Carry these, worry less

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Carry these, worry less

So, when is your flight to your study abroad country? Soon enough we suppose. You may think you have ample of time, but you could be wrong. Or maybe not. But in any case, it’d be better to prepare a checklist of essentials you’d need, and keep those things ready.

Okay, here we go…



Needless to say, you will need these documents – original and 5-10-15 photocopies of each. Leaving without them, or worse, forgetting them would be a nightmare.

  • Passport
  • Student visa
  • Birth certificate
  • Drivers licence
  • College admission letter
  • Enrolment documents
  • Accommodation contract
  • Health records
  • Medical insurance
  • Emergency contacts



Nothing is possible in the digital age without electronics. You should check and recheck whether or not your electronic items are in a proper working condition. Buying new electronics from study abroad country could be an expensive affair

  • Laptop
  • Charger
  • Adapter – Check your study abroad country’s electric voltage and source an appropriate adapter from India
  • Camera
  • Phone
  • Headphones / Earphones
  • Backup batteries
  • Power banks
  • Flash drive / Pen drive / Hard drive


Clothes & Personal Care Items

Research about the seasons and climate of your study abroad country and pack for every season, every reason. Also, you may want to consider carrying personal care items from India – such as toiletries, lotions, gels, etc. – rather than buying expensive ones at your study abroad country.

  • Shirts & Tee-shirts
  • Jackets
  • Pullovers
  • Dresses
  • Jeans & Cargos
  • Warm clothing
  • Shoes & socks / Sandals / Flip-flops / Sneakers / Heels
  • Carry bags


There could be other items that you may want to carry, or not carry some of the listed items. Whatever the case may be, remember to keep the luggage weight in check.

Bon voyage!

Be SMART about your summer breaks

Smart Summer

Be SMART about your summer breaks

Summer breaks are perhaps the most important months for students studying abroad, pursuing higher education goals. It can be the time to relax and unwind, or it could also be the time to travel and teach. There are no right or wrong ways to spend a summer break, as long as SMART concept is put in place – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely.  

As a thumb rule, you should know what you would like to achieve at the end of the break, and then use the SMART analogy to plan out. These are some examples, although not exhaustive, to help you stimulate your thoughts and plans.

Mindfulness & Relaxation

The sheer amount knowledge absorbed during semesters is copious to say the least. A lot is learnt, processed and put to practice. And it’d begin all over again after the break.

Practicing mindfulness and relaxation greatly enhances brain’s capacity to channelize, internalize and cope up with the yottabytes of information. But mind you, there is a difference between relaxation and lazing around.

Plan the hike you always wanted to take, or try cuisines at the restaurants you fancied but couldn’t spare time to visit. Fond of architecture or art? A visit at iconic places would be a wonderful respite. Take it easy and go with the flow.

Personal Projects

Let’s say you are pursuing masters in economics the U.K. and wanted to submit a white paper about the effects of colonialization, but did not get enough time to pursue this passion. You will have ample of time to achieve your non-academic goals – whether writing a white paper or enrolling as a taste-tester.

It’d be wise to do a bit of research about the process of your personal project few days before the summer break begins. It’d be wiser to collaborate with other like-minded individuals with shared passions. This would lay the foundation for future partnerships and help develop cross-cultural perspectives.


Most of you would choose to travel, and why not. Studying in Europe, for example, gives you access to visit 27 countries. Traveling in the U.S., Canada or any other country while studying gives you the chance to be bewitched by the wonders of northern hemisphere. These opportunities are not to be missed.

Although, can you or would you like to align a secondary objective with traveling? Learning about new cultures? Start a travel vlog? Brainstorm some ideas before you book the tickets. The satisfaction you’ll get by adding a secondary goal to your primary objective – traveling – would be enormous.    

A word of caution. Assuming that you’d simply enjoy the summer break without any planning, relax a bit, do some of this and that, would lead to disappointment. You’d regret not making better use of those invaluable months.

So, plan something specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and on time. Figure out a SMART way to spend your summer break. Good luck.

Studying In Australia – Worth it or not?

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Studying In Australia – Worth it or not?

