Monthly Archives: July 2009

International Students and Swine Flu

We recently covered the issue of swine flue in the UK and wondered how the outbreak of this virus – and the panic caused – would impact on international students and their plans to study abroad. What we’ve experienced and others have confirm, is that while some students may change their destination, most are not canceling their plans, despite the fear of a swine flu resurgence during the traditional winter flu season.

“I definitely didn’t (think about swine flu),” said Sarah Mickelson, a student from the US studying an internship in the South of England. “The symptoms aren’t really any different from the flu, and I think everyone’s been making a big deal of it, and it’s not something everyone should be scared of.”

An optimistic point of view – and one the writer shares – however, the H1N1 virus, to give it its proper name, has had a worldwide impact: recent figures report 158,000 infections and 950 deaths in 141 countries. Big enough in fact, for the World Health Organisation to declare swine flu as the first flu virus pandemic since 1968. As is to be expected, in areas that have been hit particularly hard by the virus, student numbers have suffered for a number of study abroad programmes. Parents, schools and students themselves are all currently weighing up the benefits of study abroad opportunities with the real risks of contracting the virus. We only have to remember back to earlier this month when students on school trips to China from both the UK and the USA were quarantined when members of their party were found to be infected with swine flu.

So has this put people off? Well, no. Schools and study overseas agents have been quick to adapt to the current situation and have suspended sending students to swine flu hot spots. Many groups of students orginally booked to study in Mexico have experienced great help and flexibilty and rebooked their programmes, with Costa Rica and Europe being particularly popular. Aside from the H1N1 hot spots and rising global concern amids WHO expectations of a swine flu resurgance during the traditional winter flu season, the UK, Argentina and Australia have not seen large reductions in the number of international students. In fact, some regions are reporting increased numbers of students.

Worries have been rising globally; the WHO has stated that it expects a resurgence of H1N1 in the Northern Hemisphere during the flu season, which reaches its peak during the winter. The United Kingdom, Argentina and Australia also are experiencing large numbers of new infections, yet many United States travelers have not been deterred.

“No drop in students that want to travel,” said Russell Tebeleff, director of sales at Student Travel Services. “Really the only impact would be on people looking into Jamaica as opposed to Mexico.

“The swine flu hasn’t declined travel, it just pushed it into different destinations. Before, Mexico was the biggest destination for our customers, whereas now it’s spread out a little more.”

And for the more savvy student traveller, there are some great bargains to be had out there. Many students have even brought forward their study abroad plans in order to take advantage of massively reduced airfares and hotel rates. Many students we’ve spoken to have even reported a heightened sense of adventure and opportunity!

In fact, many students have been encouraged to take advantage of slashed airline or hotel prices that are a result of the economy and the swine flu. Eric Tiettmeyer, editor and publisher of Student Traveler magazine in Los Angeles, cited a sense of adventure and opportunity in students.

“College students are less averse to things like natural disasters and something like the swine flu,” Tiettmeyer said.

“After the bird flu in Asia, students were still going and maybe even more students going because of the better deals. I think they’re immune to bad things that happen in other countries because they’re willing to go anyway, and they’re more likely to go anyway because of the cheaper deals.

Mickelson stayed for four weeks in the United Kingdom, which had a startling 3,197 new infections, a 75.2 percent jump, between June 29 and July 6.

“Whenever I read the newspaper, there was always one article about swine flu, like: ‘Teenage girl killed from swine flu,'” Mickelson said.

“I had no worries aside from that. More people die from the regular flu every year, and I know that. So why be worried about something you can’t control? Just be careful, wash your hands, do the stuff that you normally would to stay healthy.”

Writing a Good CV

Our students often ask us for help with their CVs. And in fact, with the recession bringing so much competition to the job market, especially for new graduates, writing a good CV is a must. With some sectors reporting over 400 applications for job, you really need to stand out from the crowd to stand any chance of success. Writing a good CV will land you an interview and hopefully a job. Present any employer with a bad or generalised CV and you condemn it to the shredder! In this tougher world we find ourselves in today, it’s  so important to remember these wise words: “the person who gets hired is not necessarily the one who can do the job best; but, the one who knows the most about how to get hired”.

A CV’s job is to get you an interview, not to tell your life story. And there’s no better way to stand out from the crowd than tailoring your CV for the job you’re applying to. Does your CV match any of the tell-tale signs of a generalised CV?

