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Study overseas - comparing bachelor degree programs in USA, UK and AUS

study overseas - comparing bachelor degrees in USA, UK and Australia

USA, UK and Australia have the highest number of international students in the world, and they are the three most popular destinations for Hong Kong students. Most Hong Kong parents and students have a pre-conception about education of these countries, to them, USA stands for liberal and broadness, their graduates are assertive and outspoken; UK represents tradition and seriousness, their graduates are conservative and earnest; Australia are the middle of the two extremes.

So which of these countries will suit you best? Which country offers the best opportunities for your degree? and for work when you graduate? Which is easiest to get into? Which is the most affordable? Keep reading to find out the differences.

Number of Universities in USA, UK & AUS and their number within World's Top 200 

Over the past few years, the U.S. has dominated the globe in being the most popular university destination for students from all over the world.

Refer to the table below, universities in the U.S. continue to maintain a strong presence among top-ranked universities in the world. Partially this has to do with how well-funded and supported American universities are; but it also has to do with the high academic standards they instill into their students. Over in Australia, the government is steadily reducing financial support to their universities which are unable to set their own market-driven fees.

study overseas comparison table 1  诲外留學比較表1

With their always-changing and evolving classrooms, USA universities continue to attract students from all over the world, and are courageously working every year to change the education they deliver so that students from all over the world are prepared to go back home and find wonderful careers.

Academic Perspective

Studying in American universities provides an ideal environment for students, characterized by flexible methods of education and continuous development process for students in the various fields of studies.

Depending on your strengths, interests, and goals, U.S. universities deliberately shift their classroom structures and instruction methods to make learning engaging and, at the same time, relevant to your own domain.

The curriculum of many undergraduate programs is based on a “liberal arts” philosophy in which students are required to study courses from a range of subjects to form a broad educational foundation. These general education courses include study in English composition, social sciences, humanities, history, mathematics and natural or physical sciences.

Once they have met the core curriculum requirements, students at most institutions are asked to choose a specific field of study, also known as the major. Your major should be in an academic area that is of great interest to you, and one in which you will likely seek a career in the future. The final two years are spent taking more courses that are more directly related to your major. Other four-year colleges and universities emphasize preparation for special professional areas—fine arts, pharmacy, engineering, business, agriculture, and other specialized fields.

Students who major in certain fields such as business, engineering or science find that the curriculum is often more tightly structured than it is in the humanities or socials sciences. Business, science and engineering majors may have to take more courses related to their major field of study and have fewer electives, or optional courses.

In UK, in the case of undergraduate programs, you apply through a centralized system which allows you to apply to several colleges at once. This system is called the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). This means that you have to know what you want to study before you even apply.

Australia offers just that middle ground between USA and UK. In the first year you’ll be taking a range of options – about four subjects each semester. The middle ground extends further. While courses are fairly similar to the UK system, Australian universities are known to be generally more informal than their British counterparts. Teaching is more relaxed and you may have more contact with the teachers through weekly tutorials with 10 to 30 students.

 study overseas comparison table 2  诲外留學比較表2

Learning Methods

In US universities, the focus is on lectures. These lecture classes range in size from 30 students in small colleges to an average 200 students for a typical public university. Lectures will have an accompanying tutorial class and discussion group.

In UK universities, teaching methods and study skills vary depending on the course and university you choose, basically they consist of lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical work.

In Australia – again it also depends on the type of degree, generally with lectures and tutorial classes.

Assessments

“Learning takes place in students’ heads where it is invisible to others. This means that learning must be assessed through performance: what students can do with their learning”

In America, assessment is an ongoing process aimed at understanding and improving student learning.

Here we provide suggestions and strategies for assessing student learning and performance as well as ways to clarify your expectations and performance criteria to students

In assessments, US students are tested for their general familiarity with relatively small samples of material, often through multiple-choice and short-answer formats. This is a natural reflection of a broad curriculum that sees students enrolled in modules across the academic spectrum every term. It remains the case until one reaches the third and fourth years, when seminars and a more substantial load of reading and written work within one's major becomes the norm.

Creating assignments

Creating exams

Using classroom assessment techniques

Using concept maps

Using concept tests

Assessing group work

Creating and using rubric

In the UK, the opposite prevails. From the first year on, students remain focused on one discipline, which fosters both critical engagement and expertise within that mode of inquiry. Some examples of assessment methods are: Exams, Essays, Projects, Take-away papers (you are given a number of days to complete them)

Cultural diversity and tolerance

Study in US, the country which has experimented with democracy for more than 200 years is strong economically as well as culturally today with the base being the immigrants, hence, American people are generally more receptive to foreigners. In education sector, nearly every university in the U.S. takes diversity to be one of their defining pillars. Students often remark that their classes and dormitories are full of students from every nationality, religion, or ethnicity, and having access to and contact with so many cultural backgrounds makes the experience that much more thrilling.

Recently after Brexit, UK people seem to be less tolerance to foreigners, unfortunately, this has extended to international students, mainly non-Caucasians as well.  Over in Australia, recently education has become a major source of national income, the result is there are relatively more international students in many of the prestigious Australia universities, which has caused resentments toward again Asian students in some popular with relatively large presence of Asian students.

If you go to a university in the U.S., you will feel immediately comfortable around people who share a similar background as you and who have new ideas and perspectives to share. Studying abroad, in general, is one way to nurture your tolerance and openness to other cultures; studying in the U.S. adds another dimension, exposing you not only to American culture, but to the languages and beliefs of people from nationalities all over the world.

Why USA is the most popular destination for a bachelor degree program

The United States, widely recognized as a world leader in education, offers a complex array of choices, from types of institutions (colleges, universities, specialty schools - over 4,500 in total), to majors and minors, to extracurricular activities that can support networking and build leadership skills.

Major reasons people choose USA for their higher education

1.       Thousands of choices – no other country comes close to offering as many learning options

2.       Focus on well-rounded individuals and education - graduates are well-rounded with the skills and knowledge employers seek

3.       Flexibility – up to two years allowed before choosing a major; easy to transfer to another school

4.       Diversity – the U.S. attracts students from around the world

5.       Great support for international students - support for international students, including housing, academics, and student groups is extensive at most U.S. schools

6.       Prestige – a degree from a U.S. college is recognized globally as a distinctive achievement

7.       Job opportunities & internships – most education programs include opportunities to work in the field before graduation, providing valuable work experience and business contacts

8.       Improve your English – there’s no better way to improve language skills than living and learning in the U.S.

9.       Travel opportunities – Domestic flights (within USA) are easy and fairly inexpensive

10.     Learn the real American culture – discover the difference between the real world and what you’ve seen on TV

 

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