Category Archives: Goals and motivation

Our Demola Team

Study Advisory UX with Demola

Demola Tampere is located at old cotton factory area called Finlayson in Tampere. Demola locates in premise which is called The New Factory Innovation Center. New Factory was the place where the idea of Demola was launched in 2008. Today Demola is carrying annually around 100 projects. From the 450 students participating, the 40 % is of international background.

At the meeting with Demola Team
At the meeting with Demola Team

Idea of Demola

The main idea about Demola is that company’s approach Demola with a project suggestion they have. After Demola receiving suggestion, they search the right students to the build project team. Students can apply for the certain project and Demola staff decide which students are the best for the projects.

The students consisting the project team have the freedom of approaching the project’s question in their own way. They develop the project in collaboration with the company, while owning the rights to their work. Upon completion, the company can buy the rights from the project team and develop it further. As a result, the companies have licensed 80% of the projects outputs and recruited 15% of Demola students.

Why did Study Advisory approach to Demola?

The need of student recruitment and on-line marketing, among the universities, has been increasing in the past years. In Study Advisory, we want to approach this market need for student perspective with special attention on users’ experience.

Having an idea?

What do students need when they consider their study options? How can they find Study Advisory website easier? When they find it, the question is: How we, at Study Advisory, can be sure the website is attractive and user-friendly for students to spend time there? After they interact with it will they talk about Study Advisory with their networks on-line and also in real life?

Meeting in progress
Meeting in progress

AIM

The aim of this Demola Tampere project is to have competitive market advantage, add more user value on our website and increase the amount of visitors and buzz in different media.

For the project we were hoping for a team with skills in various fields to help us to recognize and tackle some our challenges. In the end of the recruiting we have an international team with various skills of expertise, for example students from Germany, UK, Vietnam and Hungary.

The projects has just started. The team is having their first meetings and starting their innovation journey. We are eager to work and be in cooperation with these students and Demola staff and we are very excited to see the final product of this project. More updates about the project along the spring…

How about going on an entrepreneurial exchange? Erasmus for young entrepreneurs.

The Erasmus programme has been around for almost thirty years now and it might be a great memory of your (recent) past or something to look forward to if you are younger. I remember getting really excited about Erasmus when seeing the film L’Auberge espagnole (The Spanish apartment) by Cédric Klapisch.

A second international experience after Erasmus: let me think...
A second international experience after Erasmus: let me think…

How about re-writing your own second film by doing another Erasmus, unlike Klapisch’s second film Russian dolls (Les Poupées russes, which was all about getting settled in life). What if your own second international experience was neither an academic exchange nor a trip to Russia (picture above), but rather a hands-on entrepreneurship programme in another company?

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs helps EU small and medium enterprises grow and learn from even newer entrepreneurs
Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs helps EU small and medium enterprises grow and learn from even newer entrepreneurs

That’s right, the Erasmus programme is not only about university studies. The Erasmus for young entrepreneurs programme connects a new entrepreneur with an experienced one, with the view of providing him/her with practical experience abroad in his or her field.

Wait... ANOTHER Erasmus?
Wait… ANOTHER Erasmus?

Though youth and a university environment might facilitate entrepreneurship, in this case the new (or aspiring) entrepreneur does not actually have to be a student; he or she does not even have to be that young. But, importantly, his or her business should be less than 3 years old. And the principle is similar to Erasmus for students: a few months (one to 6) in another EU country, learning and networking. According to a survey by the programme office, personal skills like determination and confidence, as well as language skills and management skills are most acquired by the majority of participants in the programme, followed by marketing skills (boosted for half of the participants).

Specific objectives of Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs include:

  • facilitating business exchanges
  • opening market access internationally
  • for the new entrepreneur: refining a business plan, discovering cultural differences in organisations and business practices and improving chances of success during the start-up phase
  • for the host entrepreneur: improving the growth potential of a potential business partner, possibly, or just getting insights from a motivated third party, and gaining visibility.

Financial support for the new entrepreneur is available in the form of subsistence costs  which vary depending on the host country, and the reimbursement of travel costs. Selection and implementation of the programme are made possible at the local level via so-called IOs, intermediary organisations.

