A clearer picture of foreign study

Student fairs and proper research can help give you some crucial insights into overseas education, says Jessica Moore

‘Not to know is bad. Not to wish to know is worse’, runs an African proverb. For those considering a university education, it’s advice worth heeding – and suitably international advice at that. “ A degree has become a commodity,” believes David Plummer from Solihull. “There’s a significant price tag. If you’re spending that sort of money, it makes sense to shop around.” By which he means: get online, get on the phone, and seek out the best product for the best value.

Plummer’s daughter has her heart set on a five-year dentistry course in Dubai. “You need to put in the research to make sure you’r e investing in the right way for your child. Although teaching in the UK is great, the standard of accommodation isn’t comparable to what we can get in the Middle East. Quality of life should match the quality of education.”

Such insights won’t fall in your lap: they require an investment of time. Adil Butt, 19, is considering universities both in the UK and overseas. “It’s particularly important to research international destinations”, he says. “You need to look online and talk to as many people as you can. Different countries have different systems and requirements. You need to find out what you’r e signing up to. I’d definitely try to visit, too.”

Plummer agrees: “Our son is travelling to Dubai soon, so we’ve arranged for him to visit the university on his sister’s behalf. We’ll also go as a family before she signs up.” If it sounds like an expensive selection process, Plummer feels “there’s no cheaper alternative”.

However, university fairs can help narrow the search. The recent Student World Fair in London, for example, gathered university staff and country representatives to share information about international study with interested UK students and their families.

The Copenhagen School of Design and Technology was among the exhibitors. “UK students are unlikely to know about the differences in education systems, courses and cultures in advance”, explains Ole Brandt, the university’s international coordinator. “The fair was an opportunity for us to talk to them about what they would find in Denmark and how that compares to the English university system.” Brandt believes it’s important for all parties – the universities, the prospective students and their families – to put in some research. “We find out about the English system so we can answer questions and understand the point of view of the students and parents asking them.” For students and their parents, “it would be a good idea to put together a list of questions. If there is anything we can’t answer on the spot, we can look into it and get back to them by phone or email. We’d be happy to build relationships that way,” Brandt says.

There is value in such communication. “I’ve been emailing universities and making lots of phone calls,” Plummer says. “The warmth we’ve been shown by the staff at my daughter’s favoured university and the level of assistance that we’ve got through our correspondence, reassures me that they will look after my child.” He found the Student World Fair helpful, too. “It gave us a chance to find out more about what is on offer internationally.”

For Sarah Mills, 17, the event saved her from making a wrong decision. “My friend and I were really excited about the idea of studying abroad. We did a lot of research online but talking to people from universities in person was really helpful for us both. It made me realise that I’m not ready to make the move, but it made my friend even more determined to go.”

Which just goes to prove the importance of thorough research. “My daughter isn’t going to university until 2013,” says Plummer. “We’ve started early because there’s a lot to collate. Even if your child doesn’t know what they want to study, it’s good to start talking to different universities to find out how their processes work. If you end up going with an international university, you’ll be glad that you put the time in.”

The next Student World Fair will be held at the Emirates Stadium, London on 17 March 2012. Visit www.thestudentworld.com

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Junior Developer - Cirencester - £29,000

£25000 - £29000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have be...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Data Analyst - Essex - £25,000

£23500 - £25000 per annum + Training: Ashdown Group: Graduate Data analyst/Sys...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Account Manager

£16000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate Account Manager is r...

Guru Careers: Graduate Account Manager / Sales Executive

£18k + Uncapped Commission (£60k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Account Man...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project