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5 Books For Students To Read Before Graduating

If you enjoy reading, you’ll love university. It’s where you’ll learn the importance and power of thinking, knowledge, and education. Learning to think critically about what you read is a key skill that you’ll develop during your time as a student, and it’s a great skill to have for life. Here are some of our favourite books about the power of knowledge and understanding your place in the world. They’re our top books for students to read before they graduate.

1. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury wanted readers to understand the importance of reading and thinking. One of his quotes that I think sums up much of what he was saying is, “You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” Through the novel, he asserts that passive lifestyles consumed with modern conveniences such as TVs and cars can erode culture, critical thinking, emotional fulfilment, and happiness. Find out more.

2. Lord of the Flies – William Golding

What happens when a group of young schoolboys are stranded on an island? Chaos. Golding wants to teach his readers that thinking, laws, and culture are what separate us from our animalistic tribalistic instincts. Education and knowledge allow a healthy and happy society to function. Find out more.

3. This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay

The most recent book on this list, Adam Kay’s book is a collection of notes secretly taken during his time as a junior doctor. The reason why this book is important is that it gives an amazing insight into medical school, the workings of the NHS, and how doctors are not trained to deal with the emotional side of hospital life. Find out more.

4. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

The entire novel describes a dystopia in which intimate relationships, the ability to choose one’s destiny, and the importance of family are strictly opposed. In Huxley’s mind, however, these three principles are highly regarded as necessary for a meaningful and fulfilling existence. Huxley has a humanistic, deep and enlightened view of how society should be, and of what constitutes true happiness. Every student needs to read this book and explore the question of whether it is more important to accept things as they have always been or to fight for the things that will make you happy. Find out more.

5. This Side of Paradise – F. Scott Fitzgerald

If the author’s name sounds familiar to you, it is probably because you heard of his famous novel ‘The Great Gatsby’. One of the books that every single college student should make a point of reading before they graduate is ‘This Side of Paradise’. The classic novel is witty and romantic as it tells the story of a Princeton student who becomes disillusioned with life after graduation. It’s hard to tell whether Amory learns more from his life inside of school or his life outside of it. Find out more.

USA – Essential Guide for International Students

General Information

Currency: United States Dollar (USD) – this is approx. 1.26USD to every 1GBP
National language: English
Geography: Made up of 50 states and various territories
Time in Capital City: GMT -4
Climate: the USA is so huge so there are frozen wastelands, scorching deserts, non-stop rain or perfect sun depending on where you go.
Population: 327 million

Annual Costs (approx.):

  • University Cost (USD): $24,914
  • Living Costs (USD): $11,658
  • Total Cost (USD): $36,564

Top Universities:

Click on the University name to be taken to their website.

  1. Princeton University, NJ
  2. Harvard University, MA
  3. Columbia University, NY
  4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), MA
  5. The University of Chicago, IL
  6. Yale University, CT
  7. Stanford University, CA
  8. Duke University, NC
  9. The University of Pennsylvania, PA
  10. John Hopkins University, MD

Applying to Universities and Visas

Most universities in the US require foreign applicants to take an English as a second language test, such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), these are to be completed around a year before you study.

For all other universities, the application deadline is often in January – seven months before you intend to start university.

There are three types of visas for international students in the US: F1 for academic studies; J1 for practical training not available in your home country; and M1 for vocational studies.

Things You HAVE To Do:

  • Route 66 – the most famous and iconic road trip in the entire world. Route 66 takes around 2 weeks to do, including rests. It takes you from Chicago to LA, and you will see some amazing sites such as the painted desert and even a meteor crater!
  • Statue of Liberty – no trip to America would be complete without a trip to Lady Liberty herself. You can get a boat ride around the statue to see her in all of her glory.
  • Disneyland Florida – the most magical place on Earth, Disneyland does not disappoint. Fun for all the family, fun activities, and beautiful Floridian weather.
  • Hollywood sign – an absolute icon, the Hollywood sign is a must see. There is a beautiful hike you can go up to the sign, and you get an excellent view of tinsel town from the top.
  • Yellowstone National Park – or any of America’s national parks. They boast some of the most stunning scenery in the entire world. Gorgeous trails, amazing views, and endless wildlife.

