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UK studies: 'The world will be your oyster'
Sitanshu Shekhar
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August 09, 2007

With departure dates rapidly approaching, Indian students are booking tickets and preparing to leave for international universities.

To ease their concerns and answer their questions, we've asked students who are already studying abroad to share their experiences.

Today, we offer the opinion of Sitanshu Shekhar, who studied in the UK and is currently working in London [Images]. The following is his rebuttal to another reader's experience. That piece can be read here.

I am Sitanshu Shekhar, 23, and I studied for a Bachelor's of Engineering in Electronic & Electrical Engineering (Honours) in the UK from 2002-2006 which included a one-year internship. I am currently working in an investment bank as an analyst based in London.

Yesterday, I read the anonymous reader's opinion of studying in the UK. Though his/her points were quite legitimate, one needs to look deeper into each point. 

~ The writer mentioned that whilst in university, student contact takes place for only six months whereas the fees paid is for the full year.

Well, the summer break is generally 3 and a � months long, from the middle of June until the end of September. Also, there are about three weeks off during Christmas and Easter. That is about seven months of university contact.

But, this five months of vacation is generally used by students to earn some money by doing part-time work and it also helps in gaining experience. I personally used this opportunity and gained experience in the hospitality sector, retail sector and advertising and marketing sector.

And I can definitely assure you that without this experience (even though my course was electronic engineering and currently I am working in IT), I wouldn't be the professional I am right now. 

~ Another point mentioned by the columnist was that there are a mere three to four hours of lecture and seminars a day. Plus projects and assignments have to be done alone, out of the classroom. 

This is not entirely true. Teachers do teach and help students wherever they should, but do not thrust information at them. Every student is allowed to develop a way of thinking and a problem solving process and is encouraged to develop some imagination of his or her own. And of course, the teachers are always there when you have queries.

The primary reason why I would consider a UK degree from a recognised college better than most of the degrees in India is simply that, unlike India, we do not have information forced down our throat. In real jobs, there generally are no teachers; most of the reading and understanding has to be done by oneself.

~ According to the columnist "The official government rules state that a non-European should not be offered employment if there is a suitable European candidate for the same job."

That statement is true only if the person requires a work permit to work in the UK.
Students completing their studies after May 2007 automatically get one year work permit to work in the UK which can be renewed with an HSMP (which is awarded for two years) when the work permit expires.

 Anybody who holds a HSMP or a work permit is not restricted to any such rule. The rule mentioned by the columnist only applies for a student who doesn't already have a visa or a Work Permit, and requires one.

The whole point of gaining an international education is not just getting a foreign degree but also moulding and sharpening one's personality, meeting people from all across the globe and appreciating the positives of different cultures.

This in turn broadens horizons and makes one empathise with people from different backgrounds. When one leaves the comforts of home and lives on one's own, one becomes more independent and confident.

On a general level, most of the Indian students, instead of mingling with the other local and international students, generally tend to stick with the other Indian students. Thus, they miss out on being able to admire and experience other cultures. I don't mean to say that we should abhor the Indian students; but along with keeping our Indian identity, we should also let our minds open to other ways of life.

I was the secretary of the International Indian society and the treasurer of the Hindu society, but still most of my good friends were from other cultures, countries and races. These invaluable experiences have made me appreciate the world a bit more and made me the person I am today.

So don't let an article lower your confidence in an education abroad. If you believe and work towards your goals, the world will be your oyster. Impossible is nothing and studying in the UK gives you an edge. It makes your dreams possible. Good luck!


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