Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Why You Should Be Studying Abroad

Britain’s education system isn’t improving any time soon; James Dancey explains why studying abroad is a much more preferable option.

Ridiculous tuition fees, unbelievably low contact hours, and a receding level of international achievement. British students have suffered over the last few years. Whoever is to blame is irrelevant, but grudgingly attending is no longer a reasonable option if they want to carry on down the lines of placing profit before education. Recent Governments have seen the University system as a money machine, made more for exploiting the students who attend there by emphasising a necessity of University education as a key to all paths of life, manipulating that Freshers excitement that most prospective students have and then slapping on a nice whopping 9,000 pound (soon to increase) price tag.

I’m a professional cynic, and add Universities to a list of things that I don’t really like, my view is that University doesn’t make you smart, it just makes you qualified. If it genuinely did make you smart, then the ‘Qualified’ people in the House of Parliament wouldn’t have screwed up this country so much. Yet, it’s something that I’m having to make do with, another 3 years down the pan to be taught something that I could learn on my own merit. Just for a piece of paper to let everyone know that I did it ‘Officially’. Woop.

I’ve been conned, but not as much as others.  Because at the end of my education, I’ll come out around £10,000 in debt. Which admittedly is an irritant, but a fifth of what many people will leave a British University with. It has been estimated that around half of the students will not ever be able to pay the money back, and many of the smartest people emigrate to countries like Australia to avoid paying them back altogether. I won’t be bugged by that burden, and it’s not because I’ve received a gratuitous grant or found a loophole. It’s simply because I’ve decided to accept an offer from an overseas University, that University being Amsterdam.

Amsterdam is ranked just outside the top 50 Universities in the world, higher than many of the Russell Group prestige, including Warwick, Durham, Bath, Exeter, Bristol and I could go on. Many of the courses provided at Amsterdam barely break 1,000 a year, the course I’m partaking in is marginally more expensive due to the nature of it but it’s still a gulfing class difference of expenditure.  Nearly all of the courses are taught in English, they’re all just as valuable as any British degree and it really does look impressive on your curriculum vitae.

Most people I tell I’m going abroad to study react more excitedly than I do, as if there is something particularly exotic, and I can respect that. Employers are looking for staff that can go the extra mile, so why not go the extra mile for University, for more than half the price. The cost-benefit analysis is heavily slanted in favour of studying abroad. So why don’t more people do it?

Well I believe it’s a lack of knowledge of how beneficial it really can be and how it can truly aid your future prospects, that’s why I’m writing this article, not just because the head editor will fire me otherwise, but because studying abroad is the smarter option, short-term and long-term.

The British University system is failing this generation of students. And in my opinion, the only way to make them take notice is to let your wallets do the talking. Call me a miserable sceptic but the only way they’ll ever start to change their ridiculous policy is when you stop them from making money off it. Money makes a Tory Government go round, and it’s time to stop the hamster wheel of greedy politicians’ continuous exploitation of students’ lack of political engagement. 
James X Editor