Quick tips:

  • 911 is the emergency number in the US
  • Tipping is required and is seen as rude not to do it. 15-20% is the standard for tipping in restaurants.
  • Make sure you have health and travel insurance before your visit – health care costs are some of the highest in the world here.
  • The prices shown for items in shops are excluding the tax, so estimate that your item will cost 10% more than it appears
  • The US is one of only a few countries to still use the Imperial system. So, think of height in feet, distance in miles, the temperature in Fahrenheit, and weight in pounds

Useful Links

Top Free Apps for Students

Be it eating, sleeping or studying, we’re always looking for ways to make our time as a student quicker, easier and more interesting. Luckily we’ve found the perfect list of apps for students.

Alarmy

A lot of students struggle to wake up for their early morning lectures at the best of times, and this is only made harder when battling against jetlag. Alarmy is a free app that forces you to wake up with challenges. Your alarm will not turn off unless you solve a maths puzzle, shake your phone 40 times, take a picture of your sink, the list goes on. Select your challenge, set your alarm. The idea is that by the time you have completed your challenge you will not be feeling super sleepy anymore.

Once you turn your alarm off, Alarmy opens a dashboard where you can read your daily horoscope, read the news, and see the weather for the day. This is such a fantastic free app and we think that every single student should download it. Find out more.

Google Translate

Everyone knows about Google Translate, but do they know what it has become. Instead of just typing in what you want to say, you can speak or handwrite. There is a conversation mode specifically designed for chatting to someone, and it saves what you say so that you can look back over the conversation. You can save set phrases and translations to use offline. Find out more.

Tasty

Tasty is an app created by Buzzfeed, and it is the best recipe app out there. There are thousands of recipes, which can be searched by diet (vegan, gluten-free, etc) and difficulty. There are very clear step-by-step instructions, with overhead videos to make it even more simple! There is something on there for everyone; from recipes for beginners to Michelin-star chefs showing off their recipes for those who want to develop their skills. Find out more.

DuoLingo

Duolingo makes learning a language fun and simple. It is a free app, which has an abundance of languages to choose from. It has games and rewards! It jumps between testing your reading, speaking, and listening skills in order to keep it interesting and help you become a well-rounded learner. You can have more than one language on the go! Find out more.

SoundNote

This is only available for iPad, but we had to put it on the list as it is soooo helpful! You can record the whole lecture, take notes as you go, and draw diagrams. These are perfect for revising as you will never miss something important again! Find out more.

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5 More Must-have Apps for International Students

Australia – Essential Guide for International Students

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International students researching their options for study are faced with numerous – often confusing – options and factors to consider. Is the climate right for me? Do I want to live in a Central Business District or a coastal area? Which territory do I want to study in – Western Australia, Queensland or even the Australian Capital Territory? We’re here to help you answer such questions, and ensure that the process of choosing a path for study is smoother and more intuitive for students, parents and counsellors alike.

This guide will prepare all international students for living and learning in Australia. Find out everything you need to know about studying down under such as living costs, student visas, top universities, things to do and much more. Let’s start with the basics.

General Information

Currency: Australian Dollar (AUD) (1.45 AUD to every 1 USD)

Language: English

Capital: Canberra

Population: 25,399,300

Geography: South of East Asia

Annual Costs (approx.)

Study Australia predicts that your 12-month costs will be:

Undergraduate Bachelor Degree (AUD): 20,000 – 45,000

Postgraduate Masters Degree (AUD): 22,000 – 50,000

Cost of Living (AUD): 21,041

Total (USD): 42,093

Want to know more? Use this Cost of Living Calculator to work out how much money you’ll need for your accommodation, transport, food and lifestyle.

Top Universities

According to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022, these are the top 5 universities in Australia.

  1. University of Melbourne – Melbourne
  2. = Australian National University – Canberra
  3. = The University of Queensland – Brisbane
  4. Monash University – Melbourne
  5. University of Sydney – Sydney

Visas

If you want to visit Australia to explore or attend a university Open Day, you will need a visitor visa. This will allow you to look around your chosen universities and get a proper feel for what it’s like to live and learn in Australia. This is also an excellent opportunity to look for housing or visit different neighbourhoods to see what your options are for accommodation.

