Category Archives: Education

You Are a Master Without Going Into Debt

Hardly a day goes by without another report of soaring student debt or rising tuition fees. And if a university education wasn’t already expensive, many students are finding that an undergraduate degree isn’t enough. But graduate school isn’t cheap (between $10-25K in the US and about £8K in the UK per year) and even when a master’s will increase a student’s employability or improve their potential salary, taking out more student loans or finding the cash to pay for another two to five years of schooling are hardly pleasant prospects. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid further debt or abject poverty during your graduate degree. Here are five ways to fund your master’s degree.

1. Scholarships
If you thought that scholarships and grants were only for undergraduates, think again. There are numerous scholarships aimed at funding post-graduate studies – you just need to know where to look. If you’re already enrolled in a program, visit your school’s financial aid department and ask for information on scholarships specific to your course or department. It should go without saying, but the internet is your friend when it comes to graduate funding. Sites like gograd.org, thescholarshiphub.org.uk, and scholarship-searcg.org.uk let students search for funding based on degree level, course, and even specific individual qualifications like gender or military service. Minority students should check the McNair Scholars Program.

2. Research Grants
Grants are a bit more specialized than scholarships and may take a bit more effort, but they have the added benefit of counting towards career development, especially if you plan on going into an academic or research career. Again, start with your institution and look for research or project grants aimed at your degree. Many departments have grant funding for graduate students to complete specialized training, travel for research, or purchase necessary supplies or equipment. Ask your professors or advisors – they may already have (or may be applying) for funding and will be seeking research assistants. Use the internet to find subject-based grants: health science graduates should visit the National Institute of Health’s funding site, while students perusing master’s in the humanities or social sciences can use h-net.org.

3. Study Abroad
Studying abroad is often viewed as expensive, but for grad students, it can be a smart, economical choice. While students in the UK and the US can expect to pay thousands of pounds or dollars a year for graduate studies, many countries offer master’s degrees at little to no cost for both domestic and international students. Scandinavia and western Europe are prime destinations for thrifty grad students – tuition is free in Norway, Sweden, and Finland, while students pay nominal fees in Germany, France, and Spain. Outside Europe, look to Singapore, Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa for low-cost tuition as well as a low cost of living.

4. Assistantships and Fellowships
One often overlooked way of funding your graduate studies is through an assistantship or fellowship. Many universities offer reduced or free tuition to grad students who agree to perform research or teaching assistant duties during their studies. While this will increase your responsibilities during your studies, teaching or assisting with research can be incredibly valuable once you’ve completed your degree. Before applying for graduate school, take some time to research the assistantship opportunities at your top choices and don’t forget to consider some smaller, less well-known programs where competition for positions might be less rigorous but the quality of scholarship is just as prestigious.

5. Work and Study
And finally, if you’re unsure whether grad school is the right course of action and are concerned about the cost, consider waiting a bit. Once you’ve worked in your field for a period of time, you’ll have a better idea about the value of a graduate degree and the course of study that will be most beneficial to your career. As a bonus, many companies and employers offer career development subsidies for employees who want to earn a post-graduate certificate or degree. This is an ideal course of action for business students, early-career educators, and other fields where graduate degrees improve your salary potential but may be viewed as over-qualification for an entry-level position.

The most remember when you are study

Regret is a part of life. Unfortunately, it’s also a part of the post-college experience for many grads looking back on their college years. The good news? By learning about some of the most common regrets expressed by former college students now, you can take proactive steps to avoid ending up with the same laments. To that end, we’re counting down five top regrets experienced by college grads.

1. Not taking enough stimulating classes
It’s easy to lose track of the big picture in college. After all, you’re finally out on your own with near-endless ways to spend your time. It’s hardly a surprise that you’re inclined to take less-than-challenging classes to leave more time for everything from sleeping in to partying. Unfortunately, this is a short-sighted outlook with potentially long-term consequences.

Choosing a class because of its reputation as a “gut” or because it’s offered in the afternoon as opposed to in the morning may seem like the an easy thing to do, but is it the best thing to do? Instead, keep your eye on the prize — your own bright future! — by choosing classes because they are of interest to you and/or because they’re connected to your future career.

Think of it this way: After graduation, you’ll never regret having to get up at 8AM to make it to your 9AM class your sophomore year of college, but you will regret being eliminated from consideration for a job because you don’t have the right academic credentials.

2. Not traveling abroad
You might think college life is demanding, but as soon as you graduate and get a job, your life gets a whole lot more crowded with responsibilities. In college, however, there are not only plentiful study abroad opportunities, but they are designed to seamlessly integrate within a semester or academic year.

