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Not quite like a free Sunday

It's that time of the year again - the place is teeming with new graduates wondering what to do next. Of course, going overseas to study comes to mind. After all their friends are going, so why shouldn't they?

Not quite like a free Sunday

However, the biggest problem is that not many people are good at planning. And you need to have a plan. It's not like waking up on a Sunday, and wondering how you should spend the day. Going overseas to study needs serious planning.

So, let's start with your language skills. You may say you speak English, but how good is it really? Could you write an essay, a report or a term paper in English with very little reference to a dictionary?

No? Well, this means you have to do something about it.

As they say, "there is no time like the present", so enrol in some English-language classes. But be sure you choose a good school and attend every class. You're going to have to take that IELTS or TOEFL examination at some point so it is worth getting ready for it.

You've obviously already made the tough decision about what you're going to study. This decision is easy for those who've studied very specific subjects such as electronic engineering or fine art, but a lot more difficult for those who've done general subjects.

Making the right decision is very important - almost as important as deciding who you're going to marry. What you choose to study will influence your life, so don't be hasty with your decision.

How do you decide? Who do you need to talk to?

Well most people discuss the subject with their friends, parents and former teachers - usually in that order. Don't forget, however, parents are more worried about the cost than the subject you study. And then there are the education consultants - we'll be discussing them a little later.

The first thing you need do is find all the facts - so log on to the Internet and research, research, research. Every educational institution has a website, which should provide a phenomenal amount of information. Unfortunately, these websites may give you too much information, so be aware of smiling faces and sunny skies - the truth may be quite different.

Also, don't get influenced by your friends' choices - your decision will affect your life, not theirs. Make sure that the reasons behind your choice of subject are very clear, and one of the main reasons should be getting employed after graduation. So, start thinking about your future career, and then think about how you are going to get the qualifications for it. Working backward from your career goal is a great way to arrive at a decision.

So with the decision partially made, you now have to face the process of application. This is where you will need an education consultant. Since there are so many specialists in this field nowadays, your next decision should be to decide who can best fulfil your needs. Of course, you need to research these people on the Net, but your final decision should only be made after you've visited and spoken to one.

Look around the office - does it have a professional atmosphere? Does counsellor seem to know what he/she is talking about? How long has that office been in operation? What institutions do they work with? All these factors should help you decide. And then there's the money, don't forget to find out what they're going to charge you and what exactly this charge covers.

From there on, I'm afraid, it's all going to be one long paper chase! You'll be dealing with loads of documents and filling in endless forms. Also, don't forget to keep records. And remember to be decisive! When you feel you have sufficient information make a decision, make it and stick with it. No one, least of all your potential university, will appreciate indecisiveness.

So, it's not quite like trying to decide what to do with a free Sunday, is it?

But it's a lot more exciting, because with this decision you will one day in the near future be sitting in Sydney, London or San Francisco trying to decide what to do with your free Sunday!

John Kelly


Mentor International



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