Adventures with the GMAT Abroad: Finding the Location

Since I know several college student from International Countries (or from the US living abroad) also take the GMAT every year, I thought I’d keep you up-to-date on the process I go through while I’m taking it in China. Partly just because it’s kind of a glimpse into how things are different just traveling and surviving abroad. 

The registration process itself was pretty  simple – I did the normal US registration website and everything. Registered an account and selected Zhengzhou, China as my location.  

However, that was the end of the easy part. First of all, finding English study books is a pain though do-able. My students order them off of Taobao (Chinese Ebay) or Amazon.cn.  I went ahead and purchased one while I was in the States on holiday and brought it with me.  As long as its a semi-developed country where many students take the test, I think you can find study books. I wouldn’t count on it in other countries necessarily. 

I don’t actually live in Zhengzhou, instead I live about an hour away. Since the GMAT is less common in China, the testing centers are less populous.  So I was kind of lucky to find one this close to me.

My test is at 8:30am local time, which was the only time slot available. The dates are not as open, and you are more limited as to what time of day is available here than in the US I think. That means I need to arrange a hotel for the night before. Since my test will not end until after noon, that means I would have to rush in order to get to the bus and home on time. So I ended up getting  a hotel for two nights instead–A lot of students from out of town do this I’ve found.  

So the total GMAT cost goes to Test + Travel (for me about $10 for bus + subway + taxi) + Hotel ($150 for two nights).  

Unfortunately, the location itself is clear out in the boonies (sp? — out in the middle of nowhere) and I could never have found it on my own.  As with all good small-town Chinese addresses, it isn’t even a real address.  The location according to the MBA site is at “NEEA-Henan Higher Education Admission Office Zhengzhou HEN, CHN.”  Legit – I put in the name of the location that the MBA site gave me and it doesn’t show up on Google. 

Luckily my ticket had a little more information — HENAN COLLEGE OF FINANCE &TAXATION,  ZHENGKAI RD&KANGZHUANG RD INTERSECTION,  RM 517, ADMINISTRATION BLDG.. Yep – that’s a helpful address – “at the intersection of Zhengkai Rd & Kangzhuang Rd.” I tried looking up the college, and found an address on the opposite end of town (apparently the old address? – I’m not really sure).  

One of the things you learn when you travel abroad is that GoogleMaps can be much less helpful depending on the country. I’ve heard that it’s pretty on spot in Europe. But in Japan, Korea, and China where I’ve traveled extensively, GoogleMaps is frequently not helpful whatsoever. The names on Google are in Chinese (which I don’t speak and certainly can’t write or read), the roads aren’t up to date, the buildings move, everything is a couple years old. In a well-developed city, a couple years might not mean much for a map. But in a still swiftly growing and expanding area like Henan, China just two months might see a complete and total difference. 

I finally just posted the address on Weixin (China Facebook/Twitter) and my students (have I mentioned how much I love them to pieces?) immediately responded with the Chinese map, the Chinese name of the School, the Chinese address, and directions to give to a taxi driver. According to the map, it’s out in the middle of nowhere – land  several kilometers outside of the actual city.  Seriously, it’s at a small community college “on the road between Zhengzhou and Kaifeng” (hence the intersection of Zhengkai road 😛 ). So we all agreed, I’d need to take the subway all the way to the end. Then one student said I should take Exit E (thank God for that piece on information — people appreciate the Exit number not enough!) then go east to the main road. No one knows where the bus stop is (our city doesn’t have a good bus map or layout — so no one really knows when or where it’ll stop). Just that I need bus 102 to the stop (of course it’s in Chinese).  At first they said try to find Chinese students to help me find the bus — then we realized its the holiday and there probably won’t be anyone. 😛

Oh the life I lead!

Of course, because it’s so far out, there were no hotels in the area to speak of.  A couple that were low end – $20 a night- places. But while a cheap motel might be okay in the US, I don’t trust them here in China. Too many horrific experiences (namely one including a plate on the floor outside the hotel restaurant with so much mold on it, it should have been a lab experiment .) 😛  So I had to go further up line 1 on the Subway to find a hotel.

