Category Archives: Education

What You Need to Know About Getting an MBA

If you’ve decided to get your MBA, congratulations. You’ve made a smart choice. These days a bachelor’s degree doesn’t go as far as it used to. Employers are looking for candidates with advanced degrees, and an MBA is one of the most versatile. It can open a lot of doors for you.

An MBA program takes about two years to complete if you chose to be a full-time student, and a bit longer if you go part-time. If you’re already in the workforce, the best option is an online program. These programs allow you to fit school around your schedule and work at your own pace. You’ll log into a special portal on the school’s website to attend lectures, chat with your classmates, and turn in assignments. If you decide to go this route, make sure you have a computer with a webcam and at least 4GB of RAM, and a microphone. You’ll also need a high speed internet connection. https://onlinemba.ku.edu/ is a good program to start with.

Once you register for your program, you’ll want to decide what to specialize in. There are a lot of options, including Finance, International Business, Marketing, Accounting and Entrepreneurship. Some schools also offer specializations in IT, Management, Non-Profit, Healthcare Management and Media. Choose your specialization carefully. You want to choose something you truly love and can excel in. To help you decide, the specialization should be one that will allow you to use your personal strengths and help you attain your career goals. If you’re not sure what those are, schedule an appointment with a career counselor or coach to help you pinpoint them.

Most schools offer financial aid, and if you’re already employed, see if your employer offers tuition reimbursement or assistance. Try not to take out much in student loans if you can help it. These days a lot of schools offer payment plans that can really help make getting your degree affordable.

If you chose a program that requires you to attend classes in person in the evenings or weekends, let your boss know. They’ll probably be glad to not give you overtime on school nights or otherwise help you succeed. Once you’ve completed your degree, hopefully they will also reward you with a promotion or raise. If you’re not employed, add your new degree to your resume and start applying. You’re guaranteed to get more attention now!

Science is also for Women

images-33There’s no denying hard numbers. According to most estimates, men outnumber women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. In recent years, there have been concerted efforts to both identify why women are less likely than men to study and pursue STEM subjects and to encourage female interest in STEM fields. Still, in the US women make up just under a quarter of STEM employees while representing nearly half the country’s workforce. And the same applies to countries around the world. In the UK, fewer female STEM graduates go on to work in STEM industries and while more than 40% of British mathematics students are female, only 6% go on to professorships in the field. Even in the Nordic region, where women have impressive parity in the workforce, some female STEM graduates struggle to find job opportunities. And in Asia, only three countries were able to demonstrate equality in the male-to-female ratio of scientific researchers.

Historically, women have been under-represented in the STEM fields, but given the recent efforts made by countries, governments, and educational institutions to rectify the disparities, it seems surprising that women are still so outnumbered in STEM industries. It’s even more surprising when one realizes that STEM fields are prime occupations for female graduates. And here’s why.

Overwhelming support, but little recognition

Governments around the world recognize that the gender gap in STEM fields is no laughing matter. In fact, the lack of women in STEM fields is a major concern for some countries, where women make up a significant part of the workforce, and their absence in STEM fields indicates a pretty hefty loss of revenue. In Scotland, for example, the lack of women in STEM occupations represents more than £150million in income. It’s not surprising then that countries and organizations around the world are working to encourage women to pursue STEM studies and enter the workforce. Mentorship programs are one of the most popular forms of initiatives because many experts believe that women fail to become interested in STEM subjects due to a lack of female role-models in the sector. The Million Women Mentors program (USA) and the National Association of Women Entrepreneurs in Malaysia are just two of many initiatives aimed at bringing women in STEM fields together. Mobility and retention programs, like the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program and the Science in Australia Gender Equality program, also strive to address the challenges women face in STEM studies and careers. Still, women remain marginalized in specific areas of the STEM sector, and when organizations like the American Chemical Society give out awards, men are disproportionately represented.

Women are in high demand, but don’t realize it

But all these initiatives and encouragement are not without some positive results. In fact, there are indications that the future of women in STEM fields is looking brighter. First, STEM student numbers are not nearly as disparate as the workforce. While men still significantly outnumber women in engineering and computer sciences, most of the other STEM sectors show growing equality, and in some areas, like biology, women outnumber men. And employers want to hire female STEM graduates. Most industries now recognize that diversity is important, and in the STEM sector women represent a much-needed demographic. So why are women still outnumbered by men. Some research suggests that the historical lack of women in STEM fields has created a self-fulfilling prophecy, where women fail to apply for or engage with STEM careers because they believe they will not be considered. But new figures indicate otherwise. In at least one study, researchers found that when employers considered an equally qualified male and female candidates, the female candidate was selected nearly 70% of the time. Other statistics show that companies with female leadership have better investment returns and that diversity in the workplace equals greater employee retention rates.