From personal enrichment to second language fluency to the global perspective sought after by today’s employers, international study has many rewards. And there’s no better time to start cashing in on them than during college.

3. Poor money management
College students aren’t exactly known for their financial prudence. Between late-night beer and pizza to easy access to credit, the temptation to spend — particularly for students who’ve until now been financially dependent on their parents — is strong. But cavalier spending in college can lead to dire outcomes. In fact, a staggering 77 percent of college grads under the age of 40 regret failing to adequately plan for student loan debt management, according to a study conducted by Citizens Financial Group as reported by Time.

While students can take steps to minimize their loan debt by budgeting during their college days, applying for scholarships, and only borrowing when absolutely necessary, another group of people can play an equally if not more important in preparing students for the realities of debt: Parents. Open discussions about the cost of college and how families plan to pay for it can help ensure that students fully understand the implications of carrying student loan debt.

4. Opting out of internships
If you’re like many students, you may already feel stretched thin by your course load. However, when it comes to landing the job of your dreams, it may take more than a great class schedule. With employers increasingly prioritizing real-world skills, internships have not only become differentiating factors on a resume, but can also be an invaluable networking tool. Your university career office to learn more about available jobs and summer internships. Some may require your services just a few hours a week while yielding exponential payoffs.

Need more proof to hop on the internship train? According to research from the New York Federal Reserve, candidates with work experience in their industries were 14 percent more likely to get interviews than their non-working counterparts. The research further concluded that work experience outweighed everything from grades to majors when it came to landing jobs.

5. Skipping opportunities for social involvement
Committing to your coursework doesn’t mean forgoing all other aspects of life. In fact, a well-rounded experience may not only be the key to enjoying your college years, but can also help lay the groundwork for a more fulfilling life after college, too. For many people, the friends they make during college become their closest friends for life. For others who don’t put themselves out there, however, lack of friendships turn into lifelong regret.

The truth is that college is one of the easiest times in life to form meaningful bonds. Why? Because you’re all in the same boat!

If, however, you struggle with making friends one-on-one or just haven’t found your tribe yet, joining a student club or intramural sports team can help you meet and connect with like-minded people.

Mark Twain once wrote, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” We can think of no better scenario to which this quote applies than the college years. The overall takeaway? Stop worrying about what you might not do, and get out there and start doing!

The secret that should to know when study in finland

Finland is one of the northernmost countries in the world, and while it may be off the beaten track this Nordic country is anything but insular. Finland leads the world in education, government transparency, stability, and saunas. But what makes Finland the perfect destination for an international student? We asked Mats Engblom from the University of Helsinki to tell us what makes Finland special.

1. Natural Beauty

The entire country of Finland, barring a few islands of its southernmost coast, is located above the 60th parallel. Finland’s geographic location, as well as its stunning landscape, makes it an ideal location for students wanting to study and explore.  Head north in the summer when the sun doesn’t set and hike around any of Finland’s 168,000 lakes. In the winter, Finland turns into a winter wonderland with cross country ski trails through Helsinki’s central park and northern lights that dance across the sky.

2. Vibrant International Community

Finland has a small population (just under 5.5 million people), but the country has a diverse international community, and international students will find a warm welcome. The University of Helsinki, along with the rest of the country, has worked to establish an “attractive and internationally competitive” profile and international students have a strong network of support.

3. Strong Local Culture

Finnish people may seem very reserved, but once you get to know them, you’ll find a warm, friendly population and cities full of life. Finns drink more coffee than any other people on earth (around 12kg per person per year!) and the capital city of Helsinki is “full of cafes, culture and clubs.” Spend your weekends browsing flea markets and art galleries, and check out the city’s dynamic music scene featuring everything from classic operas to a rock culture that makes Finland a leader in yet another area – heavy metal bands!

4. World-Class Education

You can hardly open the news without hearing about Finland’s marvelous education system, but the country deserves its reputation. Finland repeatedly ranks in the top five for PISA scores, Finns borrow more library books than any other country in the world, and in the “latest Shanghai ranking, [the University of Helsinki was] #56.” The university is working its way to the top of the ranking and employs instructors who are also esteemed researchers, making it a smart choice for ambitious international students.

 

Great Plan When Graduate School

If you’ve already been accepted to graduate school, we’ve got good news for you: your writing skills were strong enough to get your application past the admissions committee. But this doesn’t mean you can just kick back and coast on what worked during your undergraduate studies. Not only will more be expected of you during your pursuit of an advanced degree, but there’s also likely to be a thesis in your future. The takeaway? The time is now to sharpen up your writing skills. Let’s count down six tips aimed at ensuring that your writing is on point in graduate school.

