Stepping stones for higher studies
As I am in my final year, being an English linguistics major, I want to pursue master's degree in TESOL (Teaching English to the Speakers of Other Language). Sadly when I looked up for this course, I found that not many local universities are offering this course.
Moreover, all the master's programmes offered locally are taught courses where the course credits are counted wholly on lectures with only a final thesis and scheduled for one year. This in turn means, going for master's here will not directly lead to a postdoctoral degree. If I ought to go for a PhD, I again have to do post masters after completing my masters and then only could I apply for a doctorate degree.
I really want to study this subject so I consulted with one of my course lecturers who had done her master's from Canada in TESOL. She assured that I had selected a good subject and our country really needs good English teachers who can develop the cognitive capacity of its students, and as English is Lingua Franca, this language can lead our youths to exploring the global platform with their unique ideas -- be noticed and be heard.
She also said as English is a foreign language, our students are always afraid of it and in turn this language bridging gap turns out to be the obstacle between their qualification and success. However she also added how English is not treated as a tool of communication and not a subject. Thus, comprehensibility of the language and the ability to use the language should always be the prime focus while teaching.
Her words echoed into my ears as I walked down my class alleyway towards the computer lab door. With her words, I quickly swapped the lab door and started to type 'MA TESOL in Canada'. A little googling could never hurt, right? That's what I thought to myself.
As soon as I hit the search button, numerous university prospectuses popped up on the computer screen. Full details along with admission requirements and processes were explained in a very detailed manner and the language was also very simple and easy to understand.
While I was doing my mini-research on my master's plan, a girl sitting beside me suddenly asked me, "Is that the website you got from your agent?"
"What agent?" I replied.
"Your education consultant, you know people who send students abroad for studies. They also help you get your visa. Getting a visa is so tough nowadays," she added.
"I have no agent. I did not go to any agency. I just googled and all the information came up. I followed the threaded links and now reading the information provided on their website," I said.
"I tried googling as well. However, I could not understand a thing. Things only got clear when I spoke to an agent. My father also wants me to go abroad for master's degree. One of his colleagues suggested an agency. They are awesome. They provide all guidelines and then everything seems very easy. They even filled up my form. I had to take no pain at all," she further added.
She would have gone adding more praises in favour of the agency she had consulted while I suddenly interrupted her saying, "But why would they do so much for you?"
"It is their job. They have set up offices to help students like us. In return you just ought to pay their service charge after your visa is confirmed," she said and then just took off.
However in the website I had read just a couple of minutes before speaking to her, it said how after your admission letter is accepted and all the correct documents are filed and submitted in the embassy, visa should never be a problem.
I went on further and researched a bit more. I saw how many countries were even offering a waived tuition structure while others were providing free education. For instance, the government of Denmark and Norway provide free education to international students.
The requirements are different and vary from country to country depending on the country's education policy. Detailed information is provided on the university websites.
The basic requirements are pretty much the same for most of the countries. They want you to have an average course GPA of a minimum 2.8 out of 4.00 and proof of language proficiency is needed. There are exceptions in these cases as well. For instance, in Sweden if your medium of education is English for undergrad, you do not need to provide your language proficiency with tests like IELTS or TOEFL.
For proficiency evaluation, the required IELTS score also varies for university to university. Mostly they ask for an average score of 6.5 with band width no less than 6.00 in all the four skills. That means in the four skills being listening, writing, reading and writing, the applicant cannot score less than 6.00 in any skill and the average of the four skills should add up to a score of 6.5.
In most of the countries you may get a scholarship on your tuition fees. However, you do have to have a bank sponsorship showing that you can bear your living costs while you are pursuing your degree. The amount depends on the duration of your course and your intended time of stay.
This sponsorship is mainly shown to assure that you are able to pay for housing and food during your studies and do not have to focus on your expenses leaving your education as secondary.
Once you submit your application with your transcripts and post education certificates, you will be notified whether your application is accepted or rejected. When your application is approved, you have to apply for a study permit along with the bank statements, a valid passport, your language proficiency proof, curriculum vitae of yourself and your university acceptance letter to the embassy along with a medical clearance and other necessary papers asked for by the embassy.
I did not have to go to an agent for acquiring all these details. Neither did I have to ask for any help from anyone. All I did was, I read the documents provided by the universities very carefully. For any work which was unclear, I looked up the term and studied the descriptions until my confusions were cleared. If I can understand, I am sure all the students like me can understand as well.
Looking up the websites, I also found out how they have specific course requirements for specific subjects and if one has not completed those courses in the undergrad, he/she is not eligible to apply for the master's programme. Now I can choose my major courses more wisely rather than just listening to people's suggestions.
Words written on paper always seem better to me than words coming out of lips. Thus, I trust what I can read. Whom do you trust, especially with your future?