Job Offer Too Good To Be True

We all know by now that the internet is full of tricks and traps – rich princes, dead uncles, magic pills, and prizes for the millionth visitor are all just gimmicks aimed at emptying our pockets and stealing our identities. But for recent graduates, who often send out dozens, if not hundreds, of job applications using internet sites and applications, it can be difficult to tell the pros from the cons. Scammers are getting more sophisticated by the day, and recent graduates seeking jobs are targets, so here are some rules to follow as you go out into the wild world of job searches.

1. Don’t part with your money or identity

The first rule of thumb for avoiding job scams is that no legitimate organization will every ask you to pay up front for anything. Whether it’s selling knives (they promise you’ll earn back the price of the demo set in a week!) to overseas jobs with six-digit salaries (just send money to cover the visa processing fee), if a job or company wants you to pay before you’ve met in person or read and signed the contract, you should be suspicious. Don’t arrange to send (or receive) money, don’t give out personal information like your social security number or passport details, and don’t agree to send on goods or currency. These are all major red-flags and should tell you that something is not right.

  2. Google EVERYTHING

That’s why you should Google everything, even offers that seem legitimate. Scammers are getting craftier, and many schemes go to extreme measures to look real. Some even use the names or logos of actual companies and firms, but a quick search should reveal the more prominent scams. Visit the website of the legitimate company, check LinkdIn for the recruiter, and Google the email address. You’ll discover the frauds in no time, and if the job is legitimate, you’ll have acquired some good background for the interview. Speaking of websites and emails, remember that real job offers will come from corporate email accounts, not Hotmail or Yahoo accounts, and legitimate corporations will have a solid online footprint.

3. Pick good sources

Remember when you were writing research papers and your professors stressed that it was important to pick good internet sources? Well, the same goes for job searches. If you’re getting desperate to find a job, it might be tempting to reply to that sketchy offer from craigslist, but it’s a better idea to stick with trusted job-seeking sources like LinkdIn, Milkround, Monster, and other well-known sites. Remember that it’s a good sign if the job is listed on multiple sites.

4. Follow the news

Scammers can target anyone, anywhere, but there are areas and populations that are more frequently targeted than others. International students can find themselves victims of scams because they’re more likely to be looking for jobs abroad or remote employment opportunities, and companies in countries that are popular with international job-seekers may be used more frequently as covers to target graduates. If you’re living abroad and looking for a job, keep up-to-date on the news – news organizations are quick to pick up on active scams and will inform the public. If you live in or are seeking a job in an area that has a high rate of scam job schemes, be extra cautious when applying for jobs or responding to offers.

5. It can be too good to be true

In the end, remember that if it seems too good to be true, it’s probably a scam. Maybe it’s an unsolicited job offer, a job-listing with an outrageous salary offer, a work-from-home position that promises riches, or a highly-skilled position that requires no experience, but if it seems improbable, do a little research. Graduates are rarely contacted if they’ve not applied for a position, and while the internet and global economy are making freelance and remote jobs more lucrative and possible, they’re never ‘easy-money.’ And if you’re still unsure, simply contact the company directly. If it’s a hoax, you’ll suss it out immediately, and if it’s real, you’ll have shown some impressive initiative.

The Smart City of the Future

unduhan-19Last autumn, Paris hosted the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21). The conference, held annually since 1994, marked a united effort by the members to halt climate change. The Paris Agreement will reinforce our commitment to limiting global warming to a maximum of 2°C.  COP 22 will take place in Marrakech in 2016.

France has also recently hosted at Versailles in 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Competition, hosting 20 teams from 16 countries and 3 continents. France hosts this event again in 2016.

Again in 2014, the 21st Century Club invited over 100 industrial leaders from France and China to Bordeaux to collaborate on Smart Cities. The host countries of 2014, 2015 and 2016 are significant because France and Morocco, French-speaking countries, are particularly committed to creating a carbon-neutral economy, leading the way worldwide, in particular in Europe and North Africa.