1. Convey Your Expertise
Graduate students are training to be experts in their field. This expertise should be exemplified by your writing. Your language should be direct, confident and authoritative in order to foster a sense of trust with your readers.

Other ways to assemble a cogent argument? Avoid first person tense whenever possible; employ transition words and phrases; and pay attention to sentence structure. Two true hallmarks of graduate level writing? Clarity and control.

2. Make Writing Routine
We’ve all heard the expression “practice makes perfect.” This is no more true than when it comes to graduate level writing. Making time to write regularly will not only help you develop critical thinking and writing skills, but can also be an invaluable confidence booster.

Establishing a writing routine is particularly beneficial when it comes to working on your thesis. Many graduate students wait too long to start writing and end up rushing through the process. This can lead to everything from an underdeveloped argument to lack of proper formatting. Avoid this pitfall by setting a schedule for writing as you go…and by committing to stick with it.

3. Know Your Reader
Any piece of writing should keep one overarching question in mind: Who is the audience and why are they reading your writing? In addition to clearly presenting your ideas, keep in mind that your thesis is an original contribution to your particular discipline. Make sure your reader knows what to expect by including “signposts” — such as a table of contents, abstract, introductory paragraphs, etc. — along the way to help guide your reader. Each sentence should relate in some way to your overall argument.

4. Seek Feedback
While graduate level writing is largely an individual effort, there’s plenty of help to be found if you know where to look. For starters, your advisor can be an amazing resource when it comes to “big picture” issues, such as selecting a topic and refining your thesis. In addition to helping identify your paper’s strengths, your advisor can also help suss out your weaknesses thereby preventing you from venturing too far in the wrong direction.

Your fellow grad students, meanwhile, can offer editing and proofreading assistance. And while finding someone in your field can be particularly useful — especially if you’re writing about a complex or scientific subject — friends and family members can also offer a helpful second (or third or fourth) pair of eyes.

5. Embrace the Revision Process
No piece of writing gets it perfect the first time. In fact, research and writing go hand in hand with revision, but many writers still get tripped up by setting impossible expectations for themselves. The best way to avoid this trap? Make revision part of your mindset.

Also, keep in mind that revision is much more than merely proofreading for mistakes. Rather, it’s an act of complete “re-seeing.” While this often involves expanding on key concepts, it sometimes means letting go of good material if it doesn’t make an essential contribution to your writing. We can all learn from William Faulkner, who once spoke of the need to, “Kill all your darlings.”

6. Learn from the Best
One of the best ways to get a better sense of what your writing should look like? Immersing yourself in published work from experts in your field. Visit your school library to read top journals in your discipline, noting writers and writing techniques you most admire. Reading dissertations in your particular area can also help you familiarize yourself with the corpus of research while gaining a better sense of the language used to describe varying concepts.

You’ve already proved your mettle by getting into graduate school, but that’s just the start. These six tips can help you take your writing to the next level. The best part? Writing is a transferrable skill. In other words, you can continue to call on these skills to be a better writer, thinker and communicator throughout your professional and personal life.

How to be a master thesis

You’ve got one camp telling you that an excellent thesis will help you make a name for yourself in your field. Another waxes on about the value of having an internship for landing a job. Given these dual imperatives, it hardly comes as a shock that many driven master’s students find themselves performing a daily juggling act. No one said graduate school was going to be easy, but it doesn’t have to feel like you’re always one dropped ball away from disaster. Let’s count down four ways to successfully balance your master’s thesis and internship.

1. Schedule Daily Time to Write
The fact that your boss expects you to be at your internship everyday provides meaningful motivation to show up. Unfortunately, the same element of external accountability is missing from the thesis scenario. The unhappy result? It often ends up getting moved aside and pushed back — ultimately leaving you in a bind when the deadline is suddenly bearing down and you’re weeks behind where you’d hoped to be by now.

The best way to avoid the last minute rush? Rather than letting your thesis become the thing you do when don’t have anything else to do, make it your priority by establishing a regular writing routine. Not only will this help keep you on track, but it can also get your brain in the habit of writing. Like any other form of “exercise,” the more you write, the easier it becomes. In fact, in committing to write every day, you’re likely to experience all new levels of productivity.

2. Prioritize Your Productivity
Do you work best in the earlier hours of the morning while it’s still dark outside? Or perhaps you thrive in the wee hours after everyone else has gone to bed? Do you find working in a coffee shop surrounded by hordes of other people invigorating, or do you need a more solitary environment in order to concentrate?