 To be honest, I have no idea how much time this whole thing is going to take me. And I’m kind of dreading the whole “Check-in” and get a computer process. They say the people will speak English, but I’m not really counting on it. 🙂 I’ve been told that before. Anyway, I’ll let you know how the process itself goes. Off to work on my math. Wish me luck!

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46 Study Abroad Statistics: Convincing Facts and Figures

“46 Study Abroad Statistics: Convincing Facts and Figures”

by Ruth Kinloch via “Study.Smart”

Are you thinking about studying abroad, but are not sure if it’s worth your time? Or are you ready to participate in a study abroad program, but need some extra talking points to convince your parents that you’ve made a smart decision?

The number of American students who go abroad has more than tripled in the past two decades (304,467 students in the 2013-2014 academic year), and this increase is likely to continue. International education is on the rise, and for good reason: research has shown that students who study abroad have better career prospects and are more socially aware. Read on to discover more study abroad statistics, facts, and figures that reflect the latest trends in international education.

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Benefits of studying abroad

For many years, the benefits of studying abroad have been described in words like these: “It will completely change your life!” and “You will come back a new person.” But the exact long-term benefits were unknown. Now, though, the positive impact of study abroad experiences can be proven with study abroad statistics.

The Institute for International Education of Students (IES) conducted a survey to explore the long-term impact of study abroad on the personal, professional, and academic lives of students. Here are some interesting findings:

  1. 95% of the students who were surveyed admitted that studying abroad served as a catalyst for increased maturity, 96% reported increased self-confidence, and 95% said it had a lasting impact on their worldview.
  2. More than 50% of the respondents are still in contact with U.S. friends they met when studying abroad.

One of the goals of study abroad programs is to train future global leaders who will respect other cultures and political and economic systems and care about the world’s welfare. The survey reveals that study abroad is succeeding in this mission:

  1. 98% of the students stated that study abroad helped them better understand their own cultural values and biases, and 82% said that it helped them develop a more sophisticated way of looking at the world.
  2. 94% stated that their study abroad experience continues to influence interactions with people from different cultures.
  3. 87% of the students said that study abroad influenced their subsequent educational experiences. Nearly half of all respondents took part in international work and/or volunteerism since studying abroad.
  4. Three-quarters of the respondents said that they acquired skill sets that influenced their future career paths.

The survey results proved that studying abroad can greatly influence a student’s life. The results of the survey show that study abroad had a positive influence on the personal development, academic commitment, and career paths of the students who took part in IES study abroad programs.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the results show that the longer students study abroad, the more significant the academic, cultural, and personal development benefits are. But the survey also suggests that study abroad programs lasting at least six weeks can also produce good academic, personal, career, and intercultural development outcomes.

The Erasmus Impact Study (2013) analyzed the effects of mobility on the skills and employability of students and on the internationalization of higher education institutions. The results of the study proved the benefits of studying abroad for the career development of mobile students. The study highlighted that mobile students are more likely to get managerial positions in their future careers and are less likely to experience long-term unemployment.

Here are some key findings.

  1. More than 85% of Erasmus students study abroad to enhance their employability abroad.
  2. More than 90% of mobile students reported that they improved their soft skills, including their knowledge of other countries, the ability to interact and work with people from different cultures, adaptability, foreign language proficiency, and communication skills. . . . .

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Student studies abroad three semesters, makes lifetime of memories

“Student studies abroad three semesters, makes lifetime of memories”

by Matthew McClure via “The Lamron”

Coming to Geneseo, I knew I wanted to study abroad for at least a year. I knew I wanted to go beyond my past linguistic and travel experience in Europe. This semester, I am returning from three semesters of studying abroad in Vietnam, Canada and Haiti. Study abroad has been an incredibly formative part of my undergraduate career—and my future plans—in both expected and unexpected ways.

The Global Service Learning Program in Borgne, Haiti proved to be a turning point for me. Through this program, I applied my interests in foreign language, intercultural competence and international education to connecting communities in Borgne and Geneseo. My experience in spring 2013 not only focused my academic interests, study abroad plans and career goals, but also had a lasting impact beyond that one semester. My service learning project became the design and organization of a Haitian Creole language preparation component for the course.

