Studying a degree abroad is a complex decision that requires intense consideration and brings up thousands of questions. What’s the best subject to study for me? What career to pursue? Where should I study? Can a foundation degree help me?
Most of the university websites and brochures definitely seem appealing and promise an unforgettable new adventure. However, nothing compares to the feeling of actually being in a new and unknown environment, where you have to face all the real life problems you never considered before. That’s why you should make sure you’ll receive the right help and guidance on your higher education path abroad.
Growing needs of international student worldwide
Every year, universities all over the world are increasing their international Bachelor and Master degree offers. In order to answer the current demands for global higher education, universities provide ways in which foreign students can fit in and feel at home in their new study location.
In their effort to help new students with any potential issues but also to make sure students are aligned with the requirements of the country’s academic system, universities developed thoroughly organized preparation methods, broadly known as foundation degrees.
What is a foundation degree?
Foundation degrees, also known as foundation programmes, preparation courses, pathway programmes, or pre-university courses are designed to provide students with training and preparation for higher education. Originally created in the UK to answer the needs of prospective non-EU international students, university foundation programmes spread quickly to other popular international study locations throughout the world.
The main goal of a foundation degree is to offer knowledge on a specific subject to help students progress further in that field while preparing to advance their academic studies. A foundation degree may prepare you for studying a Bachelor’s degree (pre-Bachelor), or a Master’s degree (pre-Master), as well as other forms of academic study. They usually take 6 to 24 months to complete, depending on the course offer.
Why should I take a foundation programme abroad?
You may ask yourself: With all the time an undergraduate course take to be completed, why would I want to spend more time engaging in a foundation degree before applying to a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree?
Here are the main reasons why:
1. Get recognition of your knowledge in a foreign country
Academic education varies highly across countries and cultures. In some cases, you might not be able to enrol in these advanced degree courses without first taking a foundation programme. This is the case of students coming from an education system that is not similar enough to the one the student intends to study in. Or the student may not meet the right language requirements. As such, they might be required to take a foundation course to get up to speed with the academic system and requirements of the country.
2. Learn to walk before you fly!
Moving abroad to study includes such a diverse range of situations and experiences that most of the times students - no matter how well informed - are unable to imagine. Foundation programmes provide intensive courses, which help new students acquire excellent academic skills. During the courses, students are exposed to the basics of what they are going to learn for their undergraduate or graduate studies. Thus, students have time to get all the knowledge they need to enter their studies being well prepared.
During a foundation programme, students have the time to adjust to a different system of learning, but also a different system of evaluation. You’ll learn how to navigate on-line systems and platforms, how to conduct proper research, how to write assignments using the appropriate academic style, how to prepare and give presentations, and more. You’ll basically develop a set of tools that will soon become your most trusty learning instruments.
3. Language training towards academic success
Another important factor for taking a pathway programme abroad is the chance to improve your English language skills. Academic degrees have certain language requirements you’ll need to meet in order to be admitted. Foundation degrees help you advance your language skills, while also teaching you specific terms, useful tricks to get by, and cultural insight.
This is a great way to better understand how the locals and your international colleagues think. Great communication is key for exchanging inspiring ideas, making new friends and adapting to a multi-cultural environment. There will be nothing stopping you from getting involved with the social and cultural events in the city you study in.
4. A great idea even if you already meet study requirements
Many international students may take a pre-Bachelor or pre-Master course before their degree studies just to get into the right mindset for their experience abroad. A preparation course chosen at the right time can be like warming up before a boxing match, or training for a championship. You’ll get support, advice, and more focus for the few years of study to come. In addition to this, it can also fit well as a chance to relax and socialise before the demands of the academic year will start to pile up.
5. A new culture to discover and enjoy
Students have the opportunity to explore a new city, to benefit from the cultural diversity of their classmates and that of their professors, and strengthen their international knowledge. Foundation programmes provide additional information for practical issues and help students understand daily life in the country.
It will also be easier to get around on university premises or in the city, and other information to make your stay more pleasant. Find out where are the offices and the bookshops where students can get textbooks, obtain extra study material or ask questions, what happens in case someone receives a scholarship, how to regulate their visa issues (if needed), how do housing, bank accounts, insurance and the health system work.
6. Making sure you choose the right career
Above all, foundation programmes help students build the safety net and solid background needed to achieve a perfect balance between their choice of study and student life. They help students set their goals, but also teach them how to manage them, plan in advance, and how to assess them. Students need to understand what is important for them, but they also need to discover what is expected of them.
Information is power, and a pre-Bachelor or pre-Master is a great chance for you to think about your study preferences and choices. A foundation degree course informs you and lets you reconsider your initial career plans without having to start a costly Bachelor’s or Master’s degree that wasn’t really right for you. Therefore, you might want to start a foundation degree if you’re thinking of changing career paths but are not yet 100% sure whether you’re making the right choice.
Pick what’s best for you!
Choose a foundation degree on the topic that interests you to start your study abroad adventure prepared and ready to meet all the challenges of an international study experience! Interested to find the right foundation course for you? Check out PreparationCoursesPortal.com