Once you apply for a place at university and are accepted onto a course, you can apply for a Subclass 500 Student Visa. This visa costs AUD630 and will allow you to study in Australia for the duration of your course, up to five years. It also allows you to work alongside your studies for a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight. To explore your options and for more information, visit the Australian Government website

Things you HAVE to do

  • Great Barrier Reef – Rent a scuba diving kit and prepare to be amazed by the Great Barrier Reef. It is insanely beautiful, vast, varied, and totally alien to anything else you would have ever seen. The perfect activity to do on your own or go exploring with your new friends.
  • The Great Ocean Road, Victoria – The road trip of a lifetime. Rent a car and drive along this 150-mile stretch. It’s a very popular activity and a must-do for any tourist hoping to make the most of their time in Australia.
  • Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory – Australia is known for its unique and amazing wildlife. Kakadu National Park is the home to so many different kinds of birds and reptiles found solely in Australia and the tours are very highly rated.
  • Red Centre, Northern Territory – The backdrop to so many Hollywood blockbusters, the Red centre embodies that classic Aussie outback. Let out your inner Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and take a hike around the beautiful red sands and rocks.
  • Bondi Beach – One of the world’s most famous beaches, and the epicentre of surfboarding. A beautiful beach surrounded by quiet secluded coves, white silky sand and clear blue sea.
  • Sydney Harbour Bridge, New South Wales – Climb over the bridge for a fantastic view of one of the most iconic cities in the world. Going over at night promises a breathtaking view of the city with a light show.

Useful links:

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Why Study Marine Biology in Australia?

With the Great Barrier Reef on your doorstep and hundreds of opportunities to conduct your own marine research, Australia is one of the most exciting places to study marine biology. 

Why study Marine Biology? 

Marine biology (or marine science) is the study of aquatic life – the animals, plants and microorganisms that are found in our oceans. 

We can tell a lot about our world from what happens underwater. As a marine biology student, you’ll explore the impact of climate change on marine life such as rising water temperatures and rising sea levels. You’ll also study the impact of human actions on our sea life, such as overfishing and plastic pollution. 

By doing your own research, you can come up with new ways for us to protect our oceans and help to reverse the effects of climate change. This is a course for those who want to change the world. 

Why study Marine Biology in Australia?

On-campus courses

Australia has the benefit of being surrounded entirely by sea, and so there will be plenty of opportunities for hands-on learning. You’ll join a large community of students and academics from around the world that are conducting world-leading research. In Australia, you won’t be restricted to learning in a classroom. You can explore your course hands-on through regular diving trips and research cruises. 

Great Barrier Reef

Australia is home to the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest living thing! It’s 2,300km long and is made up of thousands of reefs and hundreds of islands. Home to more than 1,500 species of fish, 215 species of birds and 6 species of turtles, it’s the perfect place to live and learn about marine life. The closest state to the Great Barrier Reef is Queensland, so look into studying here if you’re particularly interested in diving. 

Save the turtles

Australia is home to many Turtle rescue centres. Here, turtles that are sick and hurt are taken care of until they are fit enough to return to the sea. This is an excellent opportunity to find volunteer work alongside your studies and get experience working with marine animals. 

Australia is the epicentre of Marine Biology

Australia boasts some of the world’s best marine biology courses. It’s also home to some of the biggest employment opportunities in the world. According to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022, the best universities in Australia for geology, environmental, earth and marine sciences are:

  1. Australian National University
  2. University of Melbourne
  3. UNSW Sydney
  4. The University of Queensland
  5. Monash University
  6. University of Sydney
  7. University of Western Australia
  8. University of Adelaide
  9. University of Wollongong
  10. Curtin University

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Why Study Politics in the UK?

The UK has one of the longest and richest political histories on the planet, and so it is easy to see why there has always been a strong amount of students studying Politics degrees there. With Brexit and its many complexities, British Politics remains in the public eye.

Politics is drastically rising in popularity and awareness amongst young people. This is largely due to social media and the ability to share information. Young people are becoming more informed about social injustice, and so turn to politics to help change the world they live in. Voter turnout is higher than it has even been before within the younger demographics, with the UK leading the way.

What are the best UK Universities to study Politics?

This is the list of the top ten Universities for Politics, according to the Guardian University Guide 2021.

  1. University of St Andrews, Scotland
  2. University of Oxford, England
  3. University of Cambridge, England
  4. London School of Economics, England
  5. King’s College London, England
  6. University of Warwick, England
  7. University of Bath, England
  8. Durham University, England
  9. Canterbury Christ Church University, England
  10. Aberystwyth University, Wales

What qualifications do I need to study Politics in the UK?