France, since 2012 has produced over 90% of all electricity from zero-carbon sources hydroelectricity and wind power, and Morocco pledges to do the same by 2030.  Carbon-neutral and green energy are priority in France. Leading the charge are Engineering Schools such as HEI (Hautes Etudes D’Ingénieur). HEI focuses on innovation and specialization based on a core of research and development. HEI graduates have relevant, marketable skills that set them on the path to career success in both traditional and emerging industries.

Smart Cities

HEI offers programs at the cutting edge of developing industrial sectors, like Smart Cities and Sustainable Urban Development. A Master’s of Science and Engineering Smart Cities from HEI gives students the necessary skills and experience for careers today and in the future. But what are Smart Cities, and what sorts of professionals will build them?

Smart Cities are interesting to define because they are by nature, unique to the needs and personalities of individual urban spaces. All Smart Cities have a foundation in their citizens, the city’s processes, infrastructures and technology. Many cities around the world are adopting Smart City initiatives. Urbanization has become so prevalent that it has elevated many cities, like Brussels, Seoul, Bogota, and many more, to be even more important than the countries themselves accounting for over 40 percent of the National GDP. Frost & Sullivan identifies a market potential of $1.5 trillion globally for smart cities in Energy, Transportation, Healthcare, Building, Infrastructure, and Governance.

European Smart Cities like Barcelona, Paris, London, Nice, Amsterdam and Stockholm are Smart City precursors using technology and communications for safer, cleaner, and more intuitive urban spaces. Other cities around the world, in Brazil: Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and in: Korea: Songdo, Seoul, are using Smart City technologies to do everything from monitoring pollution to producing crowd-sourced data models. The Smart Cities Master’s program offered by HEI introduces students to the role of engineering in Smart-City development and gives them the professional skills needed to compete.

Experts predict that major cities like Chicago, Tokyo, London, Hong Kong, and San Francisco will be Smart Cities within the next five years, and France is already a leader in Smart-City development.

France is partner with India to transform cities like Nagpur, Chandigarh, and Puducherry, into Smart Cities. The Smart Cities Mission in India has brought Smart City status to 25 different municipalities, the need is so urgent.  Cities like Wuhan and Tianjin in China have joined a massive U.K.-China initiative, pairing with Manchester, Bristol and others.  The 21st Century Club initiated a similar program with leaders from France and China in 2014. Engineers with Smart-City expertise are in high demand everywhere around the world, as more and more cities adopt policies aimed at integrating technology and sustainability.

Get Involved With Alumni Associations

adAdmit it. The first time you got an email from your school’s alumni association asking for a donation, you were a bit taken aback. After four (or more) years of university, you’ve probably written quite a few checks and may have a considerable amount of student debt. Even if you’ve already secured a graduate position, you probably don’t feel financially ready to start donating.

You may think that alumni donations are for rich, successful people who have had time to accrue high flying jobs, pay off mortgages, and start college funds for their own children. But alumni associations aren’t just charitable organizations. Yes, they rely heavily on the gifts of former students, but they also offer former students a wealth of opportunities. Every alumni association is different, so here are just a few of the many reasons to consider joining yours.

1. Networking opportunities

We’ll start with the obvious reason. One of the main purposes of alumni associations is to support a network of former graduates who will, in turn, help to raise the profile of the university. Just like most other university student organizations, alumni associations aim to bring together like-minded individuals. But unlike sororities, fraternities, and other student organizations, alumni programs are open to all graduates and offer a broader networking scope. If you’re heading to graduation in a couple of months or have just finished your degree, joining your school’s alumni association is a good way to get a foot (or three) in the door. Contact your alumni association to see what sort of networking opportunities they offer. Some school’s host job fairs. Others have mentor programs for graduates that pair outgoing students with alumni in similar career fields. And remember that with alumni associations, quality can definitely trump quantity. In fact, many small, private liberal arts colleges have some of the most active and effective alumni associations.

2. Career building tools

One of the things to remember about alumni associations is that they want you to succeed. Of course, they’re hoping that you’ll use your success to help the association and university, but successful graduates are a university’s best asset. It’s no surprise then that most alumni associations offer a variety of career services. These can be anything from the aforementioned job fairs to things like resume workshops, job postings, and online resources for job-seekers. And most of these services are offered free of charge to alumni members. Remember the mentor programs we mentioned? These can be great tools for building your career or finding ways to maximize your earning potential.