Immediately after the Global Service Learning Program, I knew I wanted to learn Haitian Creole and return to Borgne to help develop our program and relationship with the community. I traveled to Boston to attend the Haitian Creole Language and Culture Summer Institute, working with leading Haitian Creole scholars and collecting resources and teaching methods in order to help improve our Haitian Creole crash-course at Geneseo. As a result, I was selected to the Clinton Global Initiative University in 2015 to help support the first public library in Borgne.

In the fall of my junior year, I spent my first semester abroad in Vietnam. I went into the semester expecting a wildly new experience; one where I would learn an exotic new language. What I got was a semester where I was not only independent, but also the only native English speaker in my class. After learning Vietnamese, I could communicate with the locals and also speak to the internationals that spoke English. I met an extraordinary variety of people, both in Ho Chi Minh City and on my travels in Southeast Asia.

Perhaps the most surprising group I met in Vietnam was the Saigon Swing Cats. I had fallen in love with swing dance my freshman year, but I did not expect to find a club in Vietnam. It was a fascinating mix of locals and expatriates—mostly young professionals—gathering together to dance a vintage American dance. This is where I saw the overlap between my international interests and my dance interests. . . .

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SHOULD YOU EARN YOUR COLLEGE DEGREE OVERSEAS?

“SHOULD YOU EARN YOUR COLLEGE DEGREE OVERSEAS?”

by Michael Grothaus via “FastCompany

A growing number of Americans are seeking to study abroad during their college years, according to data from the Institute of International Education. For the 2012/2013 school year (the most recent year for which numbers are available), 289,000 Americans spent part or all of their most recent year in college overseas. That’s a 400% increase from 20 years ago.

There are myriad reasons for this increase, including the skyrocketing cost of a college degree in America. Depending on the country, Americans have a chance of earning their bachelor’s, master’s, or even a PhD for cents on the dollar. In the last year, more than 4,600 American students were enrolled in full degree programs in Germany alone, where college fees for Americans are less than $1,000 a year, compared to $23,410, the average tuition cost per year for a public university in the U.S.

But American students aren’t just taking flight to foreign shores to save money on education. In today’s ever-smaller globalized business world, earning your degree overseas can have huge benefits for your career throughout the course of your life. A QS Global Employer Survey Report found that out of 10,000 companies contacted, more than 80% said they actively sought out graduates who have studied abroad. That’s not to say there aren’t some drawbacks to moving abroad for an international education, however. Homesickness and missing out on life experiences with your family and close friends can be challenging for some. The need to learn and write in another language—depending on the country chosen—and unexpected culture shock can also take their toll. The question is, could a degree earned overseas be the right choice for you? We spoke to three current and former American students to find out the reasons they went abroad to earn a degree, and whether they would recommend you do it.

MATTHEW KRUGMAN, 18, ORIGINALLY FROM BRECKENRIDGE, COLORADO, IS CURRENTLY EARNING HIS BACHELOR’S DEGREE IN LONDON.

In May, Krugman moved to London, where he began his Baking and Pastry degree program at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu culinary school. Krugman is concurrently earning a business and wine management degree as well.

What was the primary reason you decided to earn your degree overseas?

The primary reason for wanting to attend Le Cordon Bleu was the caliber of education it offers. Generally, LCB London, Paris, and Sydney are considered the top universities in the world for culinary school, and the option to attend a university that cooks for the likes of queens and has taught chefs like Julia Child was an offer I could not pass up.

Another smaller reason for wanting to go overseas is my education would take two years; this would include two culinary degrees and a wine and business degree. To receive this in the United States, I was looking at closer to six years in total, which wasn’t realistic, especially for a field where you have to hop in at a young age.

Have there been any unexpected benefits of earning your degree overseas?

I have found some, including slowly learning different languages. As my school is so diverse—the incoming class had around 90 nationalities—I’ve started to pick up little sayings in different languages as well as able to work on my French and Spanish. Another benefit is that until now, I didn’t realize how much more desirable a person who has studied overseas is for a position back in the States, as I’m already receiving many job offers.

