A Global Journey

Hear a voice from the past, from across an ocean, from the future, or maybe even one that you could hear on your own street.  Whether it’s the crack of a new book’s spine, the worn, well-loved pages of a favorite, or the soft glow from your e-reader, the act of reading a book transports you.  To another place.  Another time.  To a group of people whom you don’t know.  And everyone is looking for something.  Join us on our journey around the world—in books.  Find something that speaks to you and tuck in.

Written in 2006, Adichie’s wrenching tale chronicles five people’s lives as they navigate politics, power, academics, journalism, women’s rights, marriage, and the struggle for daily survival during Nigeria’s Civil War in the late 1960s.  How blurred are the lines between life and death?  What does it mean to be in love?  How does war affect humanity—and its soul?

A Chinese classic on feminism, circa 1827.  While the Qing Dynasty period wasn’t known for embracing femininity, the author was. Ruzhen offers us a subversion of gender roles in a fantasy classic—often with a humorous twist.  He believed in equal rights for men and women and wrote Flowers in the Mirror as one fantastical version of what that kind of world could look like.

Travel to Barcelona, on Zafón’s meticulously detailed streets with young Daniel in 1945, just after the Spanish Civil War.  Pick up an obscure, tattered book in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books and join Daniel on a dangerous mystery that will take you throughout past and then-present Barcelona—and the heartbreak of the human spirit.  Also Try Zafón’s 2009 prequel, The Angel’s Game, written in 2008, seven years after Shadow of the Wind.

Top Fields to Study in the UK

For many aspiring international students, Brexit is a giant and unknowable elephant in the room: What will the UK’s vote to leave the EU mean for the country’s higher education system and opportunities for foreign students there? While it’s true that some things are bound to change, it’s also true that it would take a lot more than Brexit to wipe away the UK’s esteemed history and ongoing reputation as a world leader in higher education. The overall takeaway? Whether or not Brexit went the way you hoped it would go, there are still many reasons to choose the UK as your international study destination — especially in one of these nine top areas.

1. Marine Biology

Home to diverse marine life and some of the world’s best marine facilities, the UK is a terrific destination for students aiming to enrich their knowledge of the biology of marine organisms. Boasting five of the top 20 best universities for earth and marine sciences, according to QS World Universities, the UK also lays claims to plenty of other world-class marine biology programs, universities and institutions.

Popular UK marine biology degrees include the Master of Marine Biology at the University of Aberdeen, the MRES in Marine Biology at Plymouth University, and the MSC in Freshwater and Marine Ecology at Queen Mary University of London.

2. Medicine

The UK has been a leader in the field of medicine for hundreds of years, and many of the world’s major medical discoveries happened here. Whether you’re looking for a breadth and depth of coursework, clinical contact, the development of a global network, or access to the some of the planet’s most brilliant professors and researchers, you’ll find it here.

Degree options in medicine are also diverse, including the MA Science, Medicine, Environment & Technology at the University of Kent, the Master in Medicine and Therapeutics at the University of Aberdeen, and the Master in Cancer Medicine at the University of Aberdeen.

Stay In Touch From Abroad

Not joining the throngs headed “home for the holidays” on planes, trains, and automobiles?  No fear. We’ve outlined some tips and tricks for those of you have don’t have data plans, those of you who do, and those of you who have none of the above, so that you can easily stay in touch with your family and loved ones—without actually being there.   Step 1?  Don’t worry.

If you don’t have a data plan

Here’s the key: access WiFi when you can.  Use internet cafes, hotels, stores, libraries, and other “hot spots” where you know you’ll be able to access the internet.

A trick and an App…

1. Type your emails whenever you want and save them as drafts.  When you get to WiFi, all you have to do is hit “send.”  Huge timesaver. (That’s the trick).

2.      Have you met Boingo?  Boingo Wi-finder is an app that helps you find thousands of free WiFi and Boingo hotspots around the world.  Easily.  You don’t have to wait until the internet café opens or until you pass advertised WiFi.  Boingo tells you where to go.  It’s reasonably priced, and you don’t have to buy a plan for a year.  You can buy one of their “AsYouGo” plans for an hour, a week, a day, a month if you want, and have access to free WiFi and Boingo hotspots to connect with your family and friends. (That’s the app).

If you do have a data plan

It’s a beautiful thing: you can send emails any time you want.  That’s not a trick.  That’s a reality.

Fun Apps to consider:

1. Skype

Probably the most well-known and it works well.  It’s a free download for phones, tablets, and computers, and you can also call cell phones and land lines (what are those?!) for a small fee.  Biggest plus?  Lots of folks already have accounts and use it.  It boasts free Skype-Skype video and voice calls.  You can instant message, screen share, and operate from a Mac or PC phone, tablet, or computer.

2. Viber

For starters, the app is free.  Everything is free if your family and friends have Viber, too.  For a small fee, you can contact non-Viber users, too.  You can call, text, and photo message, and you can use it from your phone, tablet, or computer.  Mac or PC?  Doesn’t matter.

3. WhatsApp

Avoid SMS fees by messaging friends and family for free.  You can also talk internationally for free, and have free face-face conversations.  You don’t use your cell plan’s voice minutes, but you may have to pay for data.  Double check your plan if you don’t want the “hidden” data charges to show up on your bill.

Whats the difference of work life balance and integration

It’s about boundaries.  Most of us have heard the old maxims “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy” or “work hard-play hard.”  The new normal, whatever that is, encourages us not to strike a healthy balance between the two—leave work at work—but to integrate them.  Do what you love and love what you do—that sort of thing—but all the time.  Anytime.  Take that conference call on vacation.  Right?  Maybe not.