Not everyone finds inspiration in the same environment. Understanding where you find yours is extremely beneficial when it comes to promoting peak productivity. After all, making time to write is only part of the “big picture.” Also critical? Maximizing that time.

3. Keep Your Employer In the Loop
One of the good things about internships is that they’re often designed to accommodate student schedules. In most cases, your employer will be more than happy to work with you to come up with a mutually agreeable work schedule which allows ample time for thesis writing, as well. If you end up in a position where you need to cut back on your internship hours to devote extra time to work on your thesis, open lines of communication are key. Just be upfront in expressing your needs from the start in order to avoid confusion and/or bad feelings in the future.

One additional thing to keep in mind? If you’re planning on continuing to work for your current employer after you graduate, the completion of your thesis — particularly if it’s germane to the work you’re doing — can add to your marketability.

4. Accept Multitasking as a Myth
While much has been made of the benefits of multitasking, a growing body of research not only suggests that doing multiple things at once may not only be all it’s cracked up to be, but may actually lead to decreased productivity.

A recent study from McGill University indicates that in constantly shifting from one task to the next, the body uses up its oxygenated glucose stores — the very same fuel which would otherwise be used to focus. Concludes researcher and professor of behavioral neuroscience Daniel Levitin, “That switching comes with a biological cost that ends up making us feel tired much more quickly than if we sustain attention on one thing.”

While multitasking may no longer be of use to you, something else can be: Scheduling regular 15-minute breaks. Stepping away from your work — whether during your internship or while writing your thesis — can actually help you be more productive, but only if you let your mind truly wander. Just don’t let it wander over to the internet, however, as research also shows that online distractions can be particularly destructive. The takeaway? In order to make the very best of your time, stop checking your social media and shut off all of your automatic notifications.

What are you plan in the future

The business world is ever-changing and smart professionals know that they need to adapt to new trends, adopt new skills, and remain flexible in their career outlook in order to maintain their competitive edge.  For mid-career professionals looking to complement and enhance their existing expertise, earning an advanced degree can be an ideal way to remain relevant and maximize career potential. Of course, finding time for continuing education can be difficult – take for example those busy working professionals in the marketing and advertising industry. Online degrees are increasingly popular and can be an ideal way to complete a higher degree. But it can be difficult to identify legitimate, credible courses. So what should you look for in an online graduate program? Here are three key things to consider when finding the best degree for your needs.

1.    Consider your situation

Not all online degrees are created equal, so consider your life, responsibilities, and career goals when selecting a course. Some online degrees still include on-campus requirements, which may not be ideal for all students. And, according to Professor Geoff Smith, Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Falmouth University, “the quality of technology available to today [means] there’s no reason why anyone should be excluded from accessing the best education on offer at the times and in the places that suit them.” Look for programs that offer options for flexibility and personalization. Ensure that you will have easy access to resources and adequate study support throughout the process.

2.    Compare value

Online degrees are more reputable than ever, but that doesn’t mean that every program or institution carries the same respect. When choosing an online graduate program, especially in the creative industries, consider the reputation and ranking of the university. Where your degree comes from will definitely matter to future employers. An online degree from a number one ranked creative university like Falmouth University will carry value that’s equivalent to that of an on-campus program. So make sure to choose a University with excellent credentials and a strong student support system.

3.    Check employability rates

Before enrolling, establish what type of degree will best improve your job prospects or enhance your career. Perhaps you’re looking to move up the career ladder within your field or are looking to move from marketing to advertising or vice versa? Look at industry requirements and talk with your mentors about the best study plan for developing your skills. It can be useful for professionals in marketing and advertising to gain more experience in both areas, so look for programs like the MA Advertising & Marketing at Falmouth University that allow students to build on existing experience and add to their knowledge in other areas. Then, consider the curriculum and employability of graduates from your favorite programs. You can approach universities’ alumni associations and confirm that they have a good reputation for graduate employment. Choose an institution like Falmouth University that customizes its curriculum and teaching to the market and has a 96.5 percent graduate employment rate, according to the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Survey.

One Example of a high-level online degree: Falmouth University’s MA Advertising & Marketing

If you’re looking for a top ranked program that will give you more insight into both the marketing or advertising industries but need the flexibility of an online degree, consider the MA Advertising & Marketing from Falmouth University. Falmouth is the UK’s No. 1 Arts University on the Sunday Times League Table 2015 & 2016 and has the sixth highest graduate employment rate in the UK, with Falmouth graduates working in a variety of industries and sectors, with global brands or running their own companies.

