Think outside the box, think UK
By Eric Huang, Supplement Writer
October 22, 2011, 2:48 pm TWN
The value of pursuing higher education offers the experience of strengthening a student's critical thinking. The United Kingdom, in particular, is a good destination for students to learn to think outside the box.
According to Alison Devine, director of the British Council Taipei (英國文化協會), a UK education helps students to "broaden their horizons." A great benefit of studying in the UK is that "the UK's cultural diversity makes it a really enriching experience."
"The United Kingdom is four countries in one — England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The UK enjoys a [proud] tradition of innovation … and the quality of its education is assured by various mechanisms," Devine told The China Post.
The British learning philosophy is different from many education systems in that a UK education encourages students to question assumptions, to think critically, to reflect and become creative, independent thinkers.
Some international students may find the idea of challenging existing theories initially daunting, but reflective thinking encourages students to intellectually process the information they gather rather than "simply regurgitate the textbooks," she added.
While other Western countries, including the United States, share the same education philosophy, Devine noted that "the traditions and history of the UK provide a unique richness alongside great creativity."
"The fact that [the UK] is the home of the English language, campuses are very international and universities are highly experienced in catering to overseas students makes study in the UK very appealing," she said.
"Quality is also key in attracting students," she added. "It is an outstanding benefit of studying in the UK."
Furthermore, time is precious and the UK education system offers a one-year master's program that is often cheaper than the two-year programs offered in other English-speaking countries.
According to students who have studied in both the UK and the U.S., the friendliness and warm British culture enriched their experience of studying and living abroad. Indeed, many other counties are now learning from the UK's quality standards and experience in attracting overseas students.
Taiwanese students and employers agree that British qualifications are recognized and respected throughout the world. According to Devine, employers value a British education, as it demonstrates that the graduates are capable of independent thought and self-discipline, used to conducting and analyzing their own research, and able to connect creative ideas and innovation with the real world. "A UK education lets employers know that you can make a real contribution to their company or organization" and provides a "solid foundation" to "build your future, boost your career and improve your prospects for a better salary."