There are nearly 450,000 international students studying in Australia as of January 2023. Nearly one-fourth of them are Indian students. So then why does this blog’s headline pose a specific question? To help our students understand facts in order to make an informed decision.

Advantages of studying in Australia

  1. Quality Education: Many Australian colleges and universities enjoy top global rankings. Their education is top-class and so is their faculty. The facilities are pro-students and these institutes promote campus recruitments. Everything that a student desires
  2. Scholarship Opportunities: The Australian government has allocated nearly 200-250 million AUS$ for scholarship grants. The grants are awarded based on merits, ranging from 2000 AUS$ to full scholarship. If you want to study abroad in Australia and apply for scholarship, you should be starting your preparations well-in-advance of chosen / upcoming intake
  3. Professional Growth: Australian degrees, especially in Masters programs, hold a lot of value. These are covered under AQF – Australian Qualification Framework – which has a very high international reputation and presence. Studying In Australia can set you off to a high-flying global career
  4. PSW & PR Opportunities: Australia has recently announced up to 6 years post-study work eligibility for some programs. There is a high probability of a permanent residency after successful post-study work experience in Australia.

Disadvantages of studying in Australia

  1. Expensive: Studying in Australia could be more expensive compared to studying France, Germany, Poland, for example. The tuition fees are on a higher side, and so is the cost of living. But in all fairness, the cost could be covered during PSW upon getting a professional opportunity
  2. Travel & Transportation: Australia is down under, literally. Studying in Australia for Indian students means spending that much extra on airfare. They may have to think twice about visiting India during summer breaks.

    Moreover, public transport systems in Australia leave much to be desired. They are expensive and may not cover the entire  stretch. Planning accommodation therefore becomes a crucial aspect of studying in Australia
  3. The Internet: As surprising as it may sound, Australia – despite being a developed nation – does not have great internet connectivity. It could be challenging for students who may require constant and high-speed internet. There could be a way around though – researching about the internet speeds and connectivity issues of the city you’d immigrate for studies
  4. Cultural Issues: Although Australia is a land of many cultures, some Aussies may not be very tolerant towards other ethnicities. Some incidents of racism have been reported. But then such indifferent idiots are found everywhere.

Every country presents its own set of unique opportunities and challenges. As a student, you need to carefully weigh what works in your favour, and then make a choice accordingly. You can also reach out to us to know more about studying in Australia.

Ireland the global ICT powerhouse – What’s in it for Indian students?

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Ireland the global ICT powerhouse – What’s in it for Indian students?

Ireland, unarguably, is the global hub of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. This tech segment accounts for nearly 7% in direct employment and 30% in indirect employment. 13% of Irish GDP is driven by ICT.

The numbers are fancy alright but, what are the benefits for Indian students choosing Ireland for study abroad? Before we answer that, it’d be practical to understand how Ireland rose to be a global tech giant in just over two decades.

Investment in quality education

The future of any society, country and specialty is built on a solid foundation of quality education. Ireland’s education framework – the system, processes, faculties – is the best in Europe and ranks among top-5 in global educational frameworks.

The Irish government realised how important ICT would be in the future, and have invested significant resources since the nineties. Study programs were developed keeping their practical applications at the forefront. They created a skilled workforce required to boost their ICT infrastructure and voila; Ireland is now the biggest exporter of software products in the world.

Over 40% of packaged software and 60% of business application software sold in Europe is produced in Ireland.

Raising the benchmark of educational institutes

Ireland’s globally renowned education system lays a strong emphasis on research and development. This attracts top faculties from across the world, inspiring and preparing international students to excel in their chosen specialty.

The faculties are also encouraged to modernize educational methods, or modify topics – within the permissible framework – in the interest of their students. Such an open and forward-thinking approach has raised the benchmark of Irish colleges and universities. It is no wonder that 8 of 26 Irish universities rank in the global top-100!

Benefits for Indian Students

Bright Indian students choosing to study abroad in Ireland can expect top quality education and great global career opportunities. How so?