Have there been any drawbacks?

Feeling homesick at times.

Do you feel an international degree makes you more attractive to employers?

I think an international degree makes me more attractive to prospective employers. International schools are seen as a “higher standard” in my field since it’s where culinary generally came from. I think as well you learn so much more just from being in a different country, and that helps a lot in the job field.

EMILIE RONALD, 21, ORIGINALLY FROM BUFFALO, NEW YORK, EARNED A BACHELOR’S DEGREE IN PARIS AND A MASTER’S DEGREE IN LONDON.

In 2011, Ronald began the International and Comparative Politics bachelor’s program at the American University of Paris and earned her BA in three years. She followed that degree up with a master’s in international law from the University of London. She earned the master’s in only a year.

What was the primary reason you decided to earn your degree overseas? . . . .

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More U.S. Students Are Studying Abroad, But Is It Enough?

“More U.S. Students Are Studying Abroad, But Is It Enough?”

by Sergei Klebnikov via “Forbes

We live in an era of viral globalization. And there’s so much talk about the necessity of a global perspective for success in just about every industry – healthcare, technology, manufacturing and entertainment, to name a few – that it is surprising the overall numbers of U.S. college students who study abroad is still relatively small. There are some pockets of strong growth, however, among students focusing on STEM degrees, many Asian destinations, and non-credit education programs.

According to the most recent Institute of International Education’s Open Doors report, nearly 290,000 American students received credit for studying abroad in 2013, a record high, and an increase of 2.1% over the previous year. The number of U.S. students studying abroad has more than doubled in the last 15 years. Despite these increases, fewer than 10% of all U.S. college students study abroad during their undergrad years.

Study Abroad Destinations

Not surprisingly, Europe is the destination for over half (53%) of the U.S. study abroad population. The three leading destinations – U.K. (13%), Italy (10%), and Spain (9%) – account for almost a third of students. They are followed by France and China, at 6% and 5% respectively.

While the UK had the largest increase in the number of U.S. study abroad students, there was also double digit growth in the number of Americans studying in South Africa, Denmark, South Korea, Peru and Thailand. There was strong growth in Costa Rica and Ireland, as well as a continued rebound in Japan. Asia and Latin America are fast becoming the new hotspots for U.S. higher education overseas, however. . . .

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Distance, difference and appreciation in studying abroad

“Distance, difference and appreciation in studying abroad”

by Allanah Avalon via “Stuff

I have been studying abroad since August 2014, at New York University – Abu Dhabi, an American institute in the United Arab Emirates. I have just completed my first year and have three years remaining at NYUAD, from which I will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and theatre.

Since leaving New Zealand not only have I encountered all of the typical problems one might face when moving away from home, such as homesickness and lost luggage, but I have experienced life lessons I would not have dreamed of going through if it were not for delving into the unknown – studying away.

I have grown as a person, but what has surprised me the most is how my appreciation and pride for being a New Zealander has developed.

Being immersed with students from all around the world, I am constantly questioning others on their culture and being questioned about New Zealand’s – questions  I would never have had to answer if I were studying at home. This has forced me to learn more of my own culture in a way that I would not have done if I had not decided to study abroad.

While studying away one meets and makes amazing friends and learns invaluable life lessons, but it is the lessons you learn about yourself that are the most important. These lessons have taught me to appreciate the place where I was fortunate enough to have grown up, New Zealand, while also gaining a deeper understanding into my culture, history and heritage.

Studying abroad means representing both yourself and the country you come from and, because of my experiences since being abroad, I am more of a patriotic New Zealand citizen than I was before beginning my studies in Abu Dhabi.

It is not that I was not a patriotic citizen while I was in New Zealand, it is simply the lack of time I had at home to acknowledge the true beauty of what New Zealand is.

This lack of time at home, between work, studies or daily errands, can force one to forget how important the culture one lives in is. If anything, since moving away I have become more aware of my cultural identity and my country. Due to this I feel closer to home than I ever did while at home, simply because of . . .

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