Overseas universities, why consider it
Few if any Singaporean JC students consider overseas universities.
Rather, they try to fight for entry into local universities with everyone else.
And when there are so many students trying to fight for entry, the universities in turn start to be picky about who they let in. Because there is only so much spaces.
This is further worsen by the fact that hard caps are in place on the university admissions rates for the locals specifically.
Consequently, this results in a mad rush for grades. As more students score better, the exams are redesigned to be harder so as to be able to differentiate students.
And a vicious cycle begins anew.
Merits of overseas universities: why local is not the best option
Most MOE teachers in Singapore graduate from local universities.
The style of education they experience is then replicated in a smaller form and incorporated into their classrooms.
As a result, these sameness perpetuates within the education system and all students think, behave alike.
This does not bode well for students when they graduate looking for jobs.
Because employers in turn become choosy and one gets easily passed over because everyone has the same experiences and qualifications.
Merits of overseas universities: development of character and soft skills
When you are in a new environment, its like all your senses wakes up to the new world around you.
This is because the culture, the school, the people, the language… everything is different.
This on top of the insecurity of the absence of family and loved ones.
In addition, you have to take care of yourself going through the chores, budgeting your expenditure, safety etc.
And you go through a transition where you toughen up to cope.
More importantly, you increase in adaptability and thinking.
Because you need and have to communicate better, you end up developing sensitivity to the person you are trying communicating with.
Consequently, you start accumulating these soft skills that differentiate yourself from the other local graduates if and when you return.
I am not saying that local students can’t develop these skill sets however.
The main difference is when you are going through life in overseas universities, you are forced to develop yourself to survive.
The comfort of home means there is no pressure and therefore the need for behavioral changes, unless you are particularly sensitive enough to do so.
Does overseas universities cost more?
Whilst many can see the benefits of education in overseas universities, one of the reasons for closing the option is because of costs.
They do so without realizing that many overseas universities are keen to bring in foreign students to diversify their student population and increase international repute.
And Singapore students are attractive because of the perceived high levels of academic capability. One only need to look at the PISA and TIMSS rankings.
As such many are willing to offer scholarships for prospective students.
Not only that, numerous Singaporean entities are even offering overseas scholarships! (check the boxes for the countries you like to study at under the location of study left tab).
Some of these latter groups of scholarships are so generous, they basically cover everything including providing a monthly allowance in exchange for a bond. Take a look at the terms of the EDB scholarship below.
What do you think?
Opens up opportunities overseas
Very importantly, as everyone will acknowledge. Singapore is small and the market is small here as well.
And we are particularly susceptible to the changes in trade winds.
So access to overseas careers can easily buffer against the decline of particular sectors of the economy, and offer more opportunities for development.
And a number of students continue to stay on after they graduate from their universities overseas.
A fact recently reinforced after a coffee meetup an ex-student who left for the UK for a medical degree.
He recently graduated medical school then found a training position in the UK hospital to complete the housemanship.
This comes with a decent salary, a reasonable workload, and a generous grant for choosing to train as a general practitioner as well as housing.
In fact ironically, he wants to do more in over time shifts to develop his skills and earn even more money having too much free time on hand.
Unfortunately, the reverse is not true and it is much harder to gain training positions in the UK if one has an non-EU overseas medical degree.
If you are to look around for people who have completed education in the overseas universities, most if not all list glowing reports of their experiences and how it has positively changed their lives.
Why are you still trying to elbow your way into a local university whilst there are overseas universities willing to throw a red carpet reception for you?