  1. Irish educational institutes, as covered earlier, prepare students to take-up real-life professional responsibilities – their study programs are modelled as such
  2. Ireland offers up to 2 years post-study work visa to post-graduates. It’d be easier to get the visa, and open the doors of PR in Ireland if the employment falls under the list of skill shortage or critical skills occupation
  3. Ireland is a headquarter-hub of global tech giants such as Google, Facebook, Dropbox, Hubspot, Apple, Oracle, IBM, Gartner… the list is long, really long. So, obtaining post-study work opportunities should not be a difficult task
  4. Degrees from Ireland are accepted globally. A few years of work experience in Ireland can open doors to global career opportunities. Even otherwise, educational credentials of studying in Ireland could be enough to place you in a global professional environment

The fast growth of ICT has changed socio-economic equations in Ireland. The country envisions to be the world’s largest software products provider at least for two – three decades. Skilled professionals would be sought-after to fulfil such ambitious visions. 

As an Indian student, you’d be in the thick of things should you choose to study in Ireland, if ICT is your academic and career calling.

Positive habits of effective students

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Positive habits of effective students

You may have read or heard about such topics many times before. In all likelihood, your parents too would have frequently pulled you to this subject. As a bright student pursuing academic excellence in one of the top-ranking universities at a top study abroad destination, reading it one more time would do no harm. So here it is…


Habit # 1 – Mind Over Matter

Success in academics, like in any area of life, is not an accident. You already know about it. A lot of hard work and preparation is needed – in not just getting good grades, but understanding and absorbing knowledge – and that needs a strong mind.

An aware student knows that there are plenty of distractions and pursues excellence despite them. An aware student also acknowledges his / her strong and weak points; he / she adds to the strengths and works towards weaknesses. This habit is the foundation of their successes.


Habit # 2 – Eat Healthy, Sleep Plenty

Regular, on-time, sufficient sleep and healthy food habits are the hallmarks of successful students.  They’d go any lengths to keep sickness away and to recharge their batteries. Science has proven that eating regular and healthy meals aids concentration, so does sleeping on-time and enough hours.

These students know their priorities – Instagrams and YouTubes of the world have little or no effect over them. 


Habit # 3 – Learning From Mistakes

The only mistake worthy of regret is one that nothing is learnt from. A bright student is not discouraged by mistakes, rather learns from them and uses them to further his / her cause. This positive attitude goes a long way in shaping the future.

Look at any top academician or successful ‘venturists’ of the day; you will observe that this habit has been the primary source of overall growth and development in every one of them. Sundar Pichai, Indra Nooyi, K. Sivan… The list is long, really long.

Habit # 4 – Asking Questions

Curiosity is a key quality of successful students. It’s like their second nature; their hunger for knowledge is insatiable. They are often the ones inundating professors with questions, and getting the better of them too. 

Not shy of asking wrong questions – in fact there is no concept of a ‘wrong’ question in their mind – curious students are often the ones to transform the world. Heard of APJ Abdul Kalam? Or Swami Vivekananda? Or thousands of other such luminaries?


There are several other qualities that lead to success, such as – being disciplined and organized, setting goals and taking breaks, practicing time management, seeking help when needed. The ones listed above are the top four habits rated by successful students of life. 

AI in learning. Blessing in disguise, or not?

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AI in learning. Blessing in disguise, or not?

The Artificial Intelligence phenomenon has arrived, and it is here to stay. It has already begun to revolutionize models of interactions in sectors such as business, healthcare, manufacturing, and services. And now it is making inroads into education as well.

Any new invention / innovation is bound to ruffle feathers in the beginning – our collective response to AI is no different. Understandably, there are doubts and uncertainties over the use of AI in education, and it needs clarity.

Students pursuing higher education in top international study destinations should especially keep these points – benefits and disadvantages – in mind as the likelihood of AI integration by overseas colleges / universities in study programs is quite high.

