All Posts Tagged With: "Study abroad"
Gap years now happen before and after university
University of Guelph undergrad Casey Panning, now 24, was sitting in a Southeast Asian geography class when it occurred to her that she might never see Asia. With vague plans to teach geography, and inspired by a friend who’d spent a semester in Singapore, Panning knew it was now or never.
The gap year—taking a year off school to work, travel or volunteer—has been a pre-university rite of passage in Europe, where it began in Britain in the ’60s and spread to other Commonwealth countries—including Canada. A Statistics Canada survey of about 8,500 high school graduates from 2000 to 2008 found that just 50 per cent had started college or university within the usual three months; 73 per cent had begun in a year’s time; and by 28 months after graduation, 81 per cent of students were attending a post-secondary school.
A.R. Elangovan shares his secrets to successful teaching
Many teachers say that education is their calling. Professor A.R. Elangovan, of the Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria, has literally written the book (well, journal articles at least) on callings.
Naturally, his research caused a re-evaluation of the way he teaches Organizational Beahviour and leads as the International Programming Director of the school. Students have noticed, and so have colleagues. Elangovan is one of 10 new 3M National Teaching Fellows who have agreed to share their secrets to success.
Elangovan’s style might not seem radical, but if every business leader was taught the way his students are taught, it could have a profound impact on the world.
The Indian-born professor’s style was perfected a few years ago when he working on a paper with a religion professor about that elusive type of employee who doesn’t differentiate between “living life and earning a livelihood”—the type of employee who has found their calling.
Naturally, Elangovan turned the mirror on himself.
He realized that one’s calling does not have to line up with a job title—doctor, firefighter, singer or priest. A calling can be a core value adhered to in whatever you do—9 a.m. to 5 p.m. included.
“It took me a few years thinking about and doing research on this topic to finally realize that the essence of me, what’s driving me, is a very firm belief that everybody deserves a life of dignity,” says Elangovan. “The moment I started thinking like that, I changed what I do in the classroom.”
Most of Elangovan’s MBA students will one day be bosses. By helping their employees adhere to their core values—their callings—organizations are more likely to succeed. The job of a business teacher is to give students the confidence to build “enlightened workplaces,” he says.
To do so, he needed to move beyond simply imparting knowledge and encouraging students to apply that knowledge. ”I’m no longer just a teacher,” says Elangovan. “I’m a vehicle with morals, ideas and answers. I’m willing to step into [students’] worlds, which are full of doubt and messiness, and answer when they say ‘what would you do in this situation?’”
Other professors feel they must steer clear of articulating the path they would take in a particular situation, lest they impose their values on students. Elangovan doesn’t maintain that distance.
“I have to have the courage to say, yes, this is what I would do,” he explains. “I give them the ideas and concepts, but I don’t hide behind the ideas and concepts.”
Another way that Elangovan is pursuing his calling is through his role as the International Programs Director. He’s an evangelist for seeing world through different eyes “and having all your assumptions shaken.”
Canada is dependent on trade. It’s also a country where the most talented often grew up in another cultural context. Those are the types of ideas business leaders can see with international study.
They’re also the types of ideas that can lead business leaders to choose the path of greatest dignity for their employees—whether in Canada or in factories on the other side of the Pacific.
Elangovan’s goal is for 100 per cent of his students to spend a semester in a foreign culture. Only a small proportion of students ever study abroad, but at his school, 73 per cent now do.
Elangovan is living up to his calling, so that his students—and their employees—might live up to their callings too.
Returning can be fraught with bureaucratic hurdles
From the Maclean’s Student Issue, on sale now.
Story by Ian Bethune.
Two years ago, as a 21-year-old ﬁne arts student at York University, I embarked on one of the great times of my life, a third-year overseas exchange at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia. I went into this concentrating on the expected hurdles—booking ﬂights, arranging lodging, selecting classes, ﬁnding my footing on the other side of the world—and discovered the really hard part took place long before I stepped on the plane. Wandering wide-eyed about Adelaide was nothing compared with the uncoordinated demands of two Byzantine university bureaucracies.
But I survived the existential struggle with the paperwork and thrived on the exchange, an unforgettable experience I’d recommend to anyone. I also developed the laughable idea that going home would be—new Australian phrase I learned—“a piece of piss.” After all, what could be difﬁcult about returning to my home and familiar native land?
Tuition is a deal. School spirit is an experience.
For Manitoban students, international study doesn’t require a transoceanic flight.
Manitoba has a 20-year-old reciprocity agreement with the State of Minnesota and at least 21 Canadians are currently studying at campuses of the highly-regarded University of Minnesota.
The basics of studying abroad
From the Maclean’s University Rankings, on sale now. Story by Jane Bao.
Study abroad programs let students immerse themselves somewhere else, maybe halfway around the world, while earning credit at their home university. And depending on the field, a stint overseas could give grads a career boost. It’s not uncommon for engineers to work abroad, says Jean Choquette, an executive director at Université de Montréal’s engineering school, École Polytechnique. “Openness to foreign cultures, languages and methodology are part of the basic competencies that employers are looking for,” says Choquette.