  • Written with no aim or target. More of a “hello world, enjoy my story?”
  • First page lacks imapct, CV writing layout is poor, hard to read and too many pages.
  • Written as a chronological document, starting with your address and detailing every education achievement obtained and past positions held.
  • You send the same, or closely the same, CV to every job you apply to.
  • Makes no use of terminology or busswords associated with the position you are applying to.

If this reminds you of your CV, then I recommend this CV writing guide which is full of CV writing tips and advice, CV writing layout help and some useful examples too.

02 610 3939

Studying in the UK a Great Choice

Choosing to study in the UK means a world of learning opportunities is open to you. You’ll be challenged to think critically and independently and explore topics for analysis and debate. You’ll develop excellent team-working skills through group activities, and if your course includes a practical element, you’ll gain valuable hands-on experience.

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World-renowned libraries, outstanding professors and innovative research will all help you reach your potential, both in and out of the classroom. Your time in the UK will do wonders for your English language skills. English is acknowledged as the international language of business, science, IT and the internet, so this will be a great advantage to your career prospects.

UK degree courses are comparatively short because they’re intensive, which means you’ll be committing less time and less money to your studies. There are some great opportunities to earn extra money while you’re in the UK, too. Current regulations allow international students to work for up to 20 hours a week during term time, and full time during holiday periods.

Scholarship Opportunities

Studying in the UK continues to offer good value for money for international students – the quality of teaching is high, as is the international status of UK qualifications. However, for those who need financial help there are an increasing number of scholarships you can apply for to help you study in the UK.

Age no Barrier

The age range of students in the UK continues to grow. In 2008, there was a 20 per cent increase in undergraduate applications from students over 25, proving age is no barrier to improvement. At the same time, the application numbers for students under 20 also rose. What these figures indicate is a greater range of ages than ever are now studying in the UK.

Streamlined Visa

The UK Government has introduced a simpler, safer and fairer visa application process for international students in 2009. The new points-based system is designed to make it easier for you to see in advance what you need to have in order to achieve a successful application.

To find out more about studying in the UK, contact Advice For You for all your study abroad needs.

Scholarship opportunities
Studying in the UK continues to offer good value for money for international students – the quality of teaching is high, as is the international status of UK qualifications. However, for those who need financial help there are an increasing number of scholarships you can apply for to help you study in the UK.

Swine Flu in the UK

Swine Flu in the UKThe issue of Swine Flu is causing concern to some of our overseas students. We would like to highlight the fact that the vast majority of swine flu cases that have occurred in the UK have been non-severe, and patients have recovered within a week. Of the few fatal cases that have occurred, the patient has had existing health problems.

National health authorities are asking people to keep this pandemic in context. Every year in the UK, around 100,000 people die from ordinary flu. Again, fatal cases generally involve the elderly and people with other health complications.

Here is the most up-to-date information from the NHS:

As with normal flu, symptoms of swine flu include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • headache
  • weakness and fatigue
  • aching muscles and joints
  • sore throat
  • runny nose

Other symptoms may include:

  • Diarrhoea and upset stomach
  • Sneezing
  • Loss of appetite

As with any sort of influenza, how bad and how long the symptoms last will depend on treatment and the patient’s individual circumstances. People in generally good health who contract the virus should recover fully in a short period of time.

The elderly, the very young and those with existing health problems are known to be at higher risk than most people.

Very few students will fit into these higher risk categories. Due to their age and general level of health and fitness, if infected, they should recover from the symptoms in roughly the same amount of time as if infected with the ordinary flu virus.

There are a number of steps you can take to reduce the risk of getting flu and help stop the spread of the virus.

  • Always carry tissues – catching the germs in a tissue could help limit the spread of the virus
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, using a tissue
  • Throw the tissue away quickly and carefully
  • Avoid touching your nose and mouth
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially if you are sneezing/blowing your nose often (Many people in the UK have normal allergies and it is not uncommon to see/hear people sneezing) to reduce the spread of germs from your hands to your face or to other people.
  • Clean hard surfaces (like door handles and remote controls) frequently with a normal cleaning product
  • Have adequate sleep, eat a nutritious diet and keep physically active
  • Avoid using air conditioning and keep windows open to ventilate rooms
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who may be ill
  • Know your NHS number (this will be in NHS letters or prescriptions) (Foreign students will be allocated an NHS number on registering with a GP
  • If you do become ill and think you have swine flu your local GP will be able to tell you if you have swine flu over the phone.If you are staying with a host family, they can contact their GP for you.
  • If you are still concerned, you can call: NHS Direct on 0845 4647 in England or The Swine Flu Information Line on 0800 1 513 513 (freephone)

