For some, the prospect of leaving their mother country to study abroad is a daunting one, while for others it can seem like an exciting opportunity. While one decision does of course not fit all, there are countless benefits to studying abroad, and here are just a few of them:
The advice given to many young people today, is to ‘get out there and see the world’, and if you can do something as worthwhile as earning yourself a degree while you’re doing it, then so much the better. Studying abroad means that you will truly have to immerse yourself in the customs and traditions of your new host country, and this can teach you so much about yourself and the world around you.
Travel is said to broaden the mind, and there are a few who will argue with this.
Every country has its own style of education, and when you enrol in a study abroad program, you’ll have the chance to see a side of your major that you wouldn’t have seen had you studied in your home country. Embracing the education system of the country in which you are studying, will help you to engage better with the people there and understand more about their traditions and values.
Since most students who opt to go overseas to study may never have left their home country before, they will inevitably find the different cultural perspectives of their host country, fascinating and new. Not only will you be meeting new people who are also attending the same place of study, but you will be experiencing so many new things for the first time, and you will never be bored!
Studying in a country in which the mother tongue is not the same as your own, gives you the perfect opportunity to learn a new language, and even if the language spoken is the same, there will always be colloquial variations that you can pick up and learn to help you talk and behave more like a local.
Once you’ve completed your study abroad program and arrive back to your native country, you’ll undoubtedly discover that not only has your entire outlook on life changed, but you’ll feel more confident and worldly. These are attractive qualities for any employer, and they will find your resume more appealing than others who have not taken such an opportunity in life.
While studying abroad may not be a possibility for everyone, and may not even seem appealing to some, of those who have completed their degrees overseas, few regret the decision and most state that it change their lives for the better and allowed them to embrace new opportunities in life.
If you are considering studying for a degree abroad, there are companies out there who will help you prepare your application and even arrange mock interviews so that you can give yourself the best chance of being accepted in the university of your choice.
Selecting a degree to study is a big decision for anyone to make, no matter how confident you are in your abilities, or how certain you are of what career path you want to follow. Choosing a degree in the sciences is a popular choice for many students, so let’s look in a little more detail at just what this might entail and what jobs it might lead to:
What types of science degrees are available?
The three most commonly known science degrees are of course, biology, chemistry and physics, however, these are very broad and traditional subjects such as those you may have studied at school, and there are many more specialised areas of the sciences that you can choose to study, such as: medicine, maths, natural sciences, veterinary sciences, psychology, human sciences and materials sciences, to name but a few.
What jobs can you apply for with a science degree?
Because the spectrum of science degrees is so broad, most of them can lead to a wide range of jobs and careers, and whichever science you choose to specialise in, you can opt to advance your career by becoming a research scientist in your specialist area.
A chemistry related degree can open doors for graduates in several industries, such as manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals and healthcare.
A biology related degree can help you develop a career in agriculture, biomedicine, environmental conservation, food and drink, genetics, horticulture and marine biology.
A degree related to physics can provide opportunities for a career in quite a range of employment sectors, such as aerospace and defence, automotive, computing, healthcare and telecommunications to name but a few.
What other careers can a science degree lead to?
Undertaking a science degree doesn’t necessarily mean that you are limited to becoming a scientist, there are many alternative career paths that you can embark on with your science degree. For example, you could try finding employment as a science journalist or even as a science teacher or lecturer. There is also a legal aspect of science careers, such as a patent attorney. The business and financial sectors also have many different openings for those with science degrees.
Some of these careers however, may require advanced qualifications or a post graduate science degree.
Should your degree be specialized or broad?
The answer to this question lies in your chosen or desired career path. If you are clear about what job you would like once you’ve completed your degree, then you can find one that will enable you to fulfil your goals, if you’re unclear about what career path you want to go down, then a broader science degree might be the best option.
To help you decide, it may be wise to look in more detail at the content of each degree and the modules that you would be required to complete.
Studying a degree in any one of the sciences is sure to set you on a good career path and offer you a wide variety of jobs in several different employment sectors, and there are vast opportunities to expand upon your knowledge base and skillset.
Completing your university application can be a nerve wracking time, and even if you don’t put yourself under copious amounts of pressure, oftentimes your family members certainly will! One way of helping the whole thing run more smoothly, and to reduce your stress levels as much as possible, is to get yourself prepared in plenty of time. Here are a few simple ways in which you can achieve this and hopefully bag yourself a place at the university of your choice:
Make sure that you know all there is to know about the university and course of your choice, before you even think about applying. Read the course syllabus, ask around to see if you might be able to talk to anyone else who is studying the same subject there. You will need to show the interview panel that you know all about the course and what it entails, and if you can show them your specific interest in some of the modules, that will go in your favour.
Knowing what to expect in your university interview or admissions tests process will ensure that you’re able to prepare fully for what lies ahead, and if you’re not sure, simply call the university and ask any questions that you might have. The more you know, the less you may worry and staying calm before an interview is important if you’re to perform well on the occasion.
Some applicants tend not to put so much effort into their personal statements, believing that their academic ability is all that the interviewers will be interested in. However, this is not true, and in some cases, a personal statement that shines (and is backed up by the applicant when they meet them face to face) can be the deciding factor in whether you are accepted for the course of your choice. So, try to make it truthful and never be ashamed to highlight your talents and abilities. Then read it and reread it and remember what you have written!
There are some great services out there offering mock university placement interviews for candidates, and in most cases, their teams are made up of previous university attendees who know exactly what will be expected of you. This process may seem unnecessary to some, but rest assured it can really help you get a taste if what is to come and help you to prepare so that you put your best foot forward on the big day.
This will help you to stay focused during the interview and not leave you tongue tied, plus it will get any questions that may have been worrying you, cleared up and answered.