Benefits of AI in education

  1. Methodical & Analytical: AI, simply put, is a pre-programmed arrangement of content / information in any given field. Its biggest benefit is that all the knowledge can be easily accessed without the need to scour libraries. This saves time and effort, which results in better investment of time in imbibing the knowledge. AI tools can also help students with analytical skills required during project submissions.
  2. Immersive Learning: Depending on the study program, immersive AI tools – such as Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality – can boost memory and retention of information. Instead of just ‘reading’ or listening to a ‘lecture’, students pursuing STEM education can explore the inner mechanics / finer details of equations. Students pursuing aeronautics or logistics for example can better see larger details up close and personal. Enhanced knowledge absorption is yet another benefit of learning through AI.
  3. Personalized Learning: Every student’s orientation and methods of learning are different. AI is programmed to challenge the learning abilities based on students’ strengths and weaknesses. It comes in quite handy for teachers also, since it is humanly impossible to keep a tab on each and every student. Reports generated by AI on students’ participation and engagement in their study program provides a great assessment tool for teachers.

Disadvantages of AI in education

  1. Impersonal: Students would suffer a lot in long term should the powers that be choose to completely replace teachers and classrooms with AI. Reason? Humans are hard-wired to personal connection. A pre-programmed tool, despite all its intelligence, cannot connect with students the way teachers do, and it definitely cannot demonstrate empathy or be the source of inspiration & guidance that all great teaches are. What could be the outcome of young students learning from AI for long periods without teacher-student interaction, no one knows!
  2. Limitations: A machine-based tool in all probability is incapable of resolving complex and unique problems or situations. That is its biggest limitation. New issues will continue to emerge in almost every sphere of life and in education as societies evolve. A tool that is pre-programmed cannot have inspiration of its own. Therefore, students who are totally dependent on AI would be limited to its uses. This is just one of the many limitations of AI.
  3. Vulnerable: AI cannot identify or differentiate biases. Any ulterior motive can be pre-programmed, algorithms can be used to promote and further ideologies without any transparency whatsoever. This is perhaps the biggest ethical concern that is hotly debated in the education sector. Students must be protected from agendas of all kind.

Educators, policy-makers, social reformists must come together to carefully consider all pros and cons before implementing AI in education. The right thing to do would be to find the right mix of AI and human interactions. And future of students must be at the centre of any policy-making.

P.S.: ChatGPT, Google Cloud Learning Machine, IBM Watson, Cortana and Azure Machine Learning Studio are, as of today, the top-5 AI tools to consider. Whether or not the college / university you are pursuing your study program has integrated AI in their teaching modules, these AI tools could prove to be helpful in your pursuit of academic excellence.

Address ‘food security’ before it turns to instability

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Address ‘food security’ before it turns to instability

It might seem to be a non-issue, but most students we have counselled to their favourite overseas education countries have shared with us the ‘culture shock’ about food and meals in their respective country.

Why so, you may ask.

For one, we Indians have an extensive taste palate. From childhood we are used to a certain flavour and variety in food. Most of us are also used to at least three meals in a day. In France, for example, the concept of breakfast is almost non-existent. At best, the choice is limited to a croissant or a pie. How much of confectioneries can one have, and for how long?

Access to Indian food is another concern faced by most Indian students studying abroad. While there could be a number of Indian restaurants in the vicinity, it may not be possible always and every day to eat outside due to college timings and high cost of eating out.

Interestingly, we Indians, more often than not, prefer to have our meals with company. Family, friends, colleagues. That’s how we are raised. Your roommates may not always be able to join you for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Eating alone for longer periods could make you want to skip meals leading to health issues, lack in focus and onset of mood swings. We do not want that. 

So, what do we do? Plan, plan and plan.

First and foremost, spend some time with your mom in the kitchen – before you fly to your college / university. Learn the basic nutritious recipes that’d take least preparation time. Poha, upma, sabudana khichdi, rice varieties, dal, sabzi, etc. You’d not only stay healthy but also keep homesickness at bay.

Secondly, figure out all about grocery stores in and around the place of your accommodation. You can take advice from the home owner, or even scout for these stores on social media. List down the ingredients available and how much they would cost. If you are sharing space with others, confirm with your roommates about taking turns in preparing meals.

Lastly, enquire with your college / university if they provide meals. At least your breakfast and lunch could be taken well care of.

Not having proper and regular meals will prove to be counterproductive. And you do not want to be falling sick just because of your indifference. Remember, an empty stomach makes the mind barren.