If your GP tells you that you have contracted swine flu:

  • Stay at home and do not leave the house – this will help stop you spreading the virus to other people. If you are staying in a residence or student house you will need to quarantine yourself to avoid infecting other students
  • Your doctor may give you anti-viral medication
  • Ask a healthy relative or friend to visit your GP to pick up a document entitling you to antiviral medication. (and pick up food shopping for you if necessary)
  • They will then need to pick the medication up at a collection point your GP will advise on (a local pharmacy or similar).
  • In the meantime, take paracetamol-based cold remedies to reduce fever and other symptoms, drink plenty of fluids and get lots of rest.
  • Do not go into your GP surgery, or to a hospital, as you may spread the virus to others.

Although face masks have been given out in Mexico, there is no actual evidence that proves wearing a face mask will stop you getting the virus. It is more effective to use tissues when sneezing and coughing and wash your hands regularly.

A healthy diet and vitamin supplements may help boost your immune system to help protect against any kind of illness.

Students can speak to Student Services staff in school for advice.

Advice On How To Study Abroad

Are you interested in meeting new people, seeing new places, or trying new things? Are you looking for something to make your resume stand out in the crowd? Are you looking to take courses for college credit next summer? Consider studying abroad.

What is study abroad?

Study abroad is the opportunity to take courses for college credit in another country. This can be done through study abroad vendors, such as International Studies Abroad (ISA) or CIEE, as well as university faculty-led programs.

Where can I study abroad?

Many colleges/universities will accept credits from foreign universities that are U.S. accredited. There are study abroad opportunities on every continent, even Antarctica! Popular destinations for study abroad students include, but are not limited to: Australia, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, South Africa, and more!

What can I study?

Study abroad vendors offer students a wide range of courses, from foreign languages to natural sciences, business and marking to studio and performing arts. Before applying and registering for courses through any study abroad vendor, be sure to have course credits pre-approved by your college/university. That will ensure that the credits will transfer back and count towards your degree plan.

How can I afford it?

Look for scholarship opportunities, especially within your college or university. If your college or university has a study abroad office, there may be scholarship money available for you, as well as financial aid. Depending on tuition and fees for your college university and the price of the study abroad program, you might find it cheaper to take summer courses abroad than at your home institution!

I want to study abroad… what do I do first?

1. Discuss your study abroad plans with your advisor. He/she will be able to guide you to select the best courses to take abroad.

2. If your institution has a study abroad office, make an appointment to discuss your study abroad options, as well as apply for your school’s program, if necessary. The study abroad office will also aid you in getting your courses pre-approved.

3. Apply for a U.S. passport. If you are staying for more than sixty days, the country in which you would like to study may require you to get a visa. You can find information about passports, as well as visa requirements for specific countries on the government travel website.

4. Apply for scholarships and financial aid, if needed.

5. Once your courses are pre-approved by your college/university, apply for the study abroad program. There is usually an online application with a non-refundable application fee. It will also provide you with dates for payment and payment options. Keep an eye out for any information/instructions materials in your e-mail and your mailbox. Your program will provide you with a housing application, packing list, etc. prior to your departure.

6. Book your airline tickets. Make sure that you have plenty of time between connecting flights. Two hours is a great layover period for international flights, just in case there’s a long line or you have problems getting through security and customs.

7. Read up on the country you will be studying in. Learn about the language, culture, history, politics, etc. The more you know, the better you will adjust to living there whether it be for a few weeks or several months.

Competitive Exam Study Tips No One Told You About

There are exams and then there are exams; some are more important than others because they can make or break your dreams, and in the process, make or break your life. Competitive exams are nerve-wracking ordeals, especially because you are competing against hundreds of thousands of others who are also vying for the limited prizes available. So your chances of success depend on more than just your natural abilities – you need to step up your preparation and performance by more than just a notch if you want to succeed. Here are a few study tips that help you do just that:

