Monthly Archives: August 2016

Environmental Research Innovation Of Student

Our future well-being as people on this planet depends critically on the well-being of the natural systems around us. And while policy development and management are certainly important factors in protecting clean air, water, and other natural resources, another factor also comes into play: scientific knowledge.

With climate change and global sustainability challenges looming ahead, environmental research innovation will play a critical role in helping the world’s biological systems, communities and industries adapt, prevent further loss, and survive in a way beneficial to human life.

As with the important work coming out of Umeå, universities in all corners of the planet are leading the charge when it comes to addressing the world’s most topical environmental issues. Scientists and researchers not only play a critical role in identifying the concerns which face society both now and in the future, but also in developing interventions to mitigate human impacts.

The Field of Environmental Research

With more challenges facing the world than ever before, the need for solutions is increasingly paramount. The task is anything but simple: not only are current consequences difficult to reverse, but doing so also involves acknowledging and integrating a broad range of social, economic and political contexts.

Accordingly, degrees in environmental research cover equally dynamic topic, including the geological, biological and chemical processes which impact the environment, as well as how they come into play in the world around us (climate change, pollution control, population dynamics, ecosystems and biodiversity, etc.). Students and researchers also have plenty of opportunities to practice — both inside the lab and out in the field.

Why Environmental Research May Be Right For You

Image courtesy of Umeå Univeristy

All academic degrees offer the opportunity to expand your knowledge and make a difference. However, there’s arguably no path more meaningful at this current juncture in human history than environmental studies.

While the challenges are profound, so are the opportunities: environmental research advancements are happening every day at lightning speed. As a student and researcher in this field, you’ll have plenty of space to innovate — in academia or in another environment-related sector. Because while environmental research is comparatively new as a dedicated field of study, it is at the top of the list when it comes to disciplines with relevant and topical real-world applications. And as the recent news from Sweden demonstrates, you don’t have to wait to graduate to start making a difference. Research opportunities exist for students at all levels which allow them to get their hands dirty while getting the planet clean.

Image courtesy of Umeå Tomoya Suzuki

Not to mention that these issues aren’t going away anytime soon. The takeaway for today’s career-minded students? There are plenty of jobs to be found. In fact, the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook reveals that jobs for environmental scientists and specialists have a projected growth rate of 15 percent for the years between 2012 and 2022 — easily outpacing the average for all professions.

One final morsel of food for thought? American Professor of Environmental Science and Policy Rob Sanford once pointed out that, “From an environmental standpoint, the planet doesn’t care if humans are here or not.”  In other words, while the concept of “saving the planet” may be somewhat misguided when viewed through this lens, there’s another very real imperative for today’s environmental researchers: to make our lives more sustainable not just as an overarching concept, but also in terms of our own personal ideals, priorities, and how we choose to live our lives.

Collegiate Traditions Around the World

Screaming Swedes

While listening to the eight-minute long collective howling of 2,000 university students may not be part of your bedtime ritual, it is exactly that for many Swedes thanks to a local university tradition. While no one knows exactly how or why the phenomenon started, some attribute it to the need to release exam-related pressure.

So what happens exactly? Every night when the clock strikes 10pm, Swedish students open their windows or steps out onto roofs and balconies to send forth roars into the night. And while this tradition is believed to have started in the university town of Flogsta, it has since spread to Lund, Linköping and Stockholm.

The takeaway for students visitors to Sweden? In addition to academic enrichment for your brain, your pipes will also get a workout. Early-to-bed, early-to-rise types, however, may want to invest in a pair of earplugs.

A Different Kind of “Fancy Dress” in Finland

Coveralls, also called “boiler suits”, may be a hit on the latest red carpets and fashion runways, but college students in Finland have been working this look at parties for more than half a century. Back in the 1960s, Finnish engineering students donned this type of protective safety clothing before conducting on-site visits. Over time, this practice evolved to be more fun than functional.

Today, frolicking students wear different colored coveralls to signify affiliations with certain fields of study or organizations. And because they’re a form of expression, they come in a broad range of fanciful colors and styles. Additionally, they’re subject to further decoration at the whim of student wearers over their four years of use.

How popular are these boiler suits? Many student organizations sell them to incoming freshman! And while Finland is best known for this tradition, is also popular in Canada and Sweden.