Student Housing – Choose wisely, don’t take a chance

Student Housing

Student Housing – Choose wisely, don’t take a chance

So, you are finally set for higher education in the country and college of your choice. Exciting times, aren’t they? New sights, sounds, people, culture, lifestyle and living. And of course, the prospect of an international career!

Let’s ensure that the excitement isn’t watered down by poor / misinformed choice in selecting student housing.

Here are some important things to bear in mind before making housing selection. You have to live there for many months after all.

Types of Student Housing

On Campus Accommodation

Perhaps one of the cheapest and most sought-after student housing options, on campus accommodation is usually preferred by first-year students who want to get acquainted to the university, locality, country. Although there is little flexibility in choosing the type of room, on campus accommodation can be a great way to meet, greet and live with people across cultures, closer to the university.

Purpose-Build Student Accommodation (PBSA)

Large living complexes built specifically to house the students, PBSAs are quite popular among international students who want to live among other students. They are highly preferred for their facilities such as game-rooms, cultural centre, library, gyms, etc.

PBSAs are also in high-demand, hence, the bookings are usually open only for a short period.

Private / Rented Homestays

As per estimates by leading student housing companies, more than 70% international students opt for rented homestays. Indian students immigrating for higher education specifically in U.K., Ireland, Canada, and U.S. prefer to live in a rented home.

Flexibility of choice, personal space, living closer to preferred community are some of the reasons for their preference. If you also favour opting a private residence, then you must consider all aspects mentioned below before making an informed decision.

Types of Room

Whatever type of housing you choose, confirm the type of room you are selecting. Usually there are three options: Shared room, private room and studio apartment.

Confirm with the university / home owner about the room type – you may request a picture and details of utilities before you get to the next stage of reservation.


You must double and triple check to confirm the access to public and private transport from your housing location to campus. Also, figure out how near or far you’d be from town centre, places of interest, community centres, etc. Lastly, use social medias to figure out the safety quotient of the location.


You may want to live like a queen / king, but can you afford it. Your parents would have drawn a budget for your housing & living expenses; you’d have to source and finalize a space within that budget.

Start early, find the housing options online from the likes of Amber. Share the choices with your parents. Consider every expense head over & above rent, and understand the contract clauses with absolute clarity.

Contract Clarity

What is the duration of contract? Is the rent refundable; and how much of it has to be paid as advance? Is the place furnished? Are the costs of furniture / plumbing / utility repairs covered? Who to contact in case of emergency if the home owner is not available? Can you terminate the contract mid-way; if yes, then what would be the refund policy?

These are some of the many questions that you ought to take into account before signing the contract.

Advance Information

Once you have finalized, selected and paid for your choice of housing option, inform the relevant person/s about your arrival well in advance. There have been instances whereby students had to Air BnB for a few days because they ‘forgot’ to intimate the home owner before arriving!

Finally, a word of advice – you are immigrating to pursue academic excellence, and not for an extended staycation. Choose wisely, live healthy and fulfil your ambitions.

The perks & perils of social media

Perks And Perils Of Social Medias1

The perks & perils of social media

A lot has already been covered about this burning topic. With newer challenges emerging, a lot more needs to be covered, understood and put to practice. Social medias, especially for the younger generation, and more so for bright students with academic pursuits in top international study destinations, could be both – bane and a boon.

No; this will not be session of grandfatherly sermons, but rather matter-of-fact observations about the good and bad the Instagrams, Facebooks and YouTubes of the world.


Undoubtedly, the internet is a wonderful place. It’s an inexhaustible resource of information and knowledge. On almost anything and everything. A couple of smart searches and voila; what you seek appears in front of you.

Social media is no different – there are posts, reels, videos, blogs, stories on almost every topic. It can be put to good use as a research tool for those who are perhaps pursuing let’s say; MBA from a renowned college in U.K., STEM programs in the U.S. or students pursuing ICT in Ireland.


We are sure you know that now even WhatsApp has banking features; so do many other social media platforms. Paying utility bills, making reservation at a restaurant, booking a movie show or tickets for a music festival – convenience offered by social medias is second to none.