  • Typical International Baccalaureate requirements: 34 points
  • Typical A-Level requirements: ABB
  • Typical IELTS requirements: 6.5 overall

We had an interview with Aaron Duncan, a recent Politics and International Student, about why you should study Politics in the UK.

Tell us a little about yourself

“My name is Aaron Duncan, and I have just graduated my Politics and International Relations joint honours at the University of Sussex. I have recently undertaken full-time employment as a Senior Operations Resourcer at a tech company in London, in addition to working with a UK political party.”

Aaron Duncan, Politics and International Relations graduate, University of Sussex

Why did you choose to study Politics?

“I picked Politics as I want to leave my mark on the world. Politics shapes everything from health and science, to business and trade, to civil rights, and power relations. I wanted to gain perspectives from others, as well as enrich my own understanding of how and why the world works as it does. As a young adult, the decisions made by the government of today will affect my life tomorrow. There is nothing I find more exciting than to play my part in the momentous changes to come; both domestically as well as internationally.”

Why would you recommend studying Politics in the UK?

“British politics is the most interesting to study regardless of your background, age, or gender. Studying politics in the UK offers incentives that are simply not available in other countries. It’s rich political history provided by controversial leaders (such as Thatcher, Churchill, Blair, and even May) not only gives one the chance to appreciate the changes the UK has endowed onto the world but how it has also provided global political and social norms in doing so. The UK sets the precedent in terms of how the world now views socio-democratic values. For example, Brexit was a decision never seen in political history. This offers those studying Politics in the UK, such as myself, perhaps the most unique opportunity to analyse, debate, and forecast such an event first-hand.”

What experience do you have with Political work experience in the UK?

“The majority of my political work experience comes from working with UK political parties and local councils. Experience within UK Politics is as accessible as you make it. However, planning your career paths within this area is possibly the most important aspect. In other words, think of your end goal and work backwards- and start volunteering! That’s the key to getting your foot in the door of the field.”

Careers in Politics range from the local, national, and international government. As well as a wide range of other professions as well as teaching, media, advising, finance, and banking.

If you’re interested in studying politics in the UK and would like to know more, visit Study International UK for a free consultation.

Enjoyed this article? Check out our other Arts and Humanities subject guides.

Top Cities in Europe for International Students to Visit

One of the greatest things about studying in Europe, especially in continental Europe, is that it is so easy to travel between countries. Yet, it can be hard to know where to start, and where is particularly good for students. Well, worry not as this list will give you all the information you need.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam is the beautiful capital city of the Netherlands. It is absolutely covered by canals, and so you can get some fantastic (and cheap) canal tours! Have fun exploring the red light district, grab yourself a freshly made stroopwaffle, or hire a bike and cycle around Vondelpark. It is the perfect weekend getaway for students.

London, England

Though it isn’t continental, no trip to Europe would be complete without visiting London. Afternoon tea on the Shard, a wander around Borough market, and selfie in front of Buckingham Palace cannot go amiss. Discover the beautiful parks hidden in the city, and try to navigate the complex Underground!

Paris, France

Paris is not as expensive as you may think! it is not all about the Eiffel Tower; why not pop in to see the Mona Lisa at the Lourve, or hear the bells at Norte Dame, or snack on delicious macarons in a cafe overlooking the river Seine. I recommend booking your tickets to the attractions ahead of time as it can get very busy!

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is becoming one of the most popular destinations for students, and it is easy to see why. It is a party city, very popular with stag parties (and not to mention it has some of the best and cheapest beer in Europe!) For those who are more into the cultural side of Europe, Prague has an excellent selection of art galleries and museums- not to mention some gorgeous bridges!

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest is a fantastic country to visit for you history buffs out there. It has some truly provoking WWII exhibits, famous music halls, and beautiful gothic architecture. And if you get tired of walking around museums all day, why not relax in the evening in the famous Szechenyi thermal baths?

Berlin, Germany

Berlin is the epicentre of innovative modern art, and world-famous beer- what more could a student want? With thought-provoking WWII displays, museums detailing Germany’s rich history, and fantastic food Berlin is certainly a student favourite.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is probably the only destination on the list to visit if you want guaranteed good weather. It has amazing cathedrals and museums, and a beautiful beach to sunbathe when you feel like doing nothing. Barcelona is famous for being a party city, so don’t expect a quiet night!

