A year in Edge Hill

Just Hi!

Well, this is probably my final post (not sure about that so far). I would like to use it to recollect the nice experiences I’ve had during this year in Edge Hill. I doubt that my experience can be generalized to create a picture of university life for an international postgraduate student, but I’ll do it anyway.

September. Arriving to Edge Hill. Wonderful welcome, awesome people. Made many good friends on the first day on campus. First week in Edge Hill was constant partying all night and travelling all day. I am really sad that I have to miss the Fresher’s Week this year. Only positive memories.

October – November. Beginning the studies. Trying to get involved and assessing my level of knowledge in the new environment. Getting used to a different teaching style and strange, but comfortable timetable. First challenges and deadlines.

December. Good times. Happiness and joy. Spending Christmas with Edge Hill friends and New Year back at home in Belarus. A bit cautious about the upcoming exams.

January – February. Passed the exams, submitted the courseworks. But no time to rest, the new semester is starting. Getting new tasks and deadlines. Working in the university brings a lot of experiences and new friends. The whole semester is filled with both hard work and enjoyable time spent partying and travelling around the country.

March – April. The weather is getting better, the partying is more intensive, but the workload is quite big. Nevertheless, everything is done on time, the dissertation proposal is written and I’m going back home for some time to do the research.

May. Exam time. This time only one exam in global marketing, but it was a tough one. Having taken it had an awesome month of smooth dissertation work, visiting London and looking for a postgraduate job (successfully).

June – August. Unusual summer. The first summer ever, when I had to do something every day. Dissertation writing process is getting more and more intensive and all the friends are leaving for their holidays. However, this is why I came here. Long hours of hard but enjoyable research process are worth it. Going to see the London Olympics with my girlfriend. Great times that I will remember for the rest of my life.

September. And here we are. Sorry, if my narration was a bit clumsy. Almost the whole year in Edge Hill has come to an end. So many feelings and experiences. So many new friends and places. So much work done. I look back at my postgraduate year in Edge Hill and I feel great. Although I have to leave and start the new chapter in my life, I will always remember this place and try to visit it from time to time. Edge Hill made a great contribution in my life. I’m not trying to encourage you to choose Edge Hill as a place to study. But if you do, I guarantee you won’t regret your decision.

“A University should be a place of light, of liberty, and of learning.”

–     Benjamin Disraeli

 

When you are leaving…

Përshëndetje!

Well, I’m almost done. Less than three weeks left before my deadline and I will go back home. In this respect, one little thought came to my mind. How to pack all my life here in 3 bags?

I have seen many students, both British and international, leaving the campus. It is fascinating how much stuff do all people accumulate and then just leave. Starting from huge amounts of cutlery up to the blankets and books – the things one leaves behind are usually the heaviest or the least valuable. So, what are the options for international students (let’s focus on this group) concerning their belongings that do not fit in the baggage?

First of all, and this is probably the most popular tradition, one can give the things to a friend who is staying. I used to be this friend every semester and I must say that this tradition is very helpful for a student who stays. It is good, from my point of view, when students help each other like that. It creates kind of continuity of generations for students, which always makes the student community stronger.

Apart from that tradition, one can give the things to charity. In case you have something that was barely used or is in very good conditions, I think it would be nice to give such things to those who need them. In Edge Hill there is a place, where you can bring things for charity, so why not do something good and donate some of your belongings.

As for me, I haven’t decided yet what I am going to do with my stuff. But it is certainly interesting how the things circulate among the students. In Edge Hill, the relationship between the people on campus is based on friendship and trust, so in case one needs something, your friends will always help you out. I think this makes the campus the place, where you would like to live not only because of some free things you might get, but because of the tight and friendly community of students, which gives you a lot of good friends, exciting times and pleasant experiences.

 

“The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

Concentration, international students and a duck!

Moin!

Last month of the summer is slowly coming to an end. Edge Hill is getting ready to meet new students. I am writing up my dissertation…typing all day long…every day…of every week.

Oh, who am I kidding…it’s not so bad at all. I don’t really understand why people are complaining about this type of work. Yes, it’s very difficult to concentrate on following the argument and not to lose the essential details. There are many sides of the dissertation writing process, but all in all it can be considered very interesting.

Since I was a child, I always wanted to write a book or a nice story. But I have never been very creative. Plus, being extremely active it was difficult for me to sit down and write something for more than 20 minutes. Today, I’ve worked on increasing this time to more than two hours. When the focus is lost after two hours of typing, a cup of strong Italian coffee always helps.

