One Year Study Abroad
Study in England with the chance of gaining a foreign degree? An opportunity which you cannot refuse.
Most students realize that university study is one way to ensure a better job in the future. At the same time, it is impossible to ignore the fact that today there are more than enough university graduates. That's why a student should try to make him- or herself stand out from future competitors in the job market. How can you do that? Some of the possible ways include study abroad, work experiences, or even simply gaining a foreign degree. And that is exactly the chance which every student at the University of Pardubice now has thanks to our cooperation with the University of Central Lancaster! UCLan offers a countless number of subjects of study, and UPce offers specialization in the area of Intercultural Business Communication. (IBC) Right now I am a participant in the MA program for IBC, and I am going to tell you more about it in the following paragraphs.
How does the program work and what is meant by IBC?
The MA program lasts one year. The student is required to earn 180ECTS, and the program finishes with the preparation of a dissertation or work placement. As a rule each subject is worth 20ECTS. So, it follows logically that a student is required to take only 7 or 8 subjects each year. That is about half of what is required by the University of Pardubice. On the other hand, you shouldn't think that it means that it is easier to study here! The English educational system is oriented towards quality not quantity; the student is able to study a given subject in depth.
Every subject is a mix of an expository part and also a practical part, where, with the help of various group discussions and the solution of case studies, a student can confirm and adopt the acquired knowledge. To fulfil the requirements of a subject, it is necessary to participate in classes and prepare, as a rule, 2 assignments. (essays, research, team projects, exams, and so on). The majority of subjects do not have final exams. To give you an idea of how it works, I was required to take a final exam in two of eight of my chosen subjects. In any case, you should not underestimate individual essays, not only because their quality decides whether you've satisfied the requirements of the subject and also determine your final grade, but most importantly the Lecturers actually read through every word and evaluate your ability to express yourself in writing, as well as the work and its contents. In addition, the Lecturer evaluates the completed assignment for analytical ability and the critical viewpoint on the problem. At the same time, it is necessary to complete each assignment with a minimum of 50%.
IBC is above all oriented towards understanding cultural differences from the standpoint of their use in the context of intercultural/international business and communication. Thanks to that, a student can apply the information and knowledge they have acquired from their studies at UPce, and especially from the Faculty of Economics. In my opinion, the IBC Program is appropriate for students who already have foreign experience (for example, from the Erasmus Program) and who have spent a period of time in another culture, as well as those who would like to work for a transnational company in the future, including companies located outside the Czech Republic. The university itself has the goal of creating a fitting intercultural environment already while you study. It is not unusual for the student sitting next to you to be from a different country. (Right now in the IBC MA there are students from England, Scotland, China, Saudi Arabia, Germany, and also from Nigeria.) Obviously, there is also the university library, which is open 24 hours a day, as well as the Worldwise Learning Centre, where the employees can help you check individual assignments, or give you advice about the most effective way to approach your studies. The study of IBC is enormously helpful because it enables you not only to deepen your professional knowledge but also helps you realize how our culture forms us, and also teaches us to avoid prejudices and perceive other cultures from their point of view. (Which is important not only for international business but also from the standpoint of globalization.)
Students can also choose year-long language courses, after whose completion the student gains a certificate. Choices include languages commonly studied in Central Europe (French, German or Russian) as well as languages less frequently offered (Chinese, Arabic, Japanese). An enormous help for students is the possibility to use interactive instruction of languages via the program Rosetta Stone, which is accessible in the Worldwise Centre, as well as the library. I mention the study of foreign languages because I personally regard the language choices made available as well the organization of studies at UCLan as far above average in quality.
Costs of Study
You probably suspect that you have to pay to study in England. The IBC MA costs around 5000£ for the academic year. It is essential to mention that UPce, in the framework of the bilateral contract guarantees a scholarship of a minimum amount of 1.000£ or higher – subject to negotiation. At the present time, there are moves toward increasing this financial aid from the scholarship fund of the Economic Faculty, and UCLan as well will furnish four students from Europe a scholarship amounting to as much as 2,000£. I personally applied for this higher scholarship at UCLan and I was successful. It was necessary to prepare the requested task and on the basis of the student's work, there was a decision about the additional increase in the individual stipend from 1,000£ to 2,000£. Most of all, it appears that next year it will be possible within the framework of the MA study to request an interest-free government loan.
Student Life and Its Variety
And finally, I'd like to mention possibilities you have as a student at UCLan. In the first place, there is the Student's Union which organizes the most varied events and workshops, as well as generally providing useful information. Naturally, there is also the ESN Society for exchange students, which meets regularly and plans group events and trips. Another favourite in the city of Preston is night life—after all, it is a city of students! There is no lack of clubs or discotheques—all full of life. It isn't necessary to go far for amusement. On the contrary, right on the university campus, you can visit the University Club 53 Degrees.
In summary, it is emphatically true that today students have many possibilities; but, you have to grab the bull by the horns—as they say. Undoubtedly every student should experience study abroad, something which you will remember for many years. But, most of all, your yearlong study at UCLan will make you stand out from your competitors in the job market. Potential employers and the world at large will recognize that you are independent and are able to manage and adjust to new conditions. You will stand out as a person who is not afraid to face the challenges which stand before you. Don't be afraid to say “YES” to study at UCL and learn more about this opportunity at the Language Centre of UPce.
Martina Guttenová, FEA student