Tuition is paid to the Canadian university—a good way around some hefty international fees—but students must count on travel and living costs. And the door swings both ways, allowing international students to study in Canada and meet their Canadian peers.
Students who study overseas drink more
Students who go abroad while in college are likely to increase or even double their alcohol intake while they’re away, a new study has found. Drinking increased most dramatically in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, the study by researchers at the University of Washington found. Students reported drinking more when they perceived their travel companions were drinking more heavily, and those who planned to make drinking part of their cultural immersion did so.
The study published in the current issue of Psychology of Addictive Behaviours looked only at drinking habits of students who went abroad from the University of Washington, but UW graduate student Eric Pedersen said he would expect to get similar results at other universities. “I don’t think this is just a UW problem,” said the psychology student, who noted, however, that his study sample included more women than the national average for studying abroad and the students he looked at were more diverse ethnically than the national average.
His research did not pinpoint why students drink more while they study abroad, but the results don’t necessarily indicate binge drinking. Pedersen says a drink or so each night with dinner could add up to the 10 drinks a week European visitors reported on average. “In general drinking is an issue on college campuses. When you take that and put it in a foreign country there’s potential for more consequences,” Pedersen said. He noted, however, that most students who study overseas, including those who drink, do not get in trouble while they’re abroad.
Of the several thousand University of Washington students who study abroad each year, 177 answered a questionnaire before they went away and when they returned. On average, those students doubled their drinking while abroad, but most cut back to an average of three to five drinks a week when they returned to Seattle. A subset of students who travelled to the Middle East and other places where drinking is not as prevalent reported their intake decreased while abroad.
Students who were less than the legal drinking age in the United States increased their drinking while abroad by about 170 per cent, the study found. The overall increase was about 105 per cent.
Henry Wechsler, a lecturer at the Harvard School of Public Health, who was not involved in Pedersen’s research, said the finding that location is an important element in shaping drinking behaviour is consistent with his department’s research. “We found that college students in the United States tend to drink at the levels of young people in the states where the colleges are located. What seems to be added here is that being away from the home environment of the college may create a ‘spring break’ atmosphere,” he said.
Since an increase in college student deaths related to drinking in the late 1990s, more research has focused on student drinking. This study points to more areas that need to be examined, said Bob Saltz, senior scientist of the Berkeley, California-based Prevention Research Center. He was not associated with this research. Saltz said the next step is to use this information to find ways to prevent students from getting in trouble with drinking while studying abroad. He said several recent studies have found success at decreasing student drinking while in the United States.
He would like to hear more about these students and their drinking: Were they having a beer with lunch or a glass of wine with dinner, or was it something more?
The Canadian Press
Getting overseas experience can strengthen your resume, enhance your education and be a lot of fun
When Kali Penney needed to strengthen her med school application, she had a choice between taking more classes and getting some volunteer experience. She chose to spend three months volunteering in Calcutta, followed by a month traveling around India. Her volunteer work looks good on her application, but the experience ended up meaning much more than that to her. “I would recommend going overseas. You’ll do so many things you’d never get to do here and meet people you’d never get to meet.”
There’s no better way to educate yourself about the world than to go out and see it. Travelling can be a great way to broaden your perspective, and doing it while you’re in school and you’re young can be great. Those old people in their fancy tour buses and their five-star hotels are probably enjoying themselves too, but that’s nothing compared to the freedom and the adventure you can have when you’re three decades younger and have a tenth as much money.
There are loads of ways to go abroad while you’re in university. If you do your research, you can find ways to go overseas without blowing a lot of money or adding semesters to the time it takes you to get your degree. You can even find ways to make your trip enhance your education and improve your future job prospects by building your resume — which is also a great way to justify a trip to your parents.
Going to school and living in a foreign country will give you a much deeper understanding of a place than just breezing through as a tourist. You’ll have the opportunity to learn the local language and to make friends with locals and other international students. Plus, you won’t miss any semesters and you’ll remain on track for graduation.
For some areas of study, going abroad can greatly improve your education. Overseas universities will offer courses not available at home, and the country you study in can offer opportunities you’d never have in Canada — for example, studying Spanish in Madrid, or Archaeology in Cairo. Most universities have exchange agreements with a number of foreign universities so that you pay the same tuition you would at your home university, rather than expensive foreign student fees.
The easiest way to be sure that the courses you take overseas will be credited through your degree is to go through an exchange program. Check your uni’s website for information, (for example, here is USask’s) but hurry; exchange application deadlines are usually early in the winter semester — meaning right about now.
Volunteering in a developing country can be one of the most rewarding (and challenging) experiences you’ll have in your life. Your experience will look great on a resume, particularly if it is related to your field of study, such as medicine, engineering, teaching or social work. It can be difficult, however, to find a volunteer posting that won’t cost you a lot of money.