India’s Peculiar Patchwork

India may produce a significant portion of the world’s most sought-after future workforce members, but its students are not all work and no play. In fact, India’s universities are home to a number of different collegiate traditions. Want to improve your sexual prospects? Pay homage to the “Virgin Tree.” Safeguard yourself from failing out of school? Don’t sit on the infamous Arrear stone.

And then there’s that whole “mosquito bat dance” thing in which students have turned warding off the pesky local insects into a dance move, thereby giving whole new meaning to the expression, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”

The list of Indian college campus traditions goes on and on. In other words, if India is your international study destination, be prepared to work, but to play, too.

The U.S.: No Stranger to Strange Traditions

It’s not exactly surprising that the U.S. would have a “go big or go home” attitude when it comes to student traditions.  P ractically every one of its more than 5,000 colleges and universities has student traditions of its own, although they vary in terms of level of extremity…and legality. (Here’s a hint: many of them involve naked running through quads, dorms, streets and other campus byways.)

So what are American students up to these days? From stealing cemetery sod from sports rivals and rubbing various body parts of statues for good luck to bedecking campus trees with shoes and building and parading dragon structures around campus, American students keep themselves quite busy keeping up with local traditions. Or what about an entire day dedicated to celebrating nitrogen or an entire night committed to preventing other students from studying for their infamously difficult organic chemistry exams? And did we mention the “quiet clubbing” phenomenon in which students wear wireless headphones to dance the night away in a silent room?

One thing to keep in mind: just as visiting the U.S. feels very different depending on your specific destination, so do these traditions vary widely from campus to campus.

Study in France Guide

images-50With a reasonable cost of living, exceptional geographic location with easy access to both the ocean and the mountains; and multiple top-ranked universities, it’s no surprise that France’s fourth biggest city — dubbed the “Pink City” for its brick-clay colors — is attractive to so many international students.

An added bonus for history buffs?  Toulouse is home to one of the world’s oldest university systems, dating all the way back to the 13th century. And while all of Toulouse’s academic offerings are strong, aerospace enthusiasts have particular incentive to visit: it considered by many to be the epicenter of the European aerospace industry. Indeed, you will find schools such as the National School for Civil Aviation, ENAC, as weel as Polytechnique, INP Toulouse.

Read more about studying in Toulouse.

  2. Grenoble

A frequent contender alongside Toulouse as a top international French study destination, Grenoble’s scenery offers enough incentive on is own. Nestled at the base of the French Alps, this alpine city is extraordinarily beautiful with sweeping views of the surrounding mountains, and yet with easy access to other premiere destinations, including Paris, Italy and Switzerland. Because of its location, Grenoble also draws a large number of international faculty and staff — making for a particularly diverse academic community.

Widely considered a terrific place to learn French, Grenoble is also known for it welcoming people, bustling city center, and fine outdoor activities. (Skiers, hikers and bikers will all find plenty to do here.)

Read more about studying in Grenoble.

  3. Lille

While lacking the same buzz as French cities like Paris, Toulouse and Grenoble, Lille was recently declared to be “France’s most underrated city.” Located in France’s northern region, Lille has also earned the distinction of being home to the country’s most cheerful people. That might have something to do its unbeatable location, which grants residents access to Brussels in 35 minutes, Paris in an hour, and London in under an hour and a half.

Factor in Lille’s vibrant culture known for its extraordinary architecture and the world-famous Palais des Beaux-Arts museum, and it’s no surprise that more international students are discovering this oft-overlooked destination.

 Read more about studying in Lille.

4. Bordeaux

Located in France’s stunning Aquitaine region, Bordeaux — a UNESCO world heritage site — has been described as “an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble.”  And while wine may be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of this well-known region, the local libations are just one thing on a very long list of reasons to study in Bordeaux. A strong public transportation system, status as a player on the European technology scene, close proximity to sunny beaches, and popular football and rugby teams are just a few more of Bordeaux’s appeals.

And then there’s Bordeaux’s academic offerings. A commitment to cutting-edge research, multidisciplinary study programs, and exceptional faculty and staff combine to make Bordeaux a prestigious higher education destination. Bordeaux’s commitment to welcoming foreign students is demonstrated by its breadth and depth of international study programs as well as more than 250 partnerships with universities across the globe.