At Falmouth, there’s no distinction between on-campus and on-line students. The program looks for applications from accomplished professionals who want to enhance their careers, and all students have access to experienced staff who are industry practitioners, and the MA Advertising & Marketing is built around industry connections. According to Lotte Mahon, Module Leader and Lecturer, “the online course is a natural extension” of the university’s reputation as a leader in creative advertising. Students have a chance to learn from experts and brands from around the world and come away with “a solid understanding of the marketing and brand strategies” that are used in major corporations.

Advertising and marketing professionals know that the industry is always changing and that the key to success is a solid foundation upon which to build. The creators of Falmouth’s online MA Advertising & Marketing are “aware of the changes and challenges facing industry professionals and [the course] has been created to respond to those changes.” At Falmouth, students work with an international cohort of students from different cultures and backgrounds, which gives them a chance to prepare for the diversity and dynamics of a global marketplace. Falmouth’s graduates can build on core principles while investigating emerging opportunities and the degree’s responsive curriculum looks at the changes in the industry as they happen. This approach helps students prepare for the ever-changing market and the challenges of an ever evolving the digital age.

The secret that you should to know when you plan study in cuba

imagesLast spring, President Barack Obama became the first US president to visit Cuba in nearly 90 years, at which time he called on Congress to lift the long-standing trade embargo. This continued a promising trend of improved relations between the two countries, including the reopening of embassies and the loosening of longtime travel restrictions.  The takeaway for many mobile-minded students? There’s never been a more exhilarating time to visit this intriguing Caribbean hot spot. Let’s count down six reasons why the island of Cuba claims a spot on our shortlist of desirable international study destinations.

1. Education is a Priority Here…As Evidenced by its Excellent Universities

Cuba’s 60 public universities have grown in repute over the past several decades thanks to a strong commitment to education shared by the government and its people. Five of its universities earned places in QS University’s 2016 ranking of the top universities in Latin America, which considers factors including academic reputation; employer reputation; faculty/student ratio; citations per paper; international research network; proportion of staff with PhDs; and web impact when determining standings.

And while Cuba’s universities offer a breadth and depth of subjects to choose from, its programs in medicine are particularly celebrated.

2. It Has a Top-Notch Health System

Given Cuba’s exceptional reputation when it comes to educating doctors, it’s hardly a surprise that it’s also known for a top-notch health care system.

Just how extraordinary is health care in Cuba? Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), said in 2014 as reported by the Huffington Post, “Cuba is the only country that has a health care system closely linked to research and development. This is the way to go, because human health can only improve through innovation.”

Whether you’re looking for an innovative medical education or simply hoping to benefit from the country’s widespread access to medical services, you’ll find both — and much more — in Cuba.

3. Its Politics and History and History are Fascinating

Sure, Cuba has gorgeous white sand beaches, breathtaking architecture, and picturesque towns and villages, but so do many other Caribbean destinations. What separates Cuba from the rest? Its remarkable history, for starters.

While Cuba is small, it plays host to nine UNESCO world heritage sites with three others on the tentative list. These historically, naturally, agriculturally, and architecturally significant spots comprise everything from fortresses to coffee plantation remains — all packed into Cuba’s tiny 44,200 miles.

And, of course, no discussion of Cuba is complete without acknowledging its long-standing commitment to Communism despite tremendous external pressure, and the crossroads at which it now stands.

4. You Will Improve Your Spanish Skills

If you’re looking to learn Spanish or improve your Spanish skills, you’ll have plenty of opportunities in Cuba.  However, keep in mind that just as there’s a difference between the Spanish spoken in Spain and the Spanish spoken in Latin America, there’s also a difference in the Spanish spoken in Caribbean-influenced Cuba. That said, many language experts agree that if you can speak and understand Cuban Spanish, you’re in excellent shape as it’s widely regarded to be one of the more challenging accents.

Don’t speak Spanish? While it’s always good to learn a few basic phrases in any country where you’re traveling, the Cuban people are enthusiastic, hospitable and very patient.

5. There’s Nothing Like Cuban Music

Cuban music has been influenced by many different cultures and styles with origins in both Europe and Africa. The result?  Not only is the island’s music scene unique and vibrant, but it’s also inextricably interwoven into everyday life. Wherever and whenever you go, you can expect to hear amazing live music.

Already a fan of the Buena Vista Social Club? That’s just the start of what’s waiting to be discovered in Cuba. From Cha-cha-cha and Conga to Timba and Trova, there’s no end to the heart-stirring, toe-tapping tunes you’ll hear while visiting Cuba.

