Studying in America and Canada

2.2.2 Quality of education in North America

In India, the quality of education in America and Canada is generally presumed to be superior. But why? The reasons are often intuitive and instinctive, and not particularly analytical. We highlight some attributes of the higher education in America and Canada.

Universal Acceptance

American and Canadian education is universally accepted in countries around the world. In some counties, like India, such education is held in high regard, at least in some instances, even without much direct knowledge of the college. This appeal will benefit you, should you return to India after completing your education, whether the person making the assessment is fully informed or not. With the current push for globalization, mobility of workers will likely increase, or at the very least it won’t decrease. American or Canadian education will stand you in good stead.

Cutting Edge Research and Academic Excellence

A large amount of the cutting edge research is conducted by professors and researchers at the American and Canadian universities. A large number of Nobel Prize winners are academics and conduct their research at these universities. The pace at which the discoveries from this research are introduced in the classroom is unmatched in the world. As a graduate student, you would in fact be involved in this research. Top American and Canadian academic institutions in just about every discipline have no match elsewhere in the world.

Flexibility of the programs of study

Programs of study and student schedules are flexible. Each student has the ability, within reason, to design his or her program and select classes at suitable times. Schools allow, encourage, and sometimes require that the student learn subjects other than in the student’s area of specialization. An academic advisor would help you understand your choices and make decisions.

Diversity of student body

The student body is much more diverse. Students from various countries and backgrounds are your classmates. This adds a valuable dimension not only to the classroom learning, but also to the intangible learning that goes on beyond the classroom as you interact with your classmates. You learn about other countries, cultures, and ways of thinking. A graduate from America or Canada is more well-rounded than a graduate from most other countries.

Modern facilities and hands-on training

Schools in America and Canada have the funding – yes, we know that they all complain about the lack of money – to build and own state-of-the art classrooms and facilities. The things you only read about in textbooks in India are not only likely to be available at these schools, but you are likely to get hands-on experience on them.

Career placement

Most schools in America and Canada, or at least those above average, have career placement centers. Career counselors assist you in all aspects of your job search, ranging from writing your resume, to distributing your resume to prospective employers, to scheduling recruiters for on-campus interviews.

Dedicated support for international students

Most schools have an office for advising and supporting international students. Schools recognize that the transition into a new society and culture is difficult and adaptation can take a long time. Your international student advisor will counsel you on any issue confronting you, not the least of which are immigration challenges. Many schools hold special get-togethers for international students to make you feel at home.

Overall experience

You will find that the overall environment is rather accepting. You may feel, due to your own uneasiness in the new environment, like an outsider but others will not treat you as one. Obviously it will take time but it is you who will have to make an effort to adapt to the new country, culture, and system of education.

The support system for all students is far superior to that in India. You have access to professors, tutors, teaching assistants, and lab instructors for help in your courses. You have to take the initiative, but the help is available. In addition, your academic advisor and international student advisor will be a good support in times of need. All in all, you can expect a very enriching experience that goes well beyond the classroom instruction.

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