Teach Middle East Magazine Apr - Jun 2020 Issue 3 Volume 7 - Page 20

Sharing Good Practice TODAY’S STUDENTS NEED A GLOBAL OUTLOOK AS WELL AS TOP GRADES BY: HARRY HORTYN for collaboration, a skill which is in high demand in both the business and academic worlds. Dr Saroj Velamakanni, who completed his PhD at Cambridge University is a guest lecturer and sits on the interview panel at the university for medicine and natural sciences. “Students need to demonstrate cross cultural experience, and the potential to interact and work with different cultures in business.” In Saroj’s view, university applicants make a more powerful impact in an interview if they are already thinking in this way. Leading universities are looking for students with an international mindset . A pplying for a place at one of the world’s top universities has always been a competitive process. But in today’s globally mobile society, that competition has taken on a whole new level. Even with flawless grades and a long list of extra-curricular interests, students’ chances of receiving a place at a leading institution could still be slim. To stand out from the crowd, students need to demonstrate their potential to flourish in the global marketplace. International viewpoint To address the world’s most pressing issues, universities need candidates who can demonstrate their ability to contribute to society on a world-wide basis. Deanna Ford, a Harvard graduate and member of their interview committee sees this first hand. “I help students in the USA, UK and beyond to secure places at the university of their choice, and the level of competition is astonishing,” she says. 20 Term 3 Apr - Jun 2020 “But you have to remember that, in the business world, taking a global view is second nature which is why these places look for global-minded applicants.” Broadening horizons So how can students build on the global skills and qualities that universities are interested in? Deanna explains that she is raising her children to develop an international outlook. “In America, where I live, school summer holidays are three months long. It’s usual for children to go to summer camps for up to six weeks, and my own children have attended international ones in the UK since they were 11. I think it prevents them from living in an ‘American bubble’. “They learn so much from mixing with children from Europe, India and Asia, and get to understand different perspectives and points of view that will serve them well in the future,” adds Deanna. Working together “I still remember one student who had spent time in a top Indian hospital before he applied. He spoke about developments there; how artificial intelligence was improving efficiency and how he envisaged we could use the same thing in the UK. It was the perfect marriage of ideas and aptitude.” An eye on the future Universities wanting their students to thrive in the global marketplace and work towards the greater good are becoming more creative in their approach. “Encouraging students to investigate international working and studying possibilities, including internships, camps and stints at NGOs is a good place to start,” says Saroj. “Learning is a constant process, which is why it is so important to develop a deep curiosity about new ideas and new experiences from within, but also outside of your home country.” The benefits are clear. Today’s global student will not only be better placed to compete for a place at university, they will also be well equipped to contribute to the wider world. An international approach is crucial Harry Hortyn is the co-founder of Oxford Summer Courses which welcomes students from over 112 countries across the globe to study 56 subjects through their Oxbridge learning experience summer courses in both India and the UK. Class Time