Author: Sabira ALAKBAR
A pandemic is not an obstacle to obtaining education abroad. On the contrary, experts claim that in a changing reality, the requirements for academic knowledge and professional skills will become higher. Nigar Musabayova is a regional representative of the University Canada West (UCW), the first private university of British Columbia, in the CIS. Its difference from other universities is a special system of intensive education, which provides a bachelor's degree in 2-2.5 years, and an MBA diploma (master's degree in management) in just a year without compromising the standard curriculum. The university specialises in business administration. Canada West is a premium educational institution with twelve years of experience. It is located in the heart of Vancouver and enrols students from 40 countries. As a representative of the university, Nigar told us about the current admission opportunities at UCW.
"What are the advantages of studying in foreign universities?"
"It’s all about the system, the quality of education and the teachers. Of course, not every university abroad is good. But now it’s easy enough to check information on the Internet. Also, students communicate with other students, and there is always a chance to get a reliable overview of various universities. It’s also about experience - both in life and professional. After all, students are always welcome to stay at the university after graduation and work in a particular country for at least two or three years. This is also a very big advantage. In the future, this turns to a positive result when our students return and continue their professional activities in their own country."
"Let’s say the applicant has a master's degree in humanities. What is his next step to apply for a different speciality at UCW. Where should he start?"
"I am a perfect example in this case. I graduated in political sciences with the bachelor's degree from UCW. Later I got my master's degree in Business Administration (MBA) majoring in Marketing in the UK. It’s all possible. An applicant always has a choice to change direction. But it all depends on the direction he or she chooses. At our university, he can earn an MBA. But if his previous education was not in the field of business and commerce, meaning he does not have professional experience in this area, then he will be offered a preparatory course, which lasts three months. He will receive basic skills that will help him start the master's program. And, of course, the knowledge of English. He needs to score the required IELTS score (or equivalent)."
"How many students from Azerbaijan study at UCW now? Are there any graduates? If yes, what are they doing now?"
"Currently, we have three students from Azerbaijan. Two of them are already in Vancouver; the third one enrolled and received a visa, but, unfortunately, could not to leave the country because of the lock-down. He began his studies remotely and will continue in Canada as soon as the borders open."
"How Azerbaijan can benefit from the professional skills of our graduates?"
"Azerbaijan is a well developing country. We very much need people with good education and experience in various areas. Since our university provides an opportunity to get business education, our graduates will get a proper knowledge in the fields of business management, commerce, marketing and finance. These are exactly the people that Azerbaijan needs now."
"What conditions should the applicants meet to get a scholarship from UCW?"
"In Canada, as in many other countries, state and private universities are tuition-based educational facilities. As a private university, we can create the necessary conditions for our students. We have specially tailored grants program for the CIS countries, which allows our students to pay less than students from other countries. The grant partially covers the study. To be eligible for a scholarship, it is enough to complete the application form for the grant and submit it to the university. The application will be considered on the basis of the documents that the student submits for review. But it is very important to remember that the grant can be cancelled if the student does not follow all the rules during the training, meaning attending classes and studying."
"It is clear that in addition to getting good education, students have additional motives that encourage them to study abroad, such as acquiring skills to live abroad, getting to know the country of education, and learning its language. Today we live in a completely different situation with vague perspectives of the end. How did the pandemic influence the process of admission to UCW. Did it affect the number of applicants?"
"Students have certain fears, which are understandable. None of us expected that we would find ourselves in such a difficult situation, with the increasing number of our plans being cancelled or postponed. But UCW also understands that students still want to get a quality education. In this regard, our students begin their studies remotely. They still apply for a visa (it can be online and the centres for biometrics are already open). After getting the visa, they can fly to Canada as soon as the borders open. But in order not to waste time, they study from home. UCW has four intakes a year: in winter, spring, summer and autumn. We hope that by autumn the situation will improve, and all those who apply for autumn session begin their studies in Vancouver. If not, they will always have the option to start remotely."
"Do you believe that distance learning can completely replace full-time education?"
"In terms of quality, online training is no worse than the full-time one. But perhaps for many it is more difficult, since it requires enormous discipline. After all, sitting at home, we are in a more relaxed state. It is imperative to get together and understand that there will be exams, and that they will be examined as strictly as if the training was full-time. Distance education is also suitable for those who, due to work or other circumstances, cannot leave the country, and a good education and a diploma of a foreign university must be obtained. But there are other factors that you mentioned: acquisition of skills to live abroad, acquaintance with the country in which you get education, work experience in large foreign companies and just human communication in a foreign language. Are we going to switch to distant learning entirely? I don’t think so. But it really saves in this situation and makes it possible for those who cannot leave their home. So full-time education will always be the first choice for our students."
"What can you advise those who, despite the current situation, still hopes to get an education abroad?"
"Many universities, unfortunately, do not have the option of distance education. They just offer to move the start date of the course to a later time. As I said above, UCW created the conditions for students so that they do not waste time and start studying online. This situation will end, and students will be able to safely leave their homes and continue studies in Vancouver. Even now they don’t lose anything. They can save money on their living. So, do not be afraid or postpone your plans. There is always a way out of any situation, which is not the worst. So I would like to wish all students good luck. As we say it, If we cannot change the situation, it is worth thinking about changing our attitude towards it.""
“Thanks for the conversation.”