Cry CU 有關中大國際化討論

星期六, 2月 19, 2005

Discover new groves of academe

Will Clem2005-02-19

STUDYING OVERSEAS can be a life-changing experience that teaches students far more than they can learn from textbooks.

Experiencing life in another country, learning a foreign language and making friends with people of a different culture opens the mind to other ways of thinking while broadening your horizon.
Moving thousands of miles away from the safety net of family, friends and home helps young students to mature rapidly, and teaches them to be independent.

Many progressive employers look favourably on time spent overseas, whether it is for an entire university course or just a year's exchange.

People who have studied overseas are seen as having strong communication skills.
The experience may also help your CV stand out from the crowd and give you something to talk about at the job interview.

As Hong Kong positions itself as Asia's world city, school leavers are taking an increasingly international outlook on their options for university. A glance at the exhibitors list of the Education & Careers Expo 2005 will confirm that studying overseas has become more popular than ever.

The highest number of booths are taken by overseas universities, colleges and schools. Two pavilions have been set aside for study outside Hong Kong - one for European schools, the other for universities in the mainland.

All this is because Hong Kong students have an excellent reputation around the world, and are highly valued as international students.

"We get really good students from Hong Kong, and we find they are generally very hard-working and dedicated," said Anna Debska, overseas student recruitment manager at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

Ms Debska said there were about 260 local students at LSE, putting Hong Kong in the "top six or top 10" in the student population.

Students from no fewer than 135 countries study at LSE. Overseas students make up 50 per cent of undergraduates and 75 per cent of postgraduates.

"I believe that makes LSE the most international university in Britain," Ms Debska said.
Applications from Hong Kong have increased slightly this year, she said, in line with the trend across the rest of the region.

While overseas students from China were mostly at the postgraduate level, Hong Kong students at LSE were almost exclusively undergraduates, she said.

Britain has been traditionally a popular university destination for Hong Kong students, partly because of the historical connection but also because of the education system.

"Britain has a very strong reputation for quality - not just for content but for all the skills that students learn," Ms Debska said, adding that a British university education emphasised self-study and individual research.

Australia, the United States and Canada are popular choices for students looking to spread their wings - especially Canada, because of its relatively low cost of living and large Chinese communities.

Meanwhile, there is a rising trend for Hong Kong students to look north of the border for education opportunities. They acknowledge the presence of excellent universities in China that offer a world-class education.

With the mainland growing in importance on the world stage, savvy students are seeing the sense in gaining insights on life in China and improving their Putonghua. Once they have graduated and start looking for jobs, these students will have a competitive edge at any company that has business in the mainland.

Mainland European universities are also getting in on the act.

Language used to be a major barrier for Hong Kong students applying to continental European universities. But many of these universities now offer courses taught in English, targeted directly at the overseas student market.

When weighing your options for study overseas, consider what you want to get out of the experience. Look for a school with a strong reputation in the field that interests you.
Draw up a short list of countries and regions that attract your attention and read up on them. Research the culture, history and the cuisine; ask yourself how well you would adapt.
Some education counsellors suggest visiting the city and university that attracts you before you make a final decision.

This may not always be a practical course of action, but you could at the very least speak to someone from that country, or someone who has lived there, and quiz them on the lifestyle there.

After all, a year is a long time to be stuck in the wrong place. So make your decision carefully.



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