Benefits of overseas education in the age of technology
WHEN IT COMES TO OVERSEAS STUDY, THERE ARE SO MANY DESTINATIONS TO CHOOSE FROM BUT STUDYING ABROAD IS OFTEN A FAMILY DECISION.
With school fees as low as S$3 a month for elementary school and S$5 a month for secondary school, state or state-supported schools in Singapore have become very attractive for international students. To top it off, the Singaporean government has made it easier for foreign students to attend local schools, and while admission is subject to vacancies, foreign students with a dependent’s pass are not required to apply for a student’s pass.
Home to some of the best educational institutes in the Asia-Pacific region, Singapore has long provided an attractive alternative for world-class education at an affordable cost. The fact that the state mostly supports education for elementary, secondary and higher-education levels makes the island-nation even more alluring.
Singapore isn’t the only country in the region that continues to attract foreign students. Over in neighboring Malaysia, where school fees at national schools were abolished in 2011, classrooms have gotten bigger. Citing dissatisfaction over dwindling teachers’ attention, many wealthier parents have opted to send their children to private schools instead. But still, the comparatively low expenditure of studying and living, complemented with an established education system, makes Malaysia another top destination for studying in the region.
Some contend that it’s the career aspects of foreign education that offers the most practical benefits, and for that reason seek an innovative approach to vocational and technical education—exactly the kind one would find Down Under.
Those in the overseas education field would agree that Australia has a reputation for adopting new technologies at a faster rate than in most other countries. Australian facilities for teaching, training and research are also deemed world-class in terms of state-of-the-art laboratories and classrooms, outstanding libraries and modern technology. That aside, the country also boasts one of the highest rates of internet access in the world.
Regardless of the choice of country, near or far, many believe that there is now a change sweeping through when it comes to making the choice for studying abroad. As the world moves into the digital era, so too methods of learning are changing to engage and adopt the latest technologies. No longer restricted to classroom or face-to-face interaction, current methods of distribution now include a combination of virtual interfaces and the content graduating from traditional text-based learning to one that incorporates multimedia.
In Singapore, the government has launched an initiative to churn out students with future-ready competencies, and by doing that, is consistently tapping technology for creative teaching and learning methods.
There, teachers can now post class work and homework assignments on e-learning portals for students to access while in school or at home. Students are also encouraged to use online tools to analyze or engage in discussions. That’s not all. The government also wants teachers to use technology to increase students’ engagement and to help them learn better.
With that, the idea of high-end digital learning continues to sink into the minds of parents looking to send their kids abroad, who by now are looking beyond geographical locations, levels of education or financial costs to provide the best opportunities for their loved ones.
Conventional wisdom in the study field abroad suggests the longer students study abroad, the better the impact on their academic and cultural development, as well as personal growth benefits.
“Cultural experiences from living abroad have wide-reaching benefits on students’ creativity, includingin the facilitation of complex cognitive processes that promote creative thinking,” according to researchers at the University of Florida, Gainesville, whose work was published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology.
Given there are so many destinations to choose from, making the decision on where to send children to study abroad can be quite overwhelming. Some study experts suggest starting by narrowing down the type of location that interests your child the most before making a decision. It also helps to have a support system, which could be in the
form of consultation with an academic advisor who not only assists in the planning and application process but can also ensure your child is on track to meet the school’s academic expectations.
In the end, beyond finances, studying abroad is often a family decision, which is why having an open conversation can help both parents and the children. It could also help to engage with other families who have sent their children abroad to learn about their experiences. Last but not least, there are endless resources on the internet, which include some very useful forums that could be consulted. (