6. You’ll Beat the Crowds

Because Cuba was inaccessible for so long, it retained its culture in a particularly unique way. But with travel to Cuba easier than ever and relations on the upswing, more people are adding Cuba to their must-do destinations, meaning it may experience a decline in authenticity and charm as it becomes a mecca for tourists. If you’re hoping for a taste of pure, unadulterated Cuba, the time to go is now.

While study abroad programs in Cuba aren’t new, the opportunities are greater now than ever before. And while Cuba’s strong academic offerings are incentive on their own, Cuba’s on-the-cusp status sweetens the deal, with visitors getting to experience “old and new Cuba, past and future, through the same lens.”

Get The Chance on Sweden As A Student

Sweden’s university system is among the top performers in the world, and the Scandinavian country aims to be one of the “most research-intensive countries in the world.” But that’s not the only reason Sweden is the perfect choice for global graduate students. We asked two international students in Sweden to tell us why earning your master’s degree in Sweden isn’t just about picking a place – it’s about picking a future.

1. Study in English and Learn Swedish

Last year Sweden ranked first out of seventy countries for English Proficiency, and most universities offer programs and degrees in English. Of course, international students are still encouraged to learn Swedish, but they don’t need to be proficient to earn a degree. Marina, a grad student from Brazil studying Digital Media and Society in Uppsala, feels that this bilingualism “gives students a chance to learn a new language” while creating “a friendly and open environment since everyone can communicate.” This open environment isn’t just reflected in language. Sweden is committed to student mobility and offers more than 1000 degree programs in English.

2. Support for Creative, Innovative Research

Sweden ranks among the top five countries in the world for commitment to higher education and research, but the country also emphasizes autonomy and freedom within its universities and master’s students have a lot of time and support for independent learning and collaboration with other students. Satu, a computer science student from Indonesia studying at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, found “a lot of things [to] learn” in Sweden and was impressed with the country’s “support [for] start-up and innovation minded” students. For digital media student, Marina, Sweden offered infinite opportunities. “You can work with a Professor, do internships in amazing companies and do different courses.” Master’s students like Marina find that Sweden offers the freedom to think creatively and experiment with new ideas. With so much support and so many chances for hands-on experience, it’s no surprise that Sweden is one of the top nations in the world for innovation.

3. Soak up Swedish Culture

If your only experience with Swedish culture is Abba and Ikea meatballs, you’ve got a lot to learn. From the daily fika(coffee breaks that include tasty Swedish treats) to gender equality, Sweden exudes an individuality that is both subtle and distinct. In fact, Swedish culture could, perhaps, be summed up in one word – lagom – which means, ‘just enough’ and applies to everything from behavior and social responsibility, to sustainability and shopping. For Satu, the biggest advantage of studying at KTH is “Swedish culture itself.” Satu believes that Sweden’s culture has “many good things we can follow…[and] by living among this value, [he] believes [he] can get used to it, and bring it home and spread it to people in Indonesia.” International students in Sweden will find that the informal, inclusive university environment encourages the spread of ideas and an open dialog, and Swedish university student unions and nationer make campuses open and inviting.

4. Something for Everyone

Sweden is an obvious choice for winter sports enthusiasts, but this Nordic country is more than just a winter wonderland, and Brazilian student, Marina loves that “Sweden has so many different experiences to offer.” If you love soaking up sunshine by the sea, summer days in Sweden are almost never-ending and the country’s long coastline offers a variety of maritime activities. Sweden’s cities are full of art and culture, with music festivals, cafes, and a vibrant international feel. For the more forest-minded individuals, nearly 70 percent of the country is covered in forests and their pristine natural beauty should be a major draw. And there’s huge bonus if you’re the adventurous type – Sweden has codified the Right of Public Access into its constitution, which means that you can strap on your boots and pack, and explore Sweden’s wilderness without any obstructions. Plus, easy access isn’t limited to trails and camping – according to, Marina, it’s easy to “go around without any trouble and having public transportation with good quality around you is amazing.” So whether you want to spend, your days trekking the rugged tundra of Lapland, your nights dancing in Stockholm, or watch the sunset from a kayak along the rocky coasts of Götaland, you’ll find something to suit your taste and shape your future in Sweden.

Do You Want Change the World With Your Future

The future is liquid—shimmering at the edge of our minds, moving and changing—and literally water dependent.  When you think about what to study and why, remember this: no one on this planet is alone.  We’re all in it together.  Earn a degree in any of these areas and make a positive, lasting impact on the future.

