Calling all Year 12 students! Having made impassioned pleas for the last few days that students and recent graduates shouldn’t squander their summers on frippery and sky larking, I thought today I would sing from another familiar song sheet. Why aren’t more students voting with their feet and heading overseas? But this too is a well trodden refrain.
At the beginning of the year Montreal was named the best student city on earth, resting the title away from Paris after four years of dominating the top spot. If we make the assumption that people go to university and do work experience in order to enhance their future career opportunities then this summer could also be used to look at the benefits of overseas study.
To take Montreal as a possibility, firstly to be eligible for the accolade of best city to study in, the place needs to play host to at least 2 universities in the World University Rankings and have a minimum population of 250,000 people. Montreal can offer up McGill University and Universitie du Quebec a Montreal, an English or French speaking option. Toronto and Vancouver are both highly rated cities as well giving Canada no small amount of cache when it comes to attracting international students.
Cost wise, not wildly different to the UK if applying as an international student. BUT, with scholarships and grants much more widely available than here and with a lower cost of living it can become more achievable and financially viable.
CV wise, it’s much the same argument as work experience, with competition for graduate jobs increasing at a rate of knots, the escalating grade inflation issues and the greater number of graduates make it candyland for employers. With 50 to 60 similarly qualified people vying for one spot, having the chutzpah to study overseas gives your CV an edge, something that distinguishes you, marks out your ambition and refusal to settle for the lowest hanging fruit.
Career wise, having studied internationally you will radically enhance your network, optimising your chances of finding work on both sides of the Atlantic, or should you opt to study at a bi-lingual university open up possibilities in France as well. Given the inevitable challenges that will be thrown up by Brexit that too may be an advantage that is worthy of further consideration.
Education wise, again to revert to the McGill example (21st in the world rankings) they will consider you not exclusively on the reductive grades basis that has become the hallmark of UK universities but on the whole of ‘you’ and what you can offer. On top of which you will have the opportunity to study a wider variety of subjects before settling on your major in your 2nd year. For those of you who remain a little uncertain of precisely what it is you want to study or become, the North American idea of studying a few different subjects to sample the reality, this can be a real boon.
That’s it really, in amongst the aforementioned frippery maybe take some time to consider whether your short term future is in the UK or whether you have the get up and go to get up and go. Alongside your work experience this little thought experiment, a tiny bit of research could be the most important thing you do this holiday.