Why has the boundary between working and living blurred?  Simple: thanks to the 21st century digital age of “instant,” “fast,” and “now,” it’s easy to work just about anywhere, anytime.  You don’t purposely take work home with you; it’s tethered to your phone, your tablet, your computer, maybe even your Fitbit—and you probably use those things at home, on the train, on vacation, and maybe even at dinner (we hope not).

Let’s break down the two ideas and see what they mean—and what will ultimately work best for you.

1. Work-Life Balance

What is it, you wonder?  Achieve something at work.  Enjoy something at work.  Achieve something at home.  Enjoy something at home. For the mathematically inclined:

Aw + Ew + Ah + Eh = Work Life Balance.

What does this mean?  Working and living are never truly balanced—there are no coefficients or constants to guide you through the process.  Sometimes you’ll achieve and enjoy something more at work than you will at home.  What’s important is that all aspects of achievement and enjoyment in work and life happen throughout the day.  Some days—as you know—are harder than others.

Here’s an example: you might have a fantastic interaction with a persnickety coworker (achievement) and then laugh at a joke at a board meeting (enjoyment), followed by not tripping over a pile of laundry in the middle of the floor when you get home (achievement) and meeting a friend for dinner (enjoyment).  These achievements and enjoyments do not have the same weights.  That great conversation with that persnickety coworker might be the biggest achievement because you know he’ll probably invite you to work on that project you’ve been wanting to work on with him.  You probably enjoyed that dinner with your friend the most.

The big idea?  You unplug.  You achieve and enjoy something in both parts of your life—working and not working—and there’s a clear boundary between the two. Over time, achievement and enjoyment will balance each other out.  It’s the day-to-day that can be a bit tricky.

2. Work-Life Integration

This is way trendier.  Thanks to the gig economy that’s sprung up in the past decade, integrating what you do and how you live have become a necessity for some.  Even in bigger businesses, there’s this idea that living and working in the same place are desirable attributes for living.

The imminent proposal of the Canadian

1. Indigenous studies offer a more comprehensive and honest representation of history.

Indigenous people have been marginalized in countries across the globe for many years. In most cases, they’re still being marginalized today.

According to Danielle Lorenz, a PhD candidate in educational policy studies, the best way to remedy ongoing ignorance and stereotypes about indigenous people is through indigenous studies. In addition to fascinating coursework in diverse areas ranging from literature to traditional ecological knowledge, Lorenz points out that there are more general takeaways for students in this field: “They can learn about the accomplishments and contributions Indigenous peoples have made to global society, they can learn that Indigenous peoples in North America survived the world’s worst holocaust, they can learn about the true history of Canada – not as peaceful (or dull) as commonly thought, and they can learn that, today, while challenges exist – Indigenous peoples are more than just their ‘issues.’”

2. Indigenous studies are interdisciplinary.

Indigenous studies comprise a breadth and depth of academic fields the humanities, social sciences and beyond. Not only do students learn how to integrate this information in order to broaden their worldviews, but in doing so they also hone and refine their critical thinking skills.

These skills aren’t just applicable to directly related work in areas like indigenous governance, indigenous literature, and indigenous social work, they’re also transferrable — and highly valued by employers.

Digital Skills Develops

You’ve spent your entire life immersed in the digital world. So you’re pretty much already an expert, right? Not so fast. As it turns out, there’s plenty more to learn in today’s fast-moving digital space — particularly if you’re interested in becoming a change agent in your chosen field. Read on for a roundup of three reasons to pursue a master’s degree with a focus on the digital, along with one program that gets it right when it comes to helping students acquire the skills they need — not just to survive, but to truly thrive in the ever-changing digital landscape.

1. Digital skills open diverse doors.

Do a quick internet search of the words “digital skills,” and you’ll turn up countless articles on “essential,” “must-have” and “top” digital skills employers are looking for today. At the same time, US staffing and solutions company the Adecco Group reveals that 92 percent of employees aren’t prepared to navigate the contemporary business world. Claiming top four spots on the list of skills executives think workers lack? Technical and software skills.

But that’s not all, insists The Guardian, “It’s not just the scale and pace of the digital revolution that makes it exciting; it’s also the fact that it’s being democratized. No longer reserved for IT departments and tech companies, digital is becoming a critical part of every industry and is opening up opportunities across sectors, whether it’s top surgeons video linking into operating theatres from abroad or targeted mobile advertising based on clothes you’re trying on in real time.”

So whether you want to be a teacher, doctor, businessperson, lawyer, journalist, or one of a million other possible career paths, skills like SEO, coding, video editing, imaging editing, blogging and others are quickly moving from the category of nicety to necessity. The takeaway? Digital skills aren’t just highly sought-after in technology-related sectors; they’re also universally prized.

2. Digitalization is essential to corporate development.

According to a recent article in The Telegraph, ‘Why Digital Skills Matter for Your Company,” “businesses that improve the digital skills of all their employees will become more productive, innovative, profitable and secure.” For bottom-line-minded organizations, these are hard words to ignore. Just how much do businesses stand to gain by embracing all things digital? As reported by The Telegraph based on research by Oxford Economics for Virgin Media Business, the UK economy could see a boost of £92bn and more than one million jobs in the next two years alone.

Said Peter Winebloom, skills director a manufacturers’ organizations EEF, “Britain is on the cusp of a global, technology-driven fourth industrial revolution, but the challenge comes from ensuring that we have access to the right skills in the right numbers.”  In other words, if the UK — and other countries, too — is to reach its potential, it will take workers with the right digital skills make it happen.