3. Benefits

But alumni associations aren’t just about jobs and recruiting new students. When you were a student at your university, you were part of a community that offered all sorts of exciting perks – free concerts, student discounts, poetry readings, art exhibits, library access, sporting events, and numerous other things that made your university unique and dynamic. And university alumni associations understand that even after graduation, many students continue to feel connected to their university, or associate a part of their identity with the institution. That’s why many alumni associations continue to offer former students ways to keep their connection with the university. Many associations host special alumni social events, and others give members free tickets to university sporting events, life-time email services, insurance and banking services, and, of course, discounts. You might expect that alumni would get discounted university merchandise, but alumni associations often offer discounts on other things like hotels, rental cars, restaurants, and other services around the world.

4. Give back

But remember that your university provided you with numerous educational opportunities and that your alumni association isn’t just about discounts and job offers. Whether you know it or not, your school’s alumni association was probably instrumental in your success, and while most universities hope that their students’ successes post-graduation will promote the school’s reputation and encourage others to consider matriculation, one of the main purposes of alumni associations is to recruit new students. Plus, alumni associations are great resources for incoming students – many award scholarships (funded by donations from alumni) and the strength of a school’s alumni association can be a deciding factor for incoming students. And alumni associations aren’t just for domestic students. Many universities with aspiring international programs depend on their alumni to spread the word, and alumni recommendations carry a lot of weight with prospective students. So whether you sign up for membership, send a generous donation, or offer to serve as a mentor, there are many ways that your alumni association will help you help your school.

So, if you’re looking for a way to maximize the potential of your degree and give back to your university at the same time (while maintaining access to that all-important Home v. Rival football

Tips for Returning Home

When you first started planning your study abroad experience, you probably worried about language barriers, culture shock, new customs and foods, making friends, and getting lost. But now that you’ve been abroad for weeks, months, or years, you might wonder at all the fuss. Things that were foreign and stressful have now become familiar and routine, and you finally feel at home in your host country…just in time to pack your bags and return to your real home. Typical. Hopefully you’ve had such an amazing time abroad that the prospect of returning to your ‘real’ life in your home country makes you just a bit apprehensive. Don’t worry – most international students and ex-pats struggle a bit on the return home. But if you give yourself time to readjust and keep some simple rules in mind, you’ll find the transition a lot easier.

1. Beware of ‘reverse-culture shock’

When you prepared to study abroad, you were probably warned that you would face some form of culture shock upon arrival, and now you have all sorts of stories about the ways in which your host-country caught you off guard. The thing is, the same can happen when you return home. Whether it’s differences in food (or portion sizes), the way people behave, or the way things are done, there are many things about your home country that you may have forgotten or never noticed before, but which will now seem alien and possibly ridiculous after your time away. Try to keep this in perspective. Yes, monster-sized convenience meals could seem wasteful and unappetizing after months of Vietnamese street food, or you might find it difficult to transition back to a nine-to-five work day from the siesta culture of Italy. But if you can view your home country the way you did your host country and try to understand the ‘why’ of things, you’ll find the transition a lot easier. Just remember that it takes time, so don’t expect to be back to your ‘normal’ self hours after going through customs, and don’t be surprised if you feel a bit out of place.

2. Understand that no one will fully understand

If you tried to explain to a local in your host country what you found so strange or surprising about their culture, they may have been sympathetic but probably didn’t fully understand. The same will be true on the return home. Your friends and family may be interested to hear about your adventures, but unless they were there with you, they won’t fully understand everything that was new, amazing, frustrating, and exhilarating about studying and living abroad. Realize that this is okay, and be patient and courteous. Don’t inundate your family and friends with all the details of life overseas. Answer questions that are asked, but understand that most people just want to hear that you had a great time, ate some amazing new foods, and saw that one really famous landmark. And as much as you might want to sit and deconstruct the differences between your home and host countries, realize that for many people back home your new enthusiasm for bullet trains, socialized medicine, or flexible time-keeping may come across as overly critical or disloyal.