Multiculturalism at University – Why It Matters

One of the benefits of studying at a university or college is learning in a classroom with students from all over the world. This can bring challenges but also many benefits to you, both personally and professionally. Let’s take a deeper look at multiculturalism at university and why it’s so important.

Language

Studying at university, whether in your home country or abroad, is a fantastic opportunity to make friends that speak different languages. With a multicultural friendship group, you’ll be exposed to lots of different words and phrases which will enhance your language learning skills. At university, you may need to find a ‘common’ language such as English to communicate in for university work and group presentations. This will present you with the opportunity to learn a new language – surrounded by your friends who can help you to practice your pronunciation. 

Travel

With friends from different parts of the world, you might also be invited to stay with them in their home countries. You can visit their family, learn about a different culture and explore a new part of the world. This will help you to broaden your horizons, become independent and learn about the world by getting out there and seeing it.

Empathy

Meeting people from different countries will help to break down any subconscious stereotypes you might hold about people from that country. And there’s no better way to break those stereotypes than to speak to people face-to-face. Learning to understand other people and have empathy is a very important life skill. But with tolerance, kindness and compassion, it’s our young educated generations that are breaking down barriers of hate and discrimination.

Culture

Be it food, music, TV, fashion, or cultural traditions, there’s so much to learn from mixing with people from different cultures. Being open-minded to experiencing different cultures will benefit you as a person and help you to learn and grow. By stepping out of your comfort zone, you can experience a multicultural lifestyle and become very knowledgeable about different parts of the world.

Education

Surrounding yourself with a diversity of languages, cultures, ideas and perspectives can help you to grow as an academic and become a truly international thinker. As a student, it’s important to consider a variety of opinions and learn how to think critically about what you’re learning. Being able to communicate and connect with people from different countries isn’t easy but it’s a very important skill that will become useful later in life – when working on your career.

 

Dyslexia at University

It is said that up to 10% of the population falls somewhere on the Dyslexia spectrum. And it’s not uncommon for most people to find out while they’re at University.

Dyslexia is simply a learning difficulty, due to different brain wiring. It does not impact your intelligence. Typically, it makes reading, writing, and maths challenging and it can also have an impact on your short-term memory. Of course, this can make studying at University harder, but it is by no means impossible.

Should I tell my tutors I am Dyslexic?

This is a personal choice, but it will most likely be beneficial to tell your academic tutors and teachers that you’re dyslexic. It means they can make exceptions for you, if necessary. And, if anything, it will make them more understanding if you start to struggle with your coursework or meeting deadlines at a later date. It could also be a nice way to introduce yourself to your tutor, and help them to remember your name. You won’t be penalised or discriminated against for informing your tutors about your dyslexia.

 Additionally, your teachers can also inform you about the disability services your University offers (as Dyslexia is recognised as a disability).

What can my University do for me?

This is case-by-case and it will differ from University to University. Typically, you might get offered extra time in exams and for essay deadlines. You can also have a reader in an exam to help you, be given a laptop to write with, and get a Dyslexic sticker you put on your essays so they do not penalise you. It is worth talking to your tutors/University to find out how they can help.

Can I go to University?

Of course you can! If you achieve the required entry grades, then no one can stop you! Dyslexia doesn’t mean that you should view yourself any differently or any less deserving of a place at university. While you might feel anxious about other students being ‘better’ than you, this is irrelevant. Everyone learns differently, and being different is a good thing.

Are there any famous Dyslexics?

Duh! Dyslexics are said to be way more creative due to the way their brains are wired. Here are just a few:

  • Richard Branson
  • John Lenon
  • Pablo Picasso
  • Steven Spielberg
  • Keira Knightley
  • Holly Willoughby
  • Maggie Aderin-Pocock
  • Leonardo Da Vinci

Do not let your diagnosis of Dyslexia make you feel like you can’t achieve great things, especially at University! Universities are very open to accommodating the Learning Disability. You may get extra marks in your essays/exams for creativity and original ideas due to your disability. Don’t see it as a burden, rather use it to empower you to work harder. Prove the stereotype wrong.