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Education @ Asia

Tuesday, 3 September 2013 - 7:51am IST | Agency: dna

Want to take a course at an Asian university? Nipa Vaidya tells you how to make the time you spend away from home fruitful

You’ve gone through the regular grind met a career counsellor, short listed the universities to apply to, spoken to friends (or friends of friends or friends of friends of family/friends) before applying to universities abroad. Most of the times, Indian students have their priority list set just right  the US, UK maybe Australia and then universities closer home in Asia.

Though there are no official figures to support the statement one has made above, rest assured it isn’t an ignorant assumption. Anyway studying in Asia can be a culturally enriching experience, if you learn to appreciate the nuances of various cultures.

Let’s begin with the basics, the advantages of opting for an Asian university (most likely one in Singapore or maybe Hong Kong)

If you intend to save on some mega bucks while you still continue studying abroad, Asia is a safer bet considering the highly volatile Rupee-Dollar equation. You might have had the privilege of either having enrolled for an international board or heard about the benefits of studying in one.

If one had to use just two words to describe this experience it would be – less pressure. That’s right though most colleges/universities in the West offer the best courses with the best faculty not all students are in any race to get top grades.

However competition is an integral part of our continent’s culture. Thus you do continue to strive to excel and do not get complacent. Temples, festivals and celebrations are quite similar in many Asian countries. Yet they are distinguishably different. For instance, you might have been told not to buy shoes for Diwali (keep the shoe shopping for later). Well even the Chinese follow this custom.

Celebrations always involve visiting family, elaborate meals and fun and frolic. Family values are quite strong across the continent. Of course what may be right in one culture might be totally wrong in another. For instance using your index finger to summon someone in a mock or funny manner is quite accepted in our culture, however in the Philippines it is considered to be quite rude.

When you are exposed to such starkly different yet similar cultures, the experience moulds you for life. You learn to respect and live harmoniously with various cultural beliefs which still have the same roots. From a very practical point of view, since you live in the same continent as the rest of your family, contacting them, or even flying home during smaller breaks is a far more viable option.

It also means the chances of your family visiting you for a little vacation are brighter. Last but not the least, there are fewer reports of on campus bullying or ragging which could calm quite a few frayed nerves back home.

Though there are flip sides like the language barrier in some countries and food in some others, with a little bit of persistence and determination you can surely overcome these hurdles.

Do embark on this journey called higher education and explore the immediate world around you!

Top 10 Asian Universities

University of Tokyo

National University of Singapore

The University of  Hong Kong,

Peking University

Pohang University of Science and Technology, Republic of  Korea

Tsinghua University,  China 

Kyoto University, Japan 

Seoul National University Republic of Korea

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Korea Advance Institute of Science and Technology

Source: The Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings 2013

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