Ok, enough about me. Let’s have a look what is happening on campus. Halls are still being built; various departments of Edge Hill are dealing with clearance and having quite busy times. I can’t say that I’ve been following the life of Edge Hill closely during the last couple of weeks, since I’ve been sitting in my room 80% of the time. By the way, some new international students are arriving soon – will be interesting to meet them and maybe show them around. After all, it’s always nice to see a friendly face when you come to some new place. It’s good that Edge Hill doesn’t have a problem with that. International students don’t have a hard time blending in. I think it is even easier than everyone thinks, because of the huge number of internationals on campus. Not only they get to meet people on their course, but also living together with students of different nationalities makes the experience unforgettable.

Unfortunately, I have only two blogs left before I leave Edge Hill for quite a long time. I will come back for graduation and then go back home, where I am going to pursue the career of business analyst/ project manager. I hope I will have something interesting to share with you in my remaining posts, but for now I’ll leave you with this picture of a duck that I took the other day.

“Be like a duck. Calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath.”

–         Michael Caine.

 

London and Olympics

Вітаю!

Everyone has been talking about the Olympics lately. I could hear the questions like “Have you seen the fight today?” or “Did you watch the match last night?” all the time. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to watch Olympics due to my tight schedule and absence of a TV set (that fact benefits my studies a lot!). But I would like to acknowledge the importance of this event in my blog and tell you a little bit about the Olympic London.

My girlfriend came to visit me here in Edge Hill two weeks ago and out firs trip was to London, of course. On the train I was telling her the stories about busy London, which was going to be extremely busy and eventful during the Olympics. But as soon as we arrived I realised that it wasn’t so bad at all. Yes, the capital had loads of tourists in it, but it didn’t feel like you had to add one additional hour to your tube journey, if you wanted to arrive somewhere on time (at least the internet said so before the Olympics). I don’t know if it was the matter of all the people being in other places than we were or some kind of awesome infrastructure designed especially for the Olympics – the main thing was that it was comfortable in London.

Although we didn’t manage to get any tickets for the Olympic events, it was still good to be so close to the Olympics. As an international student I enjoy travelling a lot and getting new experiences all the time, so I felt brilliant being in the same spot with the entire world’s best sportspeople. I even took photos with some them, for example, with a former NBA-Star Dikembe Mutombo, whom I met by chance sightseeing near the Buckingham Palace. The overall experience of being in Olympic London was astonishing and left a lot of nice memories.

Today’s blog will not be devoted to some important topic. I just wanted to share with you my little Olympic experience. However, if we think about it, it all goes down to the importance of using every opportunity one may have to see the world, get knew knowledge and experiences or even just take some time to relax and enjoy one’s life. I guess, these are some of the building blocks that you should use to build your nature…

“Every moment is an experience.”

–         Jake Roberts.

Edge Hill and constant development

Hi!

So, July is coming to an end and that means one thing – only one month of summer left. I don’t know about you, my friends, but for me personally August has always been the favorite summer month. Maybe it’s because I feel the autumn coming and start to cherish every summer day more and more. Maybe it’s because my birthday is in August, or because for me it has always been the time when I can afford to have a lot of free time and rest. Anyway, all of us have the reasons to love a certain part of the summer. This year is different for me, because I am still studying and trying to write up the dissertation research I have done. It doesn’t mean that the time is less exciting, it just means constantly being pretty busy 🙂

From my point of view, the same thing is happening with our Edge Hill University. After the end of graduation week it seems like the University should have its much needed rest, as it is almost like the living organism. However, as I still live on campus, I can say that the situaton is quite different. The university is living it’s life, life without the students, but life focusing on preparation for the new academic year. New halls are being built (am I the only one who thinks that they are being built at the speed of light?), other parts of campus are being renovated and cleaned. It seemes like the University is constantly improved, and I thik I have a full authority to state that, because I can see the process of development every day.

I suppose, it is crucial for any educational establishment to be aimed at constant progress and development, especially during the year when the fees are rising. Now it will not be enough for a uni just to repeat the same process year after year. The prestige of British education as well as the fees will grow and, unfortunately, fewer people will be able to afford going to the university. Those who would be able to afford will try to choose the best educational establishments possible, so the universities will have to fight to get the best students. In this respect, I think Edge Hill has been doing a good job investing in it’s staff and facilities, which will definitely benefit both the studenst who choose to study here and the university itself.

