Studying Abroad

The Best Countries to Study Abroad

By on May 28, 2013


When the time comes to plan your future beyond University you’re usually faced with three options. Either, you go into the big scary world of work; you take some time out to “find yourself” and go travelling around the world; or you go on to further education which can involve studying for a postgraduate degree, (known as a Masters), or studying in a different country altogether.

study abroad
image via

This third option lets you combine the chance to travel around the world and also to gain recognized qualifications that will help to set you apart from all of the other candidates who apply for the position you want so badly.

However, some courses are obviously rated as better than others, just like the Universities are in the UK or USA for instance, so it pays to study in the institutions ranked higher up the list of “top Universities in the world.” The question remains, however, how do you find them? After all, just because you want to study at one University doesn’t mean that studying at a different one, within the same country, is a bad thing.

Here are just five of the best countries you could study in to help kick start your career and allow you to see the world your way:

United States

With 30 of the world’s top 50 Universities spread across the nation, most people looking to study abroad opt for the United States. If you’re good enough and have the grades, then you’re most likely to look for the best of the best, Harvard for example is globally renowned for being one of the best in the country; but there are plenty of others that will be on the lookout for successful, ambitious students and many will offer scholarships.

United Kingdom

British Universities, particularly those based in London, are popular among foreign students looking to obtain well-regarded qualifications before returning home or making a career for themselves in the UK. Tuition fees are often the only stumbling block with Universities now able to charge as much as £9,000 each year.


Sweden is attempting to become one of the most modern countries in Europe, and a lot of students are looking to take advantage of the innovative companies that have been born in the country. The likes of Volvo, Ericsson and Ikea have all grown from Swedish roots and students have looked to obtain the finishing skills in the area before moving into a career with these major firms, or taking work experience back to a similar career in their home country.


If you choose to study abroad in Israel, you might get a few raised eyebrows from friends and family who couldn’t even point to it on a map. However, the education you can receive from choosing an Israeli University is just as well respected as any you would receive in the US or UK, with IDC currently ranked the top institution in the country.


Despite its size, Switzerland is one of the European superpowers. Four Swiss Universities have made the top 30 for teaching international students and the picturesque country, quality education and everything else it has to offer in terms of its close proximity to the rest of Europe makes it an ideal country for anyone looking to study and travel around Europe.

Matt Rawlings is a UK-based writer who has studied abroad and across Europe, including Switzerland, France and Spain.

Continue Reading

Be Bookish | Reading Nook

Giving Kids Their Own Reading Spot

By on May 4, 2013


It’s not like the “corner.”  A reading nook that will encourage your kids to read at home should not be a place that they associate with something that happens when they get into mischief.  It has to be a fun place where they can have their own adventure whether from the stories that they read or from stories that they create themselves.  An age-appropriate reading nook will make it easier for your children to develop the love for reading and learning.

For toddlers and pre-school aged kids, your reading nook should have padded floors and walls.  You can have a book rack with all his favorite books.  Make sure that your reading nook furniture pieces do not have sharp corners.  Better yet, you can have throw pillows on the floor where you and your little one can cuddle up for reading time.  Some reading nooks have puppet stages or doll houses where the characters of the storybook adventures can come alive.

bookstore reading corner

Older kids who can read by themselves should already have an organized reading nook.  They would need to have their own reading chair.  Parents should still have their own spot in their child’s reading nook to allow him to be with his child when he wants to have company while he reads.  For families with more than one child, having a small table with a few chairs around can accommodate kids who want to spend reading time together.

Teeners are a little bit of a challenge to build or designate any space for.  Some teeners would opt to isolate themselves in their rooms while they read and do other things.  You can still find a way to give your teen his own reading spot while at the same time giving him some privacy.  He can actually have his nook inside his room.  Or, if you don’t want him staying in his room all the time, you can give him his own corner in the den or build him a comfortable reading perch out in the yard.

Unlike adult reading nooks, children’s reading nooks are often more colorful.  Relaxation is often not the goal when kids go to their nooks.  Mental stimulation and stirring their imagination is the goal of reading.  A children’s reading nook is therefore often a fun and exciting place.  When they have such a space where they can let their imagination run wild, kids will surely go from one book to another without much coaxing.

reading nook
photo by Supergail –

Continue Reading

Book List

3 Young Adult Books Every Teacher Should Read (and Teach)

By on May 2, 2013


The ability for a teacher to empathise with their students is something that can either be an innate talent or the result of years of experience in classrooms. Whatever the route that needs to be taken to gain the quality, it is essential for teachers with pupils of all age groups to be able to understand their students’ concerns and worries.

When it comes to young adults, this can be an even more acute problem. Fortunately there is a wealth of great literature that not only gives a great insight into what people of that age might be going through but is also very popular with the target age group.

Here are three books aimed at young adults than can help you and them deal with relevant issues:

Title: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Author: Mark Haddon

Good for: teaching about learning difficulties, acceptance and social problems

The book is narrated in the first-person by Christopher, a 15-year-old boy who describes himself as “a mathematician with some behavioural difficulties.” The exact condition of the character is not explicitly referenced in the text, however, Christopher has Asperger syndrome (AS), a form of high-functioning autism that is sometimes called ‘savant syndrome.’ The book follows Christopher as he investigates the murder of a neighbour’s black poodle.

This 2003 mystery novel by British writer Mark Haddon is a great work for delving into issues regarding learning disabilities. The book has won the Whitbread Book Awards for Best Novel and Book of the Year, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize.

Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Author: Stephen Chbosky

Good for: teaching about emotional development, growing up and adolescence

This coming-of-age novel is narrated through a series of letters written by Charlie, a high school freshman. With a cult following much like that of Catcher in the Rye, the narrative takes the form of a series of letters from the protagonist written to an anonymous person. The story deals with social issues and struggles of fitting in, sexuality, suicide, abuse and falling in love.

The book was written by American novelist Stephen Chbosky and in 2012 it was adapted into a film.

Title: Go Ask Alice

Author: anonymous

Good for: teaching about drugs, substance abuse and peer pressure

Although written in 1971, this based-on-fact story about the life of a troubled teenage girl remains relevant to issues surrounding substance abuse today. Written in the form of the diary of an anonymous teenage girl who became addicted to drugs, the title is taken from a line in Jefferson Airplane’s hit song from the 60s White Rabbit.

The story caused a sensation when published but remains in print as of 2012. Revelations about the book’s origin have caused some doubt over its authenticity and factual accounts to arise, and the publishers have listed it as a work of fiction since at least the mid-late 80s. Still published as a work of fiction today, it often appears under the byline “anonymous” but is widely considered to be the true life story of its editor Beatrice Sparks.

Jane Parkinson writes on behalf of Randstad Education, a UK based education recruitment company who recruit for all subjects from maths to music. 

Continue Reading