Study Debate

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Does acquiring an overseas education allow one to stand in good stead?

Poll ended at Tue Nov 17, 2009 10:26 am

Yes
6
86%
No
1
14%
 
Total votes : 7

Study Debate

Postby autumnbronze » Sat Nov 14, 2009 10:26 am

This is a quote taken from today's ST forum section:

"An overseas education exposes a young student to a multitude of experiences that cannot be acquired if he chooses to study locally. While local universities offer students a global perspective, it is not the same as the experience of living abroad for one's entire undergraduate education."

What are your views on this take?? Please share.

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Postby frankchn » Sat Nov 14, 2009 1:41 pm

It depends on what university, really. If one is going to study in Harvard, Yale or Princeton, I believe you would get a better education - not to mention getting exposure to different cultures and even connections (lots of kids with rich and successful parents, or kids who will be CEOs and high flyers next time).

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Postby autumnbronze » Sun Nov 15, 2009 11:29 am

I am an 'accidental' overseas grad. Long story, not related to topic, so nxt time.

The two years that I spent in the UK will always be something that I will never forget. I had been married for barely 6 mths and had pooled in whatever savings I had then, plus a bank loan to start me off there. There was a reason for this decision, its another long story, another time. Here's some examples of my 'multitude of experiences':

1. When I arrived at the Uni and went to the accomodation office to collect my keys to my dorm room, I was told that they was no room allocated for me and that all the rooms were taken up. As I was a late applicant, I think they had overlooked my request. They were so not understanding and brushed me aide to attend to other queries. One kind soul allowed me to sleep in her room that night. The nxt day, I had no choice and kicked up a huge fuss abt them violating basic human rights to provide me (a foreign student) with accomodation as I had not slept the night before due to inadequate heating, lack of bedlinen etc.... I stressed that I came from a tropical cty and that since it was late Sept, weather was turning cold and I might fall sick etc.. I coughed from time to time for their benefit :D and finally they relented and allocated me a room. had I not done that I think, it would have been a real headache looking for accomodation outside of campus, dealing with possibly horrible roomates etc.. What I did, to me, was an act of 'survival'.

2. The Uni was located atop a hill. As a student, I used to walk up and down the hill when I needed to do grocery shopping. At the bottom of the hill, there would be a road with houses to one side. Many sweet elderly ladies would be tending to their gardens or sitting and they would call out to me and chat with me, sometimes even offering me a cup of tea, curious to know where I was from etc....

3. Evry weekend, the corridor of my dorm would be v v quiet as students either spent their weekend in London (my Uni was abt 1 and a half hrs away) or went back to their families. It would get really really lonely but also gave me time to catch up on work and sleep. Weekdays can be really noisy with loud music etc.. Its really weird, but the Singaporeans tended to avoid one another. Hence, there were no get togethers etc.. I was much closer to the Malaysians!

4. Evry end of term, I would wait nervously for my DH to call to inform me that he had managed to mail the bankdraft so that I can pay for my accomodation and have an allowance. We were working on a 'day to day' basis, we had no money for next yrs' tuition fees. What money he sent me was from his bonuses and savings from his mthly pay. In the end, I am eternally grateful to my ILs for helping us with the tuition fees for my graduation yr. Then, somehow, word got ard among the Asian community that I was a Singaporean and was doing Lit, some students from HK and China then approached me to give them tuition. That REALLY eased our financial burden. It provided me with an allowance. But then, I had to juggle with my studies as well. At one time, I had a Greek student too.

Just some random examples ....

I also want to say that in my personal opinion, really, you don't have to be rich to go and study overseas. If that is really one's dream, a post-grad education overseas would be possible aft working for some yrs. Yes, a loan has to suffice if you do or do not have savings, but if you are willing to be v frugal and work part time (waitressing, tuition etc), and make other necessary sacrifices, it is manageable. I guess it depends on how badly you want to realize it. The aftmath of me graduating meant I had to give tuition like mad to help pay off our debts (had to wait a yr b4 could get into NIE, missed the intake). So grateful that my husband willingly helped me. Now, almost ten yrs later, have managed to pay off study loans, including to ILs. We do not have much savings but we believe my education has been an investment.

Studying overseas has helped me to be frugal, more independent, learn the imptance of working xtra hard to achieve my goal and being not afraid to speak my mind, albeit tactfully (that is a skill that took me some time to pick up and am still learning), considering that I was working with a sea of native speakers, deal with loneliness positively (students do go wayward) meet pple all over the world (some of them end up being better frds than I have here locally) and understand the diff cultures, etiquette etc.... No doubt, I was older than most students, but there is always the 'lure' of something/anything .... and because you are alone up there, you are responsible for keeping yourself in check.

So has my overseas degree stood me in good stead?? Yes, definitely. But at the same time, I also believe that a local undergrad is able to have a good education and amass 'a multitude of experiences' too. What with the local Unis here accepting foreign students, exchange programmes, and the locals living in hostels etc... Its got to do with the mindset/attitude I suppose, ie that one shd be open to 'experiencing' one's undergraduate years, apart from striving for academic excellence.

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