The single most sound piece of advice that can ever be given to anyone applying for a course at university, is to do your preparation. Seek professional help with your application if necessary, and you will not see it as money wasted if it helps get you on the course of your choice, at the university of your choice.
Mentors can be incredibly useful tools in many fields, whether it be from a personal or professional perspective, and many people use them to help find a new career, or progress in their current one. While some use the term ‘coach’ in place of mentor, there is in fact, a difference between the two:
Mentoring and coaching, two very different things:
Being someone’s mentor has similarities with being their coach, but mentoring focuses on building a long and lasting relationship that supports the growth and development of the mentee. Mentors are a source of wisdom, teaching and infinite support, but they do not give observational guidance related to certain actions or behavioural changes in daily work or personal circumstances.
Coaches, on the other hand, place an emphasis upon making certain current behaviours stronger, or eradicating them wherever necessary.Usually employed by professionals, they help to correct and strengthen those behaviours that will help the individual progress in their career or improve their performance at work. They are usually taken on for a set period, in which the individual will be expected to reach the targets agreed between the two.
A brief history of mentoring:
Believed by scholars to have been written in the 8th century BC, Homers poem entitled ‘The Odyssey’ is where the term ‘mentor’ is first known to have been featured. The king of Ithaca went to do battle in the Trojan War and left his kingdom in what he believed to be the safe hands of the character, Mentor.
The current dictionary definition of the term mentor, describes it as a ‘trusted counsellor or guide’, or someone who helps you with your career, specific work projects or general life advice based upon their own selfless wishes to help others progress.
Could a mentor help you with your university application?
It is difficult to imagine how a good mentor couldn’t help any one of us, so provided you find a good one, there is every chance that they could go on to help you put forward a successful university application. As mentors are usually experienced professional people who have ‘been there, done that and got the t-shirt’, they are perfectly suited to help give advice and guidance to younger professionals who are just thinking about taking a university course to help give them a worthwhile career. They are of course particularly effective, if they have studied the same course that you will be applying for. While they may not give specific advice on how to complete your application, they will help you to face your fears, embrace your goals, and look at how you challenge yourself professionally and personally. In many cases, mentors go on to help people live their lives to the fullest, and their guidance is often extended far past achieving a place at university, or bagging the job of your dreams.
A good mentor can genuinely be the factor that enables you to progress in life in exactly the way you wish to, whether they are supporting you as you apply for a university placement or helping you to cope with personal issues in your life.
Student Profile: Oxford Physicist
How do you typically fill your days?
My typical day usually begins at around seven in the morning when I wake up and go for a short run around the University Parks before having breakfast. During the week, I have lectures before lunch. Typically, I eat my lunch in the college, so that I have a chance to meet my friends even during a busy day. Then there are tutorials in the college during the afternoon. Before the individual study time, I take a short break for coffee and read the news online. I prefer to work in my room, I do however go to the library in case I want to eliminate any possible distractions or simply need to use some books which I do not have at hand. In the evening, I have a rowing training indoors every other day. If I have a particularly busy day, I tend to work quite late, but if I managed to finish all of my work I hang out with my friends afterwards. Before going to bed, I read a book for half an hour to relax
One of our tutors discusses their subject:
I am currently majoring in Cardiovascular, Respiratory and Renal Physiology and minoring in Neuroscience, so have a strong grasp of a broad range of biological topics. I have previously studied aspects of Psychology, developmental biology and Cellular Physiology. For my dissertation I worked in a lab in Oxford on bone marrow adipocytes and the differentiation of stem cells, and will be starting a DPhil
on dietary constituents and their effect on bone health.
A typical 3rd year day consists of a lecture or 2 in the morning, lunch in the college bar, working in the college library in the afternoon. In the evening I’ll go home and cook dinner and finish up work before reading and going to bed.
How did you find your Oxford application?
My application experience was relatively easy. I was actually only in Oxford for 1 day of interviews (compared to some people who were there for 5 days), so I had 3 interviews on the same day which was quite intense. Once I’d received my offer, I was really considering turning it down and accepting an offer from Bristol as I didn’t think Oxford was for me, but now so glad that I didn’t as I love Oxford and I’ve
found I really appreciate being pushed intellectually and working hard.
I only discovered Biomed as a course while looking through course description on university websites. It appealed to me as I enjoyed human biology in school but didn’t want to be a Medic.
A Maths tutor gives us a little insight into their application to study Maths at Oxford:
My experience applying to Oxford, while still very challenging on a personal level, was by no means a solo endeavour. Throughout my mathematical journey there have been many fantastic people- friends, tutors, teachers- to which I owe much of my success today. It is for this reason that I am involved in a tutoring program such as Oxbridge Sciences, so that other people may have the same level of help and opportunities I received, and to help brilliant mathematicians achieve all they are capable of. As for why I chose maths I don’t think any other subject offers the same level of natural beauty and complexity, while at the same time still offering high levels of utility and practicality.
What I find particularly interesting about these two areas of mathematics is that both provide great insight into mathematical problems in the real world, whilst also extending much beyond the scope of applied mathematics and into the more abstract and exciting world of pure maths.
We discuss with one our current tutors, a masters student at Oxford, why they chose to study Biology:
I chose to study biology because I am someone who craves change. As a society, we tend to resist it, but progress is what propels us forward: socially, technologically, and intellectually. Although biology is defined as the study of life, I view it as the study of change. Evolutionary theories and processes form the foundation of biology, because to understand the way our world is living now, we must understand where this great diversity all came from. I hope to work in wildlife conservation, because I believe it is our responsibility, as scientists, academics, and humans, to preserve our great planet. In fact, I am already involved in local wildlife conservation research efforts here in Oxford. To me, to understand biology is to understand the past, present, and hopeful future of the entire tree of life.