Which One do You Choose One Year or Two Year Program

While a bachelor’s degree demonstrates proficiency in an academic area, a master’s degree signifies expertise. Think expertise can’t be attained in a single year? Think again. While there’s no arguing that one-year master’s degrees are intensive, in many cases they’re also the quickest path to reaching your goals. So what are the specific benefits of one-year master’s degree programs?

1. They’re Employment-Friendly

If you’re already a member of the workforce, taking two years off for graduate school can seem like a lengthy detour. One year, however, affords you the same opportunity for advancing your career without missing two years of working. In some cases, your employer may even be willing to hold your job while you’re gone, the chances of which are much less likely for two-year programs.

2. They’re Cost-Friendly

There are many reasons to get a master’s degree. That said, they’re also expensive, making them a difficult sell when it’s impossible to definitively quantify ROI. So what’s a master’s degree-minded, budget-conscious prospective student to do? One-year master’s degree programs offer appealing middle-ground: all of the advantages of an advanced degree at a fraction of the cost.

3. They Have Transformative Potential for Your Resume

Master’s degrees can be an invaluable differentiator in a crowded and competitive job market. While adding skills, job responsibilities and other talents add appeal to your resume, a master’s degree is more than a mere line item. Rather, it has the power to transform your candidacy. When time is of the essence, there’s no more efficient way to accomplish this goal than by enrolling in a one-year master’s degree program.

By now this all sounds pretty good, right? But before you sign on, it’s also important to keep the downsides of one-year master’s degree programs in mind, including the following:

1. They Offer Specialized Knowledge, But In a Hurry

Even if it was possible for a one-year master’s degree to convey as much knowledge and expertise as a two-year program, the pace will be significantly faster. For some students, this means taking less material in; for other, it leads to a much more demanding study environment. Conversely, a two-year master’s degree program gives you the time to thoroughly cover all materials in a less stressful setting.

2. Fewer Networking Opportunities

The connections you make in graduate school will stay with your throughout your life. Attending grad school for just one year shortens the time you’ll have to make and develop these connections. A shorter period of study can also impact your future references: will your teachers get to know you and your work well enough to speak on your behalf in the future?

The Two-Year Master’s Degree Program

While a two-year master’s degree covers the same material as a one-year program, it does so over an extended period of time. Which begs the question: why would you opt to spend more time and money for what is essentially the same thing? Well, we’ve got a few reasons that make two-year master’s degree programs a good bet, including the following pros:

1. They’re a Smart Use of Time

The job market is dynamic, and won’t always be in your favor. In times when the job market is unstable, a two-year master’s degree program offers a promising way to strengthen your candidacy during the off time. Not to mention that when you’ve completed your degree and the job market has (hopefully) rebounded, you’ll be positioned for an even better job.

2. They Maximize Learning

If you’re truly looking to increase your expertise in a particular area, then cramming all of that learning into one year can be a challenge. A two-year program, meanwhile, offers ample opportunity to learn everything you want to learn — not just in terms of your future career, but also in terms of your personal enrichment. While one-year programs may only cover the bare essentials, two-year programs offer the chance to delve into electives, too.

3. They’re Ph.D.-Friendly

If you’re considering entering a Ph.D. program at some point, a two-year master’s program best positions you for acceptance. Not only will you enter the pool of candidates with demonstrated expertise and commitment to the discipline beyond what you’d get in a one–year program, but you’ll also have time to make real connections and build relationships with professors who can write stellar references for you when the time comes.

But two-year master’s degree programs, aren’t the clear victor, either. Here are the cons associated with these longer degrees:

1. They’re Expensive

Between tuition and living expenses, a two-year master’s degree program is a much more significant financial investment. Not only that, but you’ll also be forfeiting your real-world salary for two full years instead of one, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll recoup those costs.

2. They Mean a Larger Employment Gap

While employers don’t typically view time off from the workforce for academic studies as a bad thing, stepping away from your career path for two full years can be a somewhat frightening concept. Will you miss chances for advancement while you’re gone? Is it really worth it? With one-year programs, these concerns aren’t as much of a factor.