  • Start early: The best time to start preparations for important exams is yesterday, which means that you need to start as soon as you can. A little preparation every day goes a long way in helping you remember what you’ve learned rather than a large amount of cramming towards the end. Don’t put off starting the studying process, because if you do, you lose out on more than just time.
  • Choose quality over quantity: Rather than studying for hours together and just memorizing all that you can, set up an intelligent system of study that allows you to learn more within a shorter period of time. This way, you don’t tax yourself too much and also end up doing more than you usually do.
  • Don’t look at what the rest of the crowd is doing: Don’t compare your progress to that of your friends or classmates who are also taking the same exam with you. Instead, stay true to your schedule and focus on your efforts alone. The same advice holds good when you’re writing your exam too – don’t look around at what the rest of the competition is doing; keep your eyes on your paper and concentrate on what needs to be done.
  • Stay focused: Don’t let anything derail your study plans, not family, not friends, not any crisis. If your goal is to crack the exam, you need to be focused and not succumb to any distraction that comes your way. Ensure that your family and friends give you the time and space you need to prepare for a competitive exam.
  • Don’t give up: If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. Don’t give up just because you tasted failure in your first attempt. Instead, use this as motivation to do better the next time, and use your experience to avoid making the same mistakes that cost you success the last time you took the exam.

Confidence is everything when you’re sitting for a competitive exam, so make sure you have plenty of it by preparing adequately.

This article is written by Kat Sanders, who regularly blogs on the topic of katsanders25@gmail.com.

IELTS Test Dates UK – July, August, September 2009

Liverpool
University of Liverpool
Next Test Date: 08-Aug-2009

Aberdeen
Basil Paterson College (Aberdeen)
Next Test Date: 22-Aug-2009

Aberystwyth
Aberystwyth University
Next Test Date: 13-Aug-2009

Bangor
ELCOS Bangor University, Wales
Next Test Date: 29-Aug-2009

Bath
University of Bath
Next Test Date: 12-Sep-2009

Belfast
Queen’s University Belfast

Birmingham
Aston University
Next Test Date: 29-Aug-2009

Bournemouth
Richard Language College (Bournemouth)
Next Test Date: 05-Sep-2009

Brighton
Sussex Downs College (test venue in Brighton)
Next Test Date: 08-Aug-2009

Brighton
Eurocentres Brighton (test venue)
Next Test Date: 12-Sep-2009

Bristol
University of Bristol
Next Test Date: 11-Jul-2009

Cambridge
Anglia Ruskin University
Next Test Date: 22-Aug-2009

Canterbury
Chaucer College Canterbury
Next Test Date: 05-Sep-2009

Cardiff
Cardiff University
Next Test Date: 29-Aug-2009

Colchester
Colchester English Study Centre
Next Test Date: 25-Jul-2009

Coventry
City College Coventry
Next Test Date: 17-Sep-2009

Eastbourne
Sussex Downs College (Eastbourne)
Next Test Date: 11-Jul-2009

Edinburgh
Basil Paterson College (Edinburgh)
Next Test Date: 11-Jul-2009

Exeter
Exeter College ( Sub Centre of Mayflower College)
Next Test Date: 29-Aug-2009

Glasgow
University of Glasgow
Next Test Date: 29-Aug-2009

Guildford, Surrey
University of Surrey
Next Test Date: 12-Sep-2009

Harrogate
Harrogate Language Academy
Next Test Date: 05-Sep-2009

Leeds
Harrogate Language Academy (Leeds)
Next Test Date: 29-Aug-2009

London
International House London
Next Test Date: 13-Aug-2009

London
Eurocentres Lee Green
Next Test Date: 08-Aug-2009

London
Southwark College – London
Next Test Date: 08-Aug-2009

London
University of Westminster
Next Test Date: 13-Aug-2009

London
Middlesex University
Next Test Date: 08-Aug-2009

London
Wimbledon School of English
Next Test Date: 08-Aug-2009

London
Ealing, Hammersmith & West London College
Next Test Date: 25-Jul-2009

London
Eurocentres London Central (test venue)
Next Test Date: 22-Aug-2009

London
British Institute of Technology and E-commerce, London
Next Test Date: 08-Aug-2009

Manchester
University of Manchester – Language Centre
Next Test Date: 29-Aug-2009

Norwich
Anglia Ruskin University (Norwich)
Next Test Date: 22-Aug-2009

Nottingham
University of Nottingham
Next Test Date: 29-Aug-2009

Oxford
King’s School Oxford
Next Test Date: 08-Aug-2009

Plymouth
Mayflower College of English (Plymouth)
Next Test Date: 08-Aug-2009

Portsmouth
Language Specialists International (Portsmouth)
Next Test Date: 25-Jul-2009

Rugby
Warwickshire College
Next Test Date: 12-Sep-2009

Sheffield
Sheffield Hallam University
Next Test Date: 12-Sep-2009

Southampton
University of Southampton
Next Test Date: 22-Aug-2009

Sunderland
City of Sunderland College
Next Test Date: 22-Aug-2009

York
Melton College York