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A New United States (Since November 2016) - And Where Do International Students Go From Here?

February 7, 2017

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The Only Constant In Life Is Change (After Polytechnic/A-Levels/International Baccalaureate)

March 7, 2017

This really happened in 2016!

If someone were to tell me that what has happened politically in the United States and around the world would become a reality, I would’ve said “Nice try, but it ain’t going to happen.” I thought at best it would’ve just been a good comedy script!

 

Fast forward to 2017, I am laughing no more. In short – Brexit (really) happened and Trump (really) won. Populism is on the rise. Globalization is no longer regarded as a de-facto path to prosperity. In addition of needing to swallow the bitter pill of being wrong, I must admit that I neither took into account of the current circumstances nor considered the possibility of events that has transpired would become a reality. This has aptly reminded me of this quote – that the only constant in life is change.

 

At this time of writing (and publishing), students who had taken the A-level or International Baccalaureate (IB) exams should have received their results by now. While I can certainly tempted to dedicate entire blog posts just to address the emotional aspects from receiving the results, it is prudent that I stay focused on the blog’s core objective – What’s Next?  

 

Staying on Point

So why does the rise of populism and the many ding dongs happening in the U.S political sphere matter in a blog column whose main goal is to advocate for prospective students to apply and to experience a U.S university education? Apparently a whole lot! As a matter of fact, I realized that I have to account for the recent U.S immigration policy developments so that parents and students can make better informed decisions whether to send their kid(s) overseas to the United States for school.

 

When I decided back in 2014 to write and publish a book that provides an account of my personal and professional (and many more) experiences in United States, never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that I would find myself defending the merits of a U.S based education. I cannot stress enough that the decision my parents made to allow me to go to the U.S for my education had completely positively altered the course of my career trajectory and had enabled me to experience life independently in a foreign country. After all, there is no doubt that an education in the U.S remains a coveted experience, where a world-class education that fosters critical and independent thinking is being offered. In my opinion, a U.S education remains the best form of investment.

 

In a world where we run the risk of being overloaded with information and influenced by an increasingly opinionated environment, one must really take a step back and consider the merits of seeking an overseas education. This is especially evident for parents who are looking to send their child overseas to the U.S given the current political rhetoric. Then again, I must caution the need to not let the noise cloud ones’ judgment. In other words, the rise of populism is not applicable to just Britain or the U.S.  

 

Weighing Things Out

Here are some suggestions that one can take heed of when weighing the pros and cons of an overseas education:

 

  1. It is prudent to consider seriously answering the question – what is the reason behind the reason for going overseas to study?

  2. Stress test the merits of the other countries that offer an overseas education and benchmark them against the ones offered in the U.S. Possible factors can be but are not limited to (they are not categorized in matter of importance):

    1. Geography - Is there a preference as to which city you'd like to live in the next three to four years? 

    2. Teaching Methodology – For example, an American Education system is invariably different from the British education (my book What’s Next extensively covers this topic)

    3. Cost – Are there financial constraints which you have to take into account of? If so, consider public (over private) universities that provide a world class education but at a public school price!   

    4. Quality and Duration of the Program  - Disregard the “Brand” of the school for one moment, and pause to research and find out which schools offers the best education in that field of discipline.

    5. One’s Career Prospects After Graduation. That is, which program/country would maximize the value of pursuing (and completing) that degree.

After Four Years, a Career Beckons in the U.S, Right?

In my next blog post, I will touch on the last point of the aforementioned points that one must consider as far an overseas education (especially in the  U.S) is concerned. Now, it is impossible to talk about career prospects in the U.S after graduation without mentioning the “H1-B” visa program. For prospective students who couldn’t quite comprehend what all the fuss is about with the “H1-B” visa is and why it matters, the simple explanation is that it is a piece of application that U.S based companies need to submit to the U.S Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) in order to employ foreigners. While it may be a good few years away before one has to worry about the H1-B program, it is still a really important topic that I feel needs to be examined. So stay tuned!

 

 

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