1. Coastal and Marine Management

Ninety-seven percent of the Earth’s water is in the ocean—as is ninety-nine percent of the planet’s habitable space.  372,000 miles of this planet is coastline, and nearly 2.4 billion people live within 60 miles of a coast.  Our oceans and coasts are the cradle of all life. It’s no surprise then that a degree in Coastal and Marine Management can put you at the forefront of a local, regional, national, and international—technically and politically complicated—and ecologically critically field.  Check out the Coastal Ecology studies at the College of Coastal Georgia or the Master in Coastal and Marine Management in Iceland.

2. Humanities

Here’s what we know: STEM is vitally important for the future. Here’s the problem: STEM and the humanities have been pitted against each other.  Here’s what we need to do: remember that we don’t live in a vacuum—the world is not compartmentalized.  Neither are we.  Studying the humanities gives students essential skills for living—especially in a STEM-infused world.  Apple’s Steve Jobs once said “technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing.”  You know what he studied?  Zen Buddhism. Prefer a master’s degree? Try an MA in International Peace Studies or a Master of Arts in Peace and Justice. But you don’t need to focus on peace and conflict to impact the future. Do you want to change the world?  Work hard, study something you enjoy—and make a ripple, even a wave for generations to come.

3. Future Studies

While there are no crystal balls or tarot cards in future studies—also called futurology and foresight studies—there’s a definitive need for those who can study history to make predictions about the future across all disciplines, from science and technology to the humanities.  Even degrees like architectural engineering to robotics can give you a way into futurology.  The field began during WWII, when there was a global need to understand the possibilities and ramifications of then “present” actions on the future.  That need is even more present today with rapid globalization.  Futurists tend to fall in one of two camps—and everything in between.  On one side, there are the “doom and gloom” futurists who tend to focus on current, real-world problems without easy solutions: world hunger, overpopulation, depletion of non-renewable resources, pollution, to name a few.  As a counterbalance, there are the positive, visionary, evolutionary futurists who acknowledge the doom and gloom, but focus on the technological, societal, and human potentials and empowering people to understand that the future is a choice—and not necessarily and inevitably.  Which one will you choose? Consider a Master of Sustainable Futures or an MPhil in Future Studies.

4. Fintech

Bye-bye traditional banking and hello fintech.  A marriage of finance and technology gives us fintech, one of the hottest new fields out there. What is it and how can you change the world?  Fintech focuses on using technology to improve the efficiency of financial markets—investing, digital currency, credit scoring, cyber security, education lending to name a few.  If there’s a role for technology in finance, fintech will find it, and it’s not just in banks.  Global investment in the fintech sector has more than tripled over the last five years, reaching over $12 billion since 2014.  Study fintech and play a role in the shape of the economic and technological future.

5. Technology and Biomedical Engineering

Blend biology, medicine, engineering and computer science, and make yourself an indispensable player in the future of science and medicine.  Tackle modern research problems with a degree in Computer Simulation in Science or develop future-ready specialist knowledge with a Master of Electrical Engineering and IT. Or consider a Master of Science in Nanotechnology Engineering. With technology giants like Microsoft, Google, Facebook, IBM, and MIT making significant commitments to applying science and technology to medicine for the “eradication” of all disease, the future will certainly need bioinformatics experts, biotechnologists, and biomedical engineers who have the scientific, analytical, engineering, and computer skills to serve the common good and make the future for the future even better. Consider a Master from the Technical University of Ostrava in the Czech Republic, a MSc in Bioinformatics in Malaysia or Portugal, or an M.S. in Biotechnology from The Catholic University of America.

6. Instructional Design

There’s a lot to learn in this world and engaged learners learn.  What makes for an engaged learner?  Amazing Instructional Design (ID)!  We live in a world with vast quantities of information, and the amount of that information continues to grow.  Just look at big data! Instructional designers streamline and structure information so that it’s accessible to you—the learner.  As an instructional designer, you will use technology to create better technology formats and programs in areas across the board—education, business, finance, STEM, the humanities.  Want to study in the US? An MS in Instructional Design and Technology from Concordia University Chicago, the University of Tampa or Walden University will let you combine your studies in education and technology and a degree in ID will help the future learn what’s really important.

Spaces and Trigger Warnings

The University of Chicago made news earlier this year when its dean of students, John Ellison, sent a letter welcoming freshman to the school. Unfortunately, the letter was not perceived as welcoming by all. Why? Because its primary purpose was to warn incoming students that the leading U.S. university does not “condone the creation of intellectual ‘safe spaces’.”  While this may have been the first many people had heard of safe spaces and trigger warnings, it’s far from the last. In fact, the floodgates have since burst open with people coming down strongly on one side or the other.

