When it comes to studying nowadays, there’s a world of choice so we asked Global Connection coach Mirjam Dikken how expat partners can narrow the field to make a decision.
What’s the ultimate purpose?
“It might sound obvious but consider your goal straightaway,” says Mirjam. “Are you looking to build a new, portable career? Are you preparing to re-enter the job market at home after this assignment? Or are you pursuing interests for the pleasure of learning?” In other words, first identify your purpose, then seek out a suitable course.
Consider your budget
Next big question: what’s your budget? Mirjam advises checking Coursera and EdX, two large (and growing) online education platforms that connect students with respected institutes and universities. They often offer good value (and sometimes free) courses. “Graduates can also connect with former universities as alumni membership might entitle you to reduced rates or waived fees,” adds Mirjam.
The lure of an MBA
“Generally speaking, with academic courses, if you don’t need a certificate (i.e. you just need the skills / knowledge), you might find a course that is free,” says Mirjam, who adds that when it comes to MBAs, expat partners need to make sure it is really the right path as it’s a significant investment (both in terms of time and money).
“If you’re not sure what course would add value to your resume, use LinkedIn to seek out leaders in the industry you’d like to join (or re-join). Either check their page to see what courses / qualifications they have done or, if you connect with them, ask what they would recommend,” says Mirjam, who adds you can also assess the quality of courses by reading online reviews.
Location, location, location
“If you’re going to be learning online, consider changing your location in Google settings when searching for universities. Otherwise the algorithm will show mostly results in your region,” says Mirjam, who adds that if you do want to enrol with a university in another continent, make sure you are okay with the time zone difference! In general, you should also be clear on how much time you can feasibly commit to your studies week to week.
Last, but definitely not least, Mirjam stresses that the course / field of research should truly interest you! “If it doesn’t, don’t do it!” she says. “It will be extremely hard to complete a course that doesn’t really interest you.”
This article was originally published for the thousands of expat partners that Global Connection supports around the globe. It is reproduced here in its original form.