Erasmus – one way to meet your life partner ?

If you haven’t already heard about the Erasmus project, (which for lovers of acronyms stands for  European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students, although one suspects the name came first, followed by the rational. ), or have tried to promote its rational to students to seek out new lands and meet other people while studying at University the following website might be useful. Although one of Erasmus’s  aims was to promote closer working between universities across Europe and build on links leading to enterprise,  it is normally the student exchange which is the main reason people have heard of this project.  Although the main facts about what Erasmus is are clear and simple sometimes you need a story, or personal testimony, to enhance this approach to people. The power of Narrative can be key in this area.  One site that gathers personal testimony of students experiences of Erasmus can be found at http://mobi-blog.eu  which allows students to share their Erasmus stories.  Although some of the posts are in the original language of the individual student many are in English and if not, Google will kindly offer to translate the page.  Although one Erasmus presentation I attended at a recent HELOA meeting said that 1 in 10 of the students taking part had found their life partner through taking part in such an exchange, I’m not sure how scientific that result actually was !

Why Does Diversity Matter at College Anyway?

Having experienced the recent one world week at one of my local colleges, http://www.strode-college.ac.uk/student_life/288 which I know is replicated across other institutions, and having discussed the need for greater awareness of the Diversity agenda within our work with colleagues I though it would be useful to summarise the 8 reasons why diversity does matter in education. It is from an American posting, (hence the use of a phrase such as liberal arts), but is quite a useful listing by authors of the book Diversity and the College Experience. The headline reasons are:-

1. Diversity expands worldliness.

2. Diversity enhances social development.

3. Diversity prepares students for future career success.

4. Diversity prepares students for work in a global society.

5. Interactions with people different from ourselves increase our knowledge base.

6. Diversity promotes creative thinking.

7. Diversity enhances self-awareness.

8. Diversity enriches the multiple perspectives developed by a liberal arts education.

You can read a fuller summary of this here: http://www.usnews.com/blogs/professors-guide/2009/08/12/why-does-diversity-matter-at-college-anyway.html

International Career Resources – from London Met

Following on from my comments previously about the increasing internationalisation of the student body in HE, (and indeed FE), I thought it would be useful to share this site from London Met Uni. Quite nice summary of info and, when used in conjunction with other resources on the net, such as careers europe, gives a good start to this field on international careers guidance particularly for those students returning to their own country. If there are othe resources you are aware of and would like to share please do let me know and we’ll include it on our site. https://intranet.londonmet.ac.uk/studentservices/careers/current/csinternational/international-career-resources/international-career-resources_home.cfm

Building a common career language – from Alberta, Canada

If you’ve ever wondered about how to use the word “career” or what “career development” is really defined as, you now have a tool that can help.  I came across this whilst doing some work on careers recently and thought it was a useful summary to spark comments and ideas. Obviously this is from Canada and so we might feel some aspects should be changed for the UK, but it is food for thought. Particularly in light of the general confusion of “careers” and “careers advice” I’m quite aware that we can all use the same words to mean very different things.  I particularly like the 6 career development terms they have listed down the left hand side. Aspects such as “Community Economic Development” and “Labour Market” are going to be key aspects embedded within the phrase ‘careers’ in the future I feel, especially their values and benefits. Check out  http://www.careerdevelopment.ab.ca/matrix/ for the whole thing !

e-Guidance & Virtual career development – interesting paper from IAEVG

With the continuing rise in the use of the internet, and everything now being prefaced with either ‘e’ or ‘i’ in the brave new world, the aspect of ‘e-guidance’ is coming to the fore with increasing rapidity. An interesting paper from the IAEVG website http://ktl.jyu.fi/img/portal/15150/E-GUIDANCE__VIRTUAL_CAREER_DEVELOPMENT_IAEVG.pdf gives an interesting insight into where things are moving.  Unfortunately the actual definition of e-guidance various with everyone you speak to. For some the fact that you can email careers questions is e-guidance, whilst for others this barely qualifies as such a thing. Although the government has already got some work going in the area with www.careersadvice.gov.uk and www.connexions-direct.com they divorce the service they provide from actually seeing people face-to-face. In my experience this is still desired by a propostion of the clients we see and should only be seen as part of the mix rather than all careers guidance being delivered via e-guidance.  With increasing pressure of careers services both at Uni and outside the HE sector this is an area we will be returning to again before to long.

 

Foundation Course for overseas students – What is NCUK ?

Overseas students are increasing becoming a mix in the HE community, and this is only going to continue. When our local FE colleges have students from countries outside the EU showcased in the local press, this work is more mainsteam that many people realize. Such groups as the NCUK, http://www.ncuk.ac.uk/ a group comprising 11 Universities, has set up such a course for students from abroad to enter HE in the UK. Interesting initiative and set against a competitive international market for such students, the UK needs to be competitive in this field. With the current squeeze on fees, and increasing rumors of increases for UK/EU students, this work can only attain more importance. Giving career advice to students from abroad is both the same our usual work, but also another whole other issue which can involve a lot of research and checking of different aspects of work compared to dealing with UK nationals. Such issues as Visas can look large in some cases.  It can be interesting work, but can also be time consuming, one commodity which isn’t getting bigger in the working week of most staff I speak with.

Explore Higher Education and see the world !

Sometimes you just wonder if there is more out in the big wide world than you are aware of. This can be about holidays, people, and places to visit or, as this is a blog about Higher Education, universities! You may have heard about the Russell Group of universities in the UK, comprising 20 research intensive institutions which have quite a high media image, but have you heard of their equivalent in other countries? Such as the Australian ‘Group of Eight’, the Canadian ‘Group of Thirteen’, the American Ivy League institutions or the Universitas 21, which is a group of universities from 11 countries?   There are other groups of Universities in the UK, such as the 1994 Group and the Millions+ group of course, but these are not shown on this map…yet

Apart from being useful to know in case these questions ever come up in a quiz they can help you be aware of the wider world of HE which you might want to consider. Some degrees in the UK can include time abroad as part of your study. Some uni’s may have links with other institutions abroad which you could benefit from. If you like league tables, of which there are many, the QS World University Ranking lists even more.

Normally this would primarily be of interest to those who like long lists but a helpful fellow in Germany has plotted the location of the Top 100 universities in both the QS World University Rankings and the Shanghai Jiao Tong exercise on a friendly, interactive Google map to be found here. http://www.university-rankings.net . All the other university groupings mentioned above can also be viewed on this website.