A word of caution – Use banking and / or payment functions only through trusted platforms.


Staying away from family for long periods could be an emotional downer. Thanks to the social media though, friends and family get to check your reels and posts, go on a live video call, share experiences. This is one of the biggest perks of digital age – no distance is now long enough.


Another positive aspect of digital apps and tools is engaging oneself in causes – from fundraising to social awareness and everything else in between. A student who may have completed Masters Program in France for example, can donate his / her books as he / she pursues Doctorate. He / she can also seek advise on pooling funds for PhD.

Voices can be raised for saving polar bears and red pandas. Online petitions can be signed to compel authorities to look into child abuse. Just get on your fav social media platform!


The digital age has given a humongous rise to remote education and employment opportunities. Who would have thought that Study-Work-From-Home during COVID and post-COVID era would transform education and professional equations and experiences?

Social media was the saviour during those lockdown days!


Every time you see notifications of your post – likes, shares, comments – your brain releases dopamine, the feel-good chemical associated with reward. You are trapped into believing that getting even more notifications would be even more rewarding.

A harmless post soon becomes habit, a habit turns into compulsive behaviour. You are trapped!


The flip side can also be true. Not getting enough likes and ‘good’ comments on a picture or a video, could be discouraging and lead to negative self-image. Selfie-holics are more vulnerable to this, as many of them link self-worth to their physical appearance.

Social media then becomes a tool for promoting and perpetuating this sort of negative behaviour among others. Sad.


Fear-on-missing-out! No, it is not something that this writer has conjured up from thin air – FOMO is very real, and it affects young and the not-so-young alike.

Checking Instagram and Facebook every few minutes in a desperation to confirm if you’ve missed out on some posts, or likes and comments is a worrying condition that has spread fast like COVID. And there seems to be no cure for this either, except self-restraint.


It is probably the worst outcome of irresponsible social media use. In many instances, cyberbullying has led to suicides.

Online bullies believe they can get away with anything heinous – and they usually do. While it is deplorable, nothing can be done about such idiots; although ignoring them would be the wisest thing to do.

It is true that digital age has transformed the way we live and interact with others. There would be more similar transformations in times to come. How we put these digital tools to use would be totally upon us.

Game on, but hey… For how long?


Game on, but hey… For how long?

The craze of video-mobile gaming continues to reach new heights. With introduction of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR), world’s favourite pastime is now more immersive and realistic than ever.

It wouldn’t be out of place to mention that the gaming industry will cross 4 billion dollars in a couple of years! Younger population contributes nearly two-thirds to this extraordinary number.

That brings us to a pressing question – one that is often posed by worrying parents of young students: Will my child go dumb and dull playing video games? Will gaming affect his / her academic and career pursuits?

These are reasonable concerns. Let’s try to address them objectively.

Gaming is not all gloom and doom. There are obvious benefits, such as:

  1. Enhancement of cognitive functions
  2. Improved hand-eye coordination
  3. Use of logic and problem-solving skills
  4. Prompt decision-making
  5. Understanding benefits of teamwork
  6. An eye-for-detail

The flip side of gaming is also real; it could be disadvantageous too. Here’s how:

  1. Addiction to gaming
  2. Lack of dedicated focus and concentration
  3. Gambling issues
  4. Elevated aggression
  5. Replacing real-world issues
  6. Mental and physical health issues

These benefits or disadvantages are not sacrosanct to every gamer. Gaming, like almost every other pastime, is about taking some time out to do something different.

Moreover, it is often misunderstood that gaming – as a thumb rule – will spoil students. It couldn’t be farther from the truth. A student pursuing higher education – Masters, PhD, etc. – in a top international college can be both – an avid gamer and an academic genius.

‘Rationing’ the time for gaming is probably a solid middle ground. To know when its enough and when to stop could be a solution to the address the drawbacks of gaming.

Some may argue that the disadvantages of gaming far outweigh the benefits. They may be right. But eventually, it all boils down to this – whether an activity becomes an addiction, or not. And that is true for any activity – gaming should not be made a scapegoat.

So, game on to refresh your mind. Then get back to the real world.