3. Keep in touch while abroad

One way to avoid the inevitable information dump once your return home is to maintain regular contact while abroad. While this can be difficult depending on time zones, logistics, and technology, it will help to continue relationships with your friends and family back home. You don’t have to call or text multiple times per day, but try to keep your loved ones in the loop while you’re away – arrange to call or email regularly, and don’t monopolize your communication or correspondence with news from abroad. Homecoming football games and family birthdays may seem boring when you’re trekking through the Australian outback or learning Korean, but news from home will help you keep a sense of continuity, and will show the people back home that you may be having the time of your life abroad, but you still care about home. Even better, keep a blog or photo-journal while your away and share it with all your friends and family. They’ll be able to keep track of your adventures on their own time, and you won’t feel the need to inundate everyone with a full run-down of your life overseas once you return. Plus, you can keep the blog going so that your new friends abroad can hear about life back home.

4. Prepare for and embrace change

Keeping in touch with friends and family back home is essential to a smooth transition, but it’s inevitable that you will miss out on major and minor things while you’re gone. Still, many returning study abroad students express a paradoxical sense that home is both very much the same and very different. Of course, life went on while you were away and you need to anticipate that your friends and family will have changed and moved on without you. But you’ve changed as well, as has your relationship with everything that was once familiar. Don’t be afraid of the change, but don’t feel that you need to revert to your old self. Your travels will have changed the way you see the world, and that’s a good thing.

 

Study in Multiple Countries

Many university study abroad programs used to encourage students to study abroad during their junior year. This wisdom was based on the idea that most students would be well-established in their degree field, but would still have time upon return to take any additional requirements and still graduate within four years. But the value of international education has outstripped traditional ideas of academic security, and more and more students are looking for ways to earn their degrees abroad. Still many students imagine that studying abroad multiple times or long-term is completely out of reach for the average student.

Luckily, governments around the world realize the value of international students and campuses around the world are ready and waiting for students from abroad. So why wait? Grab your passport and read on to find out why you should earn your degree abroad!

1. It’s not expensive

Only 10% of American students study abroad, and one of the major deterrents is the perceived costs of international study. And even those students who realize the value of a study abroad experience often believe that their funds will only cover a short-term semester or year program. But the truth is that studying abroad doesn’t have to be expensive, and in some cases completing your degree abroad could be more affordable than staying domestic. Of course, there will always be countries, universities, and programs that can break the bank but if you choose wisely, you can study in one or more locations overseas without wracking up a ton of student debt. If you want to maintain a domestic presence, start by considering tuition-exchange programs. Your school’s study abroad office can help you identify programs where your tuition (and sometimes room and board) will be the same as your home institution. And you’re not limited to a single tuition-exchange experience, so can study psychology in the Netherlands, round off your Spanish minor in Peru, and complete your honors project in Indonesia without paying more for tuition than you would at home.

But what if you want to earn your entire degree abroad? Again, it doesn’t have to be expensive. There are many countries around the world where tuition is low or free for international students, and while living costs can vary from country to country if you do your research a degree abroad could cost a fraction of a four-year program at home. Universities in Germany and Norway are tuition-free, even for overseas students, and in Brazil, Slovenia, and France students at public universities pay only nominal fees. Some countries, like Poland, make it easy for international students to pay tuition feesgradually while others allow international students to pay the same low fees as domestic students.

2. You’ll learn languages

One of the biggest benefits of spending as much time abroad as possible will be the chance to learn new languages. It goes without saying that the longer you spend immersed in a language, the more likely you are to learn and retain your new knowledge. And the great news is, you don’t have to learn the language before you go! International students are a major resource for universities around the world, and you’ll find English-language programs in almost every country. Finland and Sweden both offer numerous courses in English, which means you can study sociology, or computer programming, or music by day, and practice your Scandinavian language skills after class. And while campus-hopping may seem counter-intuitive for language acquisition, for some students it’s the ideal way to perfect and diversify their language skills. For instance, students who study Spanish (currently the second most -spoken language in the world) can benefit from nomadic studies. Like English, Spanish varies according to country and region, so three semesters in Spain, followed by a year in Mexico, topped off with semesters in Argentina, Chile, and Honduras will give a Spanish-language student broad exposure to the variances of the language.

3. You’re not alone

Of course, planning to study abroad long-term or in multiple locations can seem daunting, and it doesn’t matter if it’s tuition-exchange or tuition-free, if you can’t figure out the logistics you’ll never get your feet off the ground. But don’t worry. Study abroad is a priority in many countries, and there are many resources out there for students who want to complete degrees abroad or campus-hop their way to a diploma. There are scholarships, like the Fulbright and Gilman programs, that work to send students abroad. The Erasmus+ Program focuses on student mobility in Europe and abroad. In the US, government organizations like Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs want more American students to study abroad. If you’re enrolled in a university, visit your school’s study abroad office to find out more about initiatives for study abroad, or find directly here the program that’s right for you.

