When you hear the expression “hind sight is a wonderful thing”, it’s often in reference to events that we regret. Something in our past that we wish we could change, or do differently, but unfortunately can’t. Whilst we can’t change history, the lessons of the past can be very beneficial for future generations. Things I wish I knew Things I wish I knew Things I wish I knew
Re-unions with friends from university usually involve a lot of reminiscing about our adventure as international students. Studying abroad was an amazing journey of self-discovery, as we pursued academic qualifications that launched our careers and made lifelong friends along the way.
In addition to reliving happy memories, we often talk about what we wished we knew back then, or what we would do differently if we had the chance to do it all again.
Although we came from different countries and took varying career paths, it is remarkable how there is a common theme about what we would have wanted to know as students. We all wished we had received better guidance about university choices and careers advice. Many of us regret not starting our career planning much earlier. As students, we did not fully understand that competition in the graduate market would be so intense!
Most students are sold on the dream of overseas study in the UK expecting to land a rewarding career by the time they graduate. For some, that dream turns into reality as they secure graduate careers with top companies. For many students, the harsh reality that overseas study alone is not a “golden ticket” to a rewarding career often dawns after they have already forked out thousands of pounds in tuition and living expenses (approximately £22,000 per year).
My experience provided first-hand insights about the challenges international students face as they try to launch their graduate careers. It made me realise there is a lack of guidance tailored towards the needs overseas students. Although I managed to secure a graduate career, it was an arduous journey. That journey, however, has proved useful in understanding the strategies students can adopt to increase their chances of success as they transition into graduate careers.
This experience, and the encounters of other graduates, inspired me to write a comprehensive guide for students. The book is entitled: International Student Pathfinder: the Essential Guide on Universities & Careers (“Pathfinder”).
Pathfinder is plotted along the timeline from before university choices are made right up to graduation, showing students what they really need to know at critical points. It covers topics like: choosing universities and courses, preparing for internships and graduate jobs, entrepreneurship and so much more. It equips students to take action and prepare for their future careers before it is too late, and they lose the advantage.
Every strategy shared in the book is based on real-life perspectives including the experience of graduates from different countries, including: India, China, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda. All these graduates have developed successful careers in the UK and abroad. Some have established their careers at leading global companies like: Amazon, Deloitte, Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC. Others have gone on to public sector careers or launched their own businesses.
Going back to Blake’s famous quote: “Hindsight is a wonderful thing but foresight is better, especially when it comes to saving life, or some pain!” So, whilst my friends and I cannot change the past, we can certainly share our experience for the benefit of future students. If applied carefully, the insights gained from Pathfinder will give students a head-start on the competition and help them devise successful career plans.
Going to university is still one of the best career strategies, but only if students seize every opportunity to boost their career prospects. Pathfinder will help students to maximise their university experience.
For many students, the harsh reality that overseas study alone is not a “golden ticket” to a rewarding career often dawns after they have already forked out thousands of pounds in tuition and living expenses (approximately £22,000 per year)