israel and Denmark.

The highest participation rates in higher education are in Korea, Finland, Greece, the U.S., Canada and Slovenia. The countries with the largest proportion of workers with a higher-level education are Russia, Canada, Israel, the U.S., Ukraine, Taiwan and Australia. Finland, Denmark, Singapore, Norway and Japan have the highest ratio of researchers in the economy.

universitas_2
Source: Universitas 21.

International students form the highest proportions of total student numbers in Australia, Singapore, Austria, the U.K. and Switzerland. International research collaboration is most prominent in Indonesia, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Denmark, Belgium and Austria. China, India, Japan and the U.S. rank in the bottom 25 percent of countries for international research collaboration. In all but eight countries at least 50 percent of students were female, the lowest being in India and Korea.

We hope the Universitas 21 Ranking will be recognised as an important reference point for governments and everyone involved in HE, as a means of ensuring recognition of the value of HE to economic development and the international standing of a country’s institutions.

Taken from universityaffairs.ca by Ross Williams

Ross Williams is a professor at the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, University of Melbourne.

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