Science Graduates

If you’ve spent the last few years working on your postgraduate degree in science, you’ve probably accrued a staggering amount of impressive experiences. You may have published papers, worked as a lab assistant, attended conferences, taught and tutored undergraduates, contributed to groundbreaking studies, and most likely, you’ve completed an enormous amount of original research. But how can all this valuable experience help you get a job, and how do you present your skills and potential to prospective employers? First things first: if you’re applying for jobs outside of academia or research, skip the curriculum vitae (CV) and draft a smashing resume instead. A CV, especially a well-padded one, will only hold you back in the industry job market. Instead, follow these rules for creating an eye-catching resume that will have you up to your ears in interviews.

1. State your personal objective

One of the main problems with academic CVs is that they give too much information. Employers in industry are faced with dozens, hundreds, and sometimes thousands of applicants and they’re not going to hunt through six pages of publications, conferences, workshops, coursework, and research projects to figure out if you’re the right person for a consultancy position. Instead, state clearly at the beginning of your resume what type of position you’re seeking and why. Keep it short, simple, and on-target. Try: “Applicant seeks an engaging position as statistical analyst in nano-biology or bio-engineering” or “Seeking position as project manager in human-development and smart-city technology.”

2. Do your research

Other big mistakes that academic applicants make: outdated forms of address and information-overload on resumes and cover letters. The internet makes it easy, and practically mandatory, to research the position, corporation, and hiring team before you apply. And if you’re listing research skills as one of your qualifications, your application material should indicate that you are actually capable of finding all the relevant information. Demonstrate your research skills on your resume by only listing experience and qualifications that fit or enhance those required for the position. Address your cover letter to the hiring manager and try to use keywords from the job listing in your letter. Reference background and interests that are related to the industry. If your skills are not clearly applicable to the position, use the cover letter to demonstrate how they are transferable.

3. Highlight your skills

Speaking of skills, at this stage, your resume should be more about what you’re capable of than what you have done in the past. Forget about chronological education lists, publications, and awards and focus instead on experiences that demonstrate your abilities relevant to the position. If you’re applying for a position as team-leader, focus on your role in group projects and collaborative research. Considering a role as a consultant? Make sure your presentation, communication, and networking skills are evident. Don’t be afraid to include your advanced degrees, even if the position doesn’t require them. But if you’re worried that a Masters or PhD will be seen as over qualification don’t hesitate to focus on your transferable skills and play-down your academic achievements by moving them to the bottom of your resume.

4. Utilize Templates…

You may think that you know how a resume should look, but there are different styles for different jobs and sectors. Do a bit of research online and see what kinds of resumes are best suited to the position. Try livecareer.com or other resume-template sites to get an idea about the various styles and forms. Templates can also help you identify the kinds of information you should include on your resume.

5. But make them your own

Remember, you want your application to stand out. If your resume contains lots of relevant and unique experiences and skills but looks like a clone of every other resume submitted for the position, you may not make the cut. So play around with layouts. Add and subtract sections depending on your specific qualifications and skills. Make sure that your resume reflects you and your personality, but don’t make it too informal. Some people recommend including a picture on your resume, but for professional positions, this can be too personal. The best advice: keep your resume clean, simple, and informative.

 

Degree Abroad Of Getting A Masters

You might think that your junior-year study abroad in Mexico was your only chance to live and study in another country. Or you may think that because you opted to stay domestic for your undergraduate degree that you missed out on the opportunity to gain international academic experience. If so, you would be wrong. While undergraduate study abroad experiences are becoming a vital part of a bachelor’s degree, studying abroad for post-graduate degrees is often as valuable, if not more so than short-term undergraduate programs. Here are five good reasons to complete your post-graduate degree in another country.

1. Economics
Many students assume that a post-graduate degree abroad will be more expensive than a domestic degree, but in many cases, international study for a master’s degree can cost the same or less than staying at home. How is that possible? Well, first it depends on your home country. In the US, post-graduate degrees can be extremely costly, but in many countries around the world master’s degrees are relatively inexpensive. In Spain, a Masters degree can cost as little as $3000. Finland, Norway, and Germany all offer post-graduate degrees for little to no cost for international students. And even though living expenses may vary from country to country, there are ways to earn while you study which can help to offset maintenance costs, and if you finish without a big student debt looming over you, your future will be more flexible.

