February 08, 2013

Studying Abroad

Studying in Australia, India, UK, France and USA

Studying in Australia

Having the rights of international students protected by the law has made Australia the new Eldorado of undergraduates and postgraduate students. Australia is the most popular destination amongst Mauritian students, with a total enrolment of 2,966 or 29.5% of the student population overseas in 2011.

Australia has 40 universities, 67% of which rank in the Top 500 in the world. The education system in Australia promotes innovative, creative and independent thinking, choice, flexible delivery, lifelong learning, and quality teaching.

The reasons for students to choose Australia are simple: the qualifications and institutions are globally recognised; it is a multicultural, sophisticated and harmonious society with political, social and economic stability; there is excellent value for money and a high standard of living and also some of the safest and most liveable cities in the world. Above all these, the new courses which Australian universities offer besides the traditional ones attract lots of students. These include games programming, forensic science, and new media among others. Australia also has an international reputation for discovery and innovation.

Entry in Australian universities is very competitive. English proficiency may be relevant though typically, GRE, SAT and some other programs are not required. However, and MBA may require GMAT and work experience.

Cost and Visa applications

On average, the living expenses amount to around AUD$ 18,000 per year. These include accommodation, food, clothing, entertainment, transport & travel, telephone and any incidental costs. Studying in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide is more costly than in other places.

Tuition costs vary between AUD$ 14,000 and AUD$ 36,000 per year on average depending on the level and course and the institution. Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is AUD $ 400 – 600 a year per student. International students can work up to 20 hours per week while studying in Australia (on or off-campus) during study terms, and full-time during vacations.

Though the large continent has become one of the favourite destinations, it is also one of the countries from where students are easily deported, if they do not abide by the regulations. To study in Australia, there are two stages: the first step is to choose a university and then a course. It is only after the application of the student has been accepted by the university that he can apply for a student visa.

There are many criteria that have to be satisfied before the allocation of a student visa. Confirmation of enrolment at a Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students, (CRICOS) registered institution in Australia; English language proficiency; financial capacity; a genuine intention to study in Australia; other requirements such as age, education, among others. The average processing time for a student visa application is five weeks.

Once in Australia, students must attend their classes, lectures and tutorials and fend for themselves as teaching in Australia is student-centred. Also, students must show academic progress else their student visa may be cancelled and they will not be allowed to enter Australia for the next three years.

Studying in France

France is the third study destination after the United States and the United Kingdom. In 2010, more than 2,500 Mauritians chose French Universities for their post-secondary education.

The main reason that French Universities attract so many students is due to their prestigious and renowned universities and their reputation in research work as well as the possibility of studying in French. In fact, French is on the same level as English and is used equally in various international institutions. Both English and French are the official languages in these international institutions and having a French degree opens many doors; with greater and better job opportunities namely in foreign affairs and institutions dealing with international and multilateral relations.

The variety of courses offered is another main reason why Mauritians opt for French Universities. There are more than 3,500 teaching bodies, both private and public, as well as research centres: universities, engineering schools, schools of commerce and management, higher schools of arts, schools of architecture, schools and institutions specialised in social work, paramedical, tourism, sports, fashion and design, among others.

There is also another positive point in studying in France. There exist various links and bridges at different levels of the courses to allow for reorientation and a more deepen study. The French degrees are structured around a European architecture which is the degree, master and doctorate, with reference to the different stages (three, five or eight years of study) which allow students to either pursue their courses or to re-orient themselves. The modules are divided into credits, the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), which are cumulative during the progression of the studies and transferable to the whole of the European community. For example, a student can start his studies in Germany, pursue them in France and complete them in the UK.

The degrees offered by the French Universities are national degrees and thus have the same values, independent of the institution which awarded the degree. Also, the degrees are recognised in all countries of the European Union, hence offering more job prospects to the degree holders. French Universities are much coveted for its almost-free studies.

Traveling to the UK

United Kingdom is the second most coveted study destination after the United States of America. In 2011, almost 1,000 Mauritians flew UK for their tertiary studies.

What students and parents should bear in mind is that the procedures for the application of a student visa in the UK have changed since February 2012. Changes have been brought to the procedures when applying for a student visa in the UK, whereby all the forms are submitted online. This includes the application for getting a student visa, the registration and the payment as well.

The British High Commission in Port Louis will forward the application form and supporting documents to the British High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa by courier (the cost is included in the application fee) where all visa applications decisions will now be considered. There will be no change to visa requirements or the way in which the visa application is considered. The only difference is the location where the applications are processed.

Applicants will have to submit original copies for all the documents required. They will also have to prove that they have the finance for their courses that they will be undertaking. Students have the right to work in the UK on a part-time basis (one third of their time in work and two thirds for their study).

Also, students have to take the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). IELTS is an international test in English which is mandatory when applying in any academic institution in the UK. It evaluates the linguistic capacity of the candidate who wishes to study or work in the UK. In Mauritius, the test is under the aegis of the British Council at the cost of Rs 6,000. For the preparation of the test, the British Council offers 30 hours of online coaches. The results are obtained 13 days after the test is taken and can be consulted on the website of the British Council.

Studying in India

India is the fourth most favourite destination of Mauritian students for higher education after Australia, UK and France. The unparalleled variety of academic courses at affordable prices, the umbilical ties between the two countries, and the 100 scholarships offered to Mauritian students are the main reasons behind.

Every year, around 300 Mauritian students go to India in pursuance of higher education in various of spheres: Sciences, ICT, Engineering, Medicine, Humanities, Management, Commerce and Indian languages. Centres of academic excellence in the areas of sciences, technology, ICT and humanities with a well-defined recognizing and regulatory system have added to the charm of ‘Destination India’ in students’ journey towards higher education and assured career.

The most coveted universities by Mauritians are the University of Delhi, Bangalore University and Pune University. With 343 universities and 17,000 colleges, India offers a wide spectrum of courses that are recognised globally. There are universities focusing on the study of medicine, arts and language, journalism, social work, business, commerce, planning, architecture, engineering, and other specialised studies. Most Indian universities teach in English Medium and conduct special language classes for those weak in English.

Apart from undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral courses, there are many training and diploma-level institutes and polytechnics that cater to the growing demand for skill-based and vocational education. The quality education that India offers is within the reach of every income-group considering the reasonable fee structure. With 66 distance education institutions functioning in 60 universities besides 11 open universities, India has an enlarged outreach of distance education as well.

United States – Living the American dream

The United States is the No 1 study destination for international students thanks to its unique educational system. The number of Mauritian students going for their post-secondary education to the United States is also on the rise.

Students need to bear in mind that the admission process to U.S universities can be quite long. Thus, a student who wishes to pursue his/her studies in an American university should start looking for some one and a half year earlier. There are around 4,000 institutions in the U.S and students can apply between ten and twenty universities to increase their chance of getting admission.

During the application process, students have to send an essay and the latter has a major role in getting the student admission. Moreover, students must apply to institutions and not to degree programs. In the U.S, an undergraduate program is over four years which is why the students have to bear in mind that they have to look for means to fund their studies and their cost of living over the four years. Institutions do give financial aid but admissions with aid are highly competitive and the students are then under academic scrutiny during their whole study period. U.S education can cost from US$ 15,000-$55,000 a year.

Not to forget, there are some exams required by most American universities: the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

Education USA of the U.S Embassy and the reference centre is open to those who wish to pursue their studies in the U.S. Opening hours: 8am to noon and 2pm to 4pm on Tuesdays and 2pm to 4pm on Thursday at the U.S Embassy, Port Louis; and week days from 9am to 4pm at advising centre, Carnegie in Curepipe.



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