I am very excited to start the new academic year together with Edge Hill, in spite of the fact that will only stay here till the end of September. But as soon as my disertation is submitted, I am going back home to start my career as a business analyst. Definitely coming back in December for my graduation – can’t miss it, for sure 🙂

Graduation!

Good evening!

Sorry for being away for a while…hope you are all well! 🙂

Graduation…so much in this word for everyone, who had one. Every former student remembers his or her graduation. It always brings good mood and pleasant experience. And graduation in Edge Hill University is no exception.

Last week I was working on the alumni stand in the centre of the hub and I had a wonderful opportunity to see all the aspects of graduation from a different angle. That allowed me not only to compare it with my graduation that happened a year ago in Minsk State Linguistic University, but also to get the idea what kind of event I’ll be a part of in December 2012.

From the first ceremony on Monday till the last ceremony on Friday it was a continuous celebration: celebration of people’s achievements, celebration of the big moment for the whole families, celebration of becoming a graduate. I think everyone would agree with me that graduation can be considered a crucial milestone in every person’s life. It is the time when you realise, that many years of gaining different knowledge and learning various skills have come to an end. And how wonderful this time was!

From my point of view, graduation is all about cherishing this time you’ve spent in the university. I can say I liked the ceremony and the reception in Edge Hill very much and I will be looking forward to my own graduation. From my experience I can say that graduation in Edge Hill differs a lot from graduations in other universities I’ve seen before. The combination of traditional aspects that make every graduation unique and brilliant organization that makes everyone feel comfortable – this is the recipe for graduation’s success in Edge Hill. Looking at the process from the other side, I could see how many people were doing their best to make this experience unforgettable for graduates and their loved ones, and I think we should all thank them.

Unfortunately, the graduation is over, but we all have something to remember about it. Now, it’s time to start a new journey, which will bring new experiences, new challenges and new friends. This might be a little frightening at first, because everyone got used to being a student, but it’s ok. There is a long road ahead of you, graduates, and it depends only on you, whether this road will be exciting and full of experiences or dull and boring.  Good luck! 😉

International graduates’ career search

Hei!

Today, I wanted to start where we left, which is finding a job for international graduate. So, let’s not beat around the bush.

In the UK every graduate has a degree from the UK. You are almost similar to all the other graduates, who want to apply for a prestigious graduate scheme. However, outside the UK, British degree becomes your unique asset, which can be successfully sold to the employer. This asset is valuable for the same reasons as British education is famous, if you know what I mean. Apart from having awesome qualifications, you, as an international student, have knowledge of at least one more language, other than English. Language ability is another crucial asset of yours, especially when you have working knowledge of 3 and more languages. Moreover, consider your international communication and travelling experience as an advantage too. There are numerous things that you can include in your CV that other people wouldn’t be able to use. This creates a competitive advantage for you, if you are thinking of working somewhere outside the UK.

Despite the problems in job markets in several countries like the USA or the UK, qualified international graduates have very good career opportunities in other countries, like Russia, China, Nigeria etc. Much depends on the graduates’ willing to work in the particular sphere, of course. Having considered the areas you want to work in and the positions you are interested in, it’s time to evaluate the legal possibilities of working somewhere. Look at the number of countries, where you are allowed to work or where it is relatively easy to get the work permit. These two simple actions will allow an international student to narrow the range of opportunities to more realistic ones.

Once it has been done, you’ll have a list of places, industries and positions that you should start going through. Of course, it might sound too easy right now, but applying a consistent approach to the job search, being proactive and always keeping the spirits high will lead you to finding your own career path. And there is nothing more important than to enjoy what you are doing. I hope these little tips and ideas might be useful for an international graduate looking for a job.

“You never stop earing when you do what you love.”

–         Asha Tyson.

 

Searching for a job

Barev!

July is on its way and only two months left before the end of summer. For me it means studying and trying to find a job, for others’ it’s all about holidays abroad or a fancy job placement.

As I was going through the process of applying for many jobs, I started thinking about various options for international students. Of course, taking into account the questionable British immigration laws that do not allow anymore staying in the UK for two years after graduation to get some work experience, international students (I’m talking today about those, who are considered “outside-EU internationals”) have to be flexible and creative in order to find a nice place to start their career.

The changes in the immigration laws don’t mean that you are kicked out of the country as soon as you graduate. You still have an option to apply for a job here in the UK. But the employer has to sponsor your Tier 2 General visa. So, when employers have a choice either to do something extra to employ an international student or employ a British national (which is, of course, encouraged by the government), they tend to choose British graduates. In the extremely competitive environment of graduate job search, this is a disadvantage for international students, which is very difficult to overcome. It doesn’t mean, of course, that you should give up. If you really want to stay and work in the UK, everything is in your hands. It’s not a shame to try and fail…it’s a shame to never try.