2. Environment
One of the most important things about continuing your education is to expand your worldview, and while moving across the country to a new university can give you a different perspective studying abroad in a foreign country exposes you to a wealth of opinions, practices, knowledge, and ideas. You may think that coursework will be the same no matter where you go, but each country has a unique approach to academia. That means you have the chance to experience something new, and you can choose a program or culture that suits your academic style. And remember that master’s degrees vary in length depending on where they’re completed, giving you even more options.

3. Prestige
It’s easy for students from around the world to forget that their country’s education system isn’t necessarily superior to all the others. Education has become global and competitive, and prestigious programs in a wide range of subjects can be found throughout the world. Many top business schools have campuses around multiple countries, and Singapore, Dubai, India, France, and Switzerland all have MBA programs that are ranked among the best in the world. But prestigious international institutions aren’t just for business students. China, the Netherlands, and the UK all play host to some the best post-graduate programs in Architecture, while Hong Kong, Canada, and Australia are top-ranked for Masters in Education.

4. Skills
Undergraduates are told that studying abroad is a great way to develop marketable skills and experiences. The same holds true for graduate studies. While a master’s degree will enhance your resume no matter what, a degree from abroad will make you different from your competitors. Many employers are looking for applicants with international experience and foreign languages, and a Masters abroad will give you a chance to develop your ability to work in challenging environments and learn a new language (or become fluent in one that you studied earlier). In fact, because most post-graduate degrees take at least a year to complete, your time spent abroad as a master’s student will be more impressive than a short-term study abroad during the summer after your junior year.

 

The Most of Your Textbook Reading

The typical college student reads at a rate of 450 words per minute, according to the results of a speed-reading studyby Staples. The world speed reading champion? 4,700. That’s more than ten times as many words in a single minute! The value of closing this gap becomes very clear when you factor in the massive reading assignments many grad students face throughout their studies. Luckily, there are some things you can do to read more effectively and efficiently. And while you may not have a speed reading title in your future, these give techniques can help you accelerate your reading pace without sacrificing comprehension or retention.

1. Eliminate Distractions
Did you know that multitasking is pretty much one big myth? In fact, a growing body of research points to the fact that attempting to juggle multiple tasks at once can have detrimental effects. Not only do distractions lead to decreased productivity, but they can even cause a 10-point IQ drop — the equivalent of losing a full night’s sleep! In our techno-centric world, electronic interruptions have changed the way we go about life, and not in a good way — at least when it comes to concentrating on schoolwork. The takeaway? Turn off your ringer and other notifications and only check in during designated break times.

2. Preview the Reading
If you’re like most students, staring down an 80-page reading assignment can be overwhelming. Before digging in, set yourself up for a more successful, active reading experience by previewing the material.

Begin by reading each chapter’s title, introduction, and headings, subheadings and summaries. This helps establish a framework for what to expect. Ask yourself why the topic is relevant, and what important concepts you’re expected to learn along the way.

While this task takes less than 10 minutes, it has significant payoffs in terms of helping you connect to the material as a reader.

3. Read Back to Front
While you wouldn’t dream of cracking open the latest bestselling thriller or action novel and skipping straight to the end, reading a textbook is an entirely different story. To further enhance your understanding of a chapter’s most important concepts, start by reviewing the questions at the end of the chapter. As a complement to previewing, this non-chronological approach will help you identify the “big ideas,” connect them together, and focus your attention exactly where it needs to be from the get-go.

4. Start Skimming and Scamming
Children initially learn to read by sounding out letters and words. While this is a necessary practice for new readers, it amounts to wasted time for skilled readers. Enter two different yet related reading techniques: Skimming and scamming.

Instead of sounding out every unique word within the context of an ordered sentence, practice focusing on chunks of words instead. Called skimming, this allows readers to quickly take in main ideas and overall meaning without bothering with time-wasting filler words. Scanning, meanwhile, is the act of looking for a specific piece of information within a block of text.

While both of these techniques take practice, they not only improve how quickly you get through the material, but also how effectively you retain key points. Need more tips on these useful reading strategies? Check out HowToLearn’s handy how-to on skimming and scanning.