Student Talk: How do you decide on Course and College While Studying Abroad?
If you are keen to study overseas and confused about how to decide – course vs college, city vs country; you can try and answer a few questions that may assist you to make the right choice. For example, what degree do you want to pursue, why do you want to pursue it abroad, when do you want to begin the degree, how much would it cost, where do you want to go, and what are your plans on completion of studies.
It is important to note that there is no `right’ fit, every student has different requirements. While researching your choices, a good reference point is other students’ experiences. Here are a few snapshots of students from India on how they decided on their destination overseas for higher studies.
‘A stepping stone to my goals’ – Darshil
Darshil Varmora, Agribusiness and Food Marketing, Lincoln University, New Zealand: “I found Lincoln while looking for options online and the fact that it was a small university with a focus on research interested me. I was certain that I wanted to study agriculture and when I found out about the course, it was like a dream coming true. I also won the Global Challenges Scholarship.
I am an aspiring agribusiness entrepreneur and I want to expand the operation of my social enterprise start-up ‘Kisaanonline,’ which aims to empower Indian farmers. Once I graduate, I want to gain industry experience in agribusinesses or social enterprises and probably return to Lincoln for a Masters. The idea of learning about the supply chain from farm to fork, with a special focus on innovation and sustainability has been inspiring. I am confident that the course will help me to fulfill my goals.
The university’s small size has helped me to build connections and given me opportunities that probably I would not have had in a bigger university. Everyone knows everyone. If you get stuck, you get a lot of help! I have also found a part-time job as a Residential Assistant to look after first-year students.
New Zealand is a beautiful country so when I get a break from college, I go out to explore. A word of advice, remember you are in a different country, learn about the culture and more importantly adopt it. Get out of your comfort zone, speak to different people, make friends, and build a support system around you, which will be there for you whenever you need them.”
‘City and alumni influenced my choice’ – Devika
Devika Asthana, English Literature, University of Edinburgh, UK: “I did thorough research on all the institutions I received offers from. The University of Edinburgh checked all my boxes in terms of course choice, faculty and rankings. Also, Edinburgh was the first UNESCO City of Literature and it is home to many literary giants.
While I knew of the university’s global reputation, choosing to study there was also influenced by personal connections. These connections took the form of Edinburgh alumni in India, whom the university staff put me in touch with, and personal contacts who were able to tell me more.
Most universities today have dazzling online profiles which makes it hard to decide. The discussions played a vital role in informing my decision to apply to the University of Edinburgh. The alumni talked about Edinburgh both as a university and a famous historical and literary city. They also emphasized the friendliness of the local people, and the help that is given to overseas students to feel at home from day one. They were honest about the Scottish weather but enthusiastic about the tiny vintage bookshops, and exciting Scottish dances, known as ‘ceilidhs’. I am grateful to the university for a rich global network of friendships and academic connections.”
‘The course shaped my career’ – Jayesh
Jayesh Sachdev, Design Communication alum, LASALLE, Singapore: “In 2006, a year after graduating, I took the plunge to leave my job in an advertising agency and start my own business, Quirk Box. From a salaried designer to a full-time practising artist and entrepreneur of a fashion label and design studio, my career path has taken interesting turns.
I often tell people that it may seem easy getting into LASALLE, but it was difficult to pull through — the college grills you for good reasons. My education ensured that I have the creative skills to progress in my career and with an enterprising spirit. I returned to India to set up my design studio, Emblem. It was then that I started practising as a full-time artist. A few years later, I successfully launched an art-based fashion label, Quirk Box, which incorporated art in fashion.
My studies covered a wide scope of design practices that provided an insight into how design can be used in multiple mediums. I have been integrating what I learnt into my work in spatial design, fashion, graphics, and fine arts. I am fortunate to have achieved several national accolades, such as the national record for painting India’s largest New Media artwork and the British Council Young Creative Arts Entrepreneur Award, among others. My education has been instrumental in shaping me as an artist and entrepreneur.”
Remember there’s a course, college, and city suited to every student’s needs and aspirations. However, education overseas is not limited to the classroom. International exposure has become a necessity, as increasingly students have to work in global environments.
Featured Image Source: TravelExe
Author: Malini Sen
Malini Sen is an independent education journalist and content specialist with more than 25 years of work experience in India and UK. She is the former editor of a national education publication for one of India’s largest media groups. And also an international student.
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