All of which begs the question: What are safe spaces and trigger warnings, and are they necessary? Let’s take a closer look at this controversial topic, along with highlighting some arguments for and against their use in academia.

Defining Trigger Warnings and Safe Spaces

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a trigger warning as, “A statement at the start of a piece of writing, video, etc. alerting the reader or viewer to the fact that it contains potentially distressing material.”  It defines a safe space as, “A place or environment in which a person or category of people can feel confident that they will not be exposed to discrimination, criticism, harassment, or any other emotional or physical harm.”

The concept of trigger warnings is nothing new in the context of the entertainment and media industries. Referred to as a “content warning,” it advises people about the presence of graphic content. Meanwhile, the underlying idea of safe spaces is a hard one to argue against: After all, in which settings should we as a society tolerate bigotry, racism, and other behaviors which threaten our collective wellbeing?

The debate arises, however, when these two ideas are transferred to university campuses — bastions of free thought, free speech and information exchange. Do trigger warnings and safe spaces become a form of censorship? And in doing so do they end up limiting understanding and ultimately doing more harm than good? That depends on who you ask.

The Case Against Trigger Warnings and Safe Spaces

Opponents of trigger warnings and safe spaces argue that their existence puts political correctness over academic freedom.

In an essay published in the Wall Street Journal, University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer reinforced the school’s anti-trigger warning position explaining that, “Universities cannot be viewed as a sanctuary for comfort but rather as a crucible for confronting ideas and thereby learning to make informed judgments in complex environments. Having one’s assumptions challenged and experiencing the discomfort that sometimes accompanies this process are intrinsic parts of an excellent education. Only then will students develop the skills necessary to build their own futures and contribute to society.”

Specifically, academic leaders worry that in disinviting speakers with unpopular beliefs and putting ideas which make students uncomfortable off-limits, we’re ultimately shutting down the opportunity to confront these ideas, learn from them, and apply them to their own decision-making as they move on with their lives.

This viewpoint is also backed by a report on trigger warnings from the American University of College Professors (AUCP) which determines that, “The presumption that students need to be protected rather than challenged in a classroom is at once infantilizing and anti-intellectual….Some discomfort is inevitable in classrooms if the goal is to expose students to new ideas, have them question beliefs they have taken for granted, grapple with ethical problems they have never considered, and, more generally, expand their horizons so as to become informed and responsible democratic citizens.”

In Defense of Trigger Warnings and Safe Spaces

But there are plenty of people who believe that the benefits of trigger warnings and safe spaces far outweigh their potential downsides. In fact, while those in the opposing camp argue that trigger warnings and safe spaces creature a culture of fear rather than fearlessness, proponents counter that they are actually necessary for students to truly learn without fear.

One Huffington Post piece contends that the arguments against these are due to a “fundamental misunderstanding” about triggers and triggering — a phenomenon which transcends academic discourse.

Says the piece, “The problem with this interpretation of trigger warnings is that it presumes all participants have the same level of privilege. But many discussions are not just intellectual exercises for everyone ― people who face discrimination, have experienced violence or simply struggle with brain chemistry are at a disadvantage because they’re potentially dealing with a mental health issue. A desire to be warned about potential triggers has nothing to do with people not wanting to “challenge” themselves academically.”

In other words, they’re not about shutting down or avoiding conflict, but rather they serve as an essential mental health measure. Not only that, but failure to acknowledge triggers and the need for safe spaces can further victimize and marginalize people and lead to more significant mental health issues. And just as it’s a college’s responsibility to educate students, advocates insist, they’re equally obligated to safeguard student health and wellbeing.

Supporters further argue that trigger warnings and safe spaces do not actually pose a risk to freedom of expression in a world in which there are near-endless outlets for idea exchange due to the unmoderated internet. In other words, it’s not that difficult concepts and topics shouldn’t be explored, just that they shouldn’t be explored in university settings if they threaten the wellbeing of students.

A recent Gallup poll reveals that 78 percent of students believe that higher education institutions should strive to expose students to a broad range of ideas in order to facilitate open environments. However, 69 percent were also in favor of limiting content that was intentionally upsetting to certain groups. Can these two beliefs co-exist on campus? Seen through this lens, perhaps the larger issue becomes not one of either/or, but of how to reconcile these viewpoints in a way that promotes freedom of expression without supporting oppression.