However, there is always an option to find a job somewhere else. Frankly speaking, it’s not an easy task too, but who told you that life is all sunshine and rainbows? 🙂 Not only employers in the UK require a valid work permit to employ an international student without any trouble. The similar situation is in USA, the Netherlands or, for example, Dubai. In some countries it’s easier to obtain the work permit; in some it’s more difficult. Moreover, it also depends on the country of your permanent residency and it’s relationships with those countries.

So, what are the further options? We are going to talk about it next week! 🙂

“No one gets very far unless he accomplishes the impossible at least once a day.” 

– Elbert Hubbard.

Perfect weather for studying

Konnichiha!

Not much going on lately in the university. Someone is studying, someone is doing placements, someone is just getting ready to go back home…and only some of the international students like me are staying here and doing their research.

England has always been known for its questionable weather. When I was just planning to come here, people were saying that it’s constantly either raining, has just rained or is going to rain. Although last week provided us with several days of horrible weather and I had to wear my winter jacket because of the strong rain and wind, the weather generally hasn’t been so bad. I’ve always liked to compare weather conditions in different countries I visit. For example, British winter is nice and warm in comparison with the winter in Belarus. We usually have minus 20-25 degrees °C, which can at some point go down to 30-35 if we are not very lucky. Since I arrived to Edge Hill, I have seen snow only once and the temperature is not very low. However, my fellow students from Nigeria would probably disagree with me as I know that many of them think that the weather here is very cold.

Of course it might be considered cold, in comparison with United Arab Emirates, for example. Summer in UAE is extremely hot and from my experience of a pretty hot spring there I can assume that summer is unbearable.

Of course, it’s always nice to live where the weather is nice and warm. But let’s look from the students’ point of view. When it’s hot and sunny outside everyone goes to a beach, park or at least their balcony to enjoy some fresh air and get their share of Vitamin D. Such weather is not the best option, if you need to work hard on your thesis or do your work placement. On the other hand, if it’s a bit chilly with occasional rain here and there, it’s much easier to convince yourself that you should stay in and work. From my point of view, such weather contributes to the amount of quality studying time. Maybe it’s due to rainy weather the British education is considered one of the best in the world 🙂

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” 

– John Ruskin.

 

My summer in Edge Hill.

Góðan  daginn!

Well, not much going on lately, I must say. Every day there are fewer people on campus and the university should probably be in a sleeping mode. However, that’s not true!

I could not imagine that there will be so many events going on during summertime. In many universities worldwide summer is the time staff to take a break from huge amounts of students on campus and prepare for the “new season of the show”. Edge Hill seems to be different. Something is going on in the uni every week. A lecture by some distinguished person, celebration of Queen’s Jubilee for the employees or Open Day – all these things create the atmosphere of development and constant movement forward.

I have been thinking about it while sitting in my room working on the dissertation. When you have so many hours of reading and writing to do every day to make your work really good, there is not much time left for other things. Nevertheless, I try to have some rest occasionally, in order not to burnout. As I have written in my previous posts, Edge Hill has a great advantage of being located not in a big city. For me personally, this advantage results in at least half an hour a day spent outside breathing fresh air, running in the woods or just wandering around.

What I have noticed is that I truly enjoy doing research for my dissertation. I have even been considering an option of taking the career path in academia. Of course, if I choose to do so I think would like to get a PhD in Business and Management. It would be a long hard walk and I am not sure yet that I am ready to choose that option right now. I think getting work experience in the field of your interest can benefit your future decision to do research in that sphere and bring much better results. One of my friends from USA, who studied in Edge Hill for one semester in 2011, was so impressed by education in the UK that he decided to apply for a PhD program here. So now I am thinking would it be better for me to pursue the career in academia after my graduation or try to find a position in a good company to get many years of work experience, which, combined with excellent academic qualifications, will provide me with a solid foundation for my future undertakings.

Anyway, now is the time to make a decision and there are many factors that might influence it. But I know that I am neither the first one to make that decision, nor the last. That thought will help me to be confident, sensible and creative…I am sure!

“Each of the professions means a prejudice. The necessity for a career forces every one to take sides. We live in the age of the overworked, and the under-educated; the age in which people are so industrious that they become absolutely stupid.”

–         Oscar Wilde.