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   Volume3Issue 01| January 09, 2011 |


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Achieving a Foreign Degree

Sameeha Suraiya

Algoma University.

The doors to higher studies are many. Armed with a good academic record and sufficient skills that make one an eligible student, one is ready to take the big leap that higher studies call for. For a student who has the heart set on a foreign degree, the decision is never easy ; with so many universities offering programmes as diverse as the other, a prospective Bangladeshi student tackles with a stream of confusion and uncertainty. The chase begins as deadlines close in. Scouring through whatever resources available is a nerve-racking experience that few are prepared for. With questions galore, it may become daunting for one to narrow the options down, taking into consideration everything that the student has to face in the foreign land, till a helping hand is offered.

For those braving foreign shores, a guiding hand is all that makes a difference, which is why it may be a more sensible option to have someone to answer all the queries and help with the paperwork. The Canadian University Application Centre (CUAC) is known for just that. The five universities that are members of CUAC are University of Victoria, University of Guelph, Saint Mary's University, University of Windsor and Algoma University. The CUAC has its offices in many places around the world, from Delhi to Dubai, Lagos to Sao Paulo, and Jakarta to right here in Dhaka. The CUAC network has its own trained staff and education professionals to help serve students. It has grown steadily popular in Bangladesh; since 1998, a total of 850 Bangladeshis pursued higher studies through CUAC.

For a potential international student, the range of questions that may arise can be never ending. CUAC representatives besides answering general questions, also bring forth first-hand knowledge and experiences to help give students a deeper understanding of their options. Taking into account each student's individual interests, strengths, and career goals, CUAC staff helps narrow down choices and pick the best programme and institution. Once the big decision is made, CUAC staffs assist students with university application forms, identify necessary documents, apply for a Canadian student visa, and make final arrangements to help ensure the smoothest transition possible to a new life in Canada. From picking out the type of accommodation to deciding what should be packed (versus what one can get once they have arrived in Canada), and signing up for classes once their courses are set, CUAC ensures students have all the support and information that they need.

As a CUAC representative mentions, for starters, Canadian universities have a well- earned reputations for quality education. With world-class research facilities, renowned expert faculties, and supportive learning environments, students who choose Canadian universities are guaranteed a top-notch academic experience culminating in a degree that is recognised all over the world.

The universities that the CUAC is affiliated with promise small classes and a host of one-on-one academic counselling opportunities for students. Co-operative educational programmes as well as paid on-campus and off-campus job options are additional attractions. Co-operative, or Co-op, is where students study full time and then work full-time in a placement coordinated by the university, which may go on to be an invaluable experience. The five aforementioned universities being public institutions mean that their programmes, especially for Bachelors, are highly subsidized by the government.

University of Guelph:
Located an hour away from the bustling city of Toronto, Guelph is considered one of Canada's top 10 places to live. For students who would like to combine their Canadian university experiences with more varied international experiences instead, Guelph is also a strong supporter of study abroad programs offering more than 50 different student exchange and/or semester abroad options in 30 countries around the globe. Guelph students can also spend semesters abroad, exploring and studying at other partner institutions in the UK, US, and other destinations.

When it comes to exploring degree programs in Canada a country well-ranked for its high quality of education and research institutions, as well as for its relatively low tuition costs according to Canadian University Application Centre (CUAC) student counselor Hiba Fazl the University of Guelph is a popular option for students coming from South Asia. The University of Guelph offer degree programmes in more than 90 areas. The university is known for its biological science programme as well as engineering, business and agricultural sciences.

Saint Mary's University:
Located in Halifax, Nova Scotia, a place rich in history, Saint Mary's University offers a wide variety of tailored courses and study streams. A wide range of undergraduate and graduate-level majors is available within the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Arts. With multiple other universities and colleges based throughout the city, Halifax is widely considered a “student town” hosting over 20,000 post-secondary scholars every year. Sporting events and concerts attract students, both local and international.

University of Victoria:
The most popular programmes that international students apply for in University of Victoria include its Bachelor of Commerce and Engineering programmes, Arts and Humanities and Medical Sciences. From studies in political science, to environmental issues, creative writing to nursing the university's ten separate faculties offer a wide range of choice for students looking for quality education. Other than the university Victoria, the capital of the province, British Columbia is known for its theatres, live music, art galleries, museums and outdoor festivals.

Research areas the university is particularly recognised internationally for include global change and sustainability, oceans and climate studies, society and health, genomics and proteomics as well as computational modeling and information processing areas in which interested students, regardless of what level of study they are in, have a chance to take part in cutting-edge research and learning opportunities.

University of Windsor:

As Firdous Sait, a councellor of CUAC points out, many international students from South Asia and the Middle East consider Windsor's variety of programmes to be one of its biggest strengths, and also the fact that it offers flexibility for prospective students.

“Particularly for students with the traditional interests in Business and Engineering, there are advanced facilities and expertise in the fields at UW. And for students with varied interests, or those wishing to tread more 'unknown waters', UW can be the perfect place to branch out and do so.” The university presents around 120 options for undergraduate majors and minors and 55 different masters and doctoral degree programmes, which make it a viable option.

Particularly for students looking for job-oriented courses, the Windsor-offered fields of nursing, education, engineering, computer science, and social work offer career prospects with a growing demand for graduates with international experience.

Algoma University:
Algoma University located in northern Ontario is host to over 1,200 students a year hailing from diverse backgrounds and cultures. It is a small community that welcome close interaction between students and professors. With considerable experience in offering undergraduate liberal arts and science programmes, Algoma University offers students a wide range of academic choices. Students are also encouraged to take part in a range of recreational activities, such as camping, skiing, and hiking, and a variety of cultural events are specially hosted to help students share their own cultures and traditions.

Particularly for international newcomers, special attention and services are given to help students not only settle in, but also make the most of their entire time spent at Algoma U. A full-time International Student Advisor is in charge of providing in-depth orientation programmes and assisting with all kinds of legal procedures.

Students from diverse backgrounds and cultures celebrating Eid ..

The CUAC had recently organised a fair at The Westin that drew a lot of attention among students applying for both undergraduate and graduate programmes. Representatives from all five universities were present to answer all questions and offering various advice. Students at the fair ticked away their lists of queries. Many were seen sorting through the brochures hoping to find that perfect choice.

Sarwat Zereen a recent BBA graduate from North South University is juggling the idea of applying for either MBA or MA in Finance.Her top choices are University of Victoria and Saint Mary's University as she has received good recommendations from professors at her university. She has chosen Canada knowing the quality of publicly funded universities. She also plans to work for sometime in Canada before heading back home. Azhar Rashid, an A' level student from Maple Leaf School has come to a decision; he wants to attend the BBA programme at Algoma University. Having searched thoroughly for the right university, he is confident that he has found what would suit him the best, especially after talking to the representatives of the university. Easy visa processing and affordable education have been the strongest deciding factors for him.

The CUAC can be further contacted in their office located in Hosna Centre, Suite 210, 106 Gulshan Avenue.


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