61% of new entrepreneurs increased their turnover after participating in the programme.
61% of new entrepreneurs increased their turnover after participating in the programme.

You can hear some testimonies on the programme’s Youtube channels or this promotional video.

You can also read more about the programme’s official pages (in all EU languages) and apply.  Clearly expressing your motivations and expectations from the programme will make your application stand out, as well as a thought-out business plan with a description of your product or service, a market analysis including the target market and a benchmark analysis, and financial plan for the next two years.  Read this guide if you are a new entrepreneur.

While preferred sectors to start a company are advertising, architecture and engineering, and tourism and wellness, most host entrepreneurs work in advertising and… training services. And you, which sector would you like to explore to refine your start-up idea?

Clearly expressing your motivations and expectations from the programme will make your application stand out. Then you can find yourself moving from dream to mentorship!
You can find yourself moving quickly from dreaming to  being mentored in another country!

5 Time Management Tips

Have you ever felt like 24 hours is too short for a day? Do you need to sacrifice your sleeping hours for your work and assignments? Yes, many of us are facing the same problem. However, inadequate sleeping decreases productivity and it becomes an endless cycle of cutting off sleeping time to work. Hence, it is very important to equip yourself with good and effective time management skills.

1. Starting from a planner

Don’t forget to plan your day with a planner
Don’t forget to plan your day with a planner !

A planner is always crucial to us to step toward a good time management. No matter if it is an electronic planner in your smartphone or a paper-based planner, there is no limitation, but choose a planner that you will stick to and use it on a daily basis. Some people like to have a big calendar as their planner so they can write everything clearly on it. On the other hand, some people prefer a small planner which is easy to carry around. It is just a matter of personal preference!

2. Take 15 minutes to plan your day

Planning doesn’t take much time and effort!
Planning doesn’t take much time and effort!

It is worth to spend around 15 minutes to kick start your day. In this 15 minutes, you can think about your day, your upcoming tasks and deadlines. Never start your day without a plan because a plan is a strategy to make the best use of your time and your day since it would become less stressful but more productive and joyful.

3. Identify all your tasks that you have to do

What are the tasks in hand ?
What are the tasks in hand ?

Write down all the tasks that you have to do clearly in your planner. No matter whether it is a big or small task, related to you job or not, just write it down and make your own to-do list. Then, you can break the big tasks into smaller concrete tasks since smaller tasks are always easier to manage and complete. With all the tasks on the list, the next step definitely is prioritizing and scheduling your day.

4. Prioritize your to-do list

A list without prioritizing is like spinning your wheels without really moving forward. I believe many of us would choose the easiest and smallest task to start with and forget about the deadline since it is easier to complete and get a sense of accomplishment. But then, are these small tasks important? Are these tasks urgent? We should not do the tasks that we like but we should arrange them based on the importance and urgency.

ABC analysis

It is the easiest and simplest approach to prioritize your tasks by differentiating into three categories.

  • The most important and the most urgent
  • Important but not urgent
  • Neither important nor urgent

By using this ABC analysis to prioritize, you can categorize your tasks and understand which task should be done first. Once the most important tasks in category A is done, you can move to another tasks in A or even in B.

5. Avoid Procrastination

Do it now ! Don't make any excuse to procrastinate!
Do it now ! Don’t make any excuse to procrastinate!

Procrastination it the biggest obstacle to step toward a good time management. You spend 15 minutes on making a good plan, but procrastination could ruin your plan. If your plan is ruined, it means your time spent on planning is wasted also. However, there are many reasons causing procrastination.

Some people are naturally lazy. Some people procrastinate because of the fear of failure or even fear of unknown. There are many excuses to procrastinate. You have to ask yourself why you not complete your tasks. This can help you understand the cause of procrastination and recognize that you are procrastinating. To tackle this problem, you should adopt you own strategies of anti-procrastination. Here is an example to overcome fear of failure:

Fear of failure?

It is totally fine if you have this fear because everyone also has fear in different circumstances. The most important issue is to admit the problem that you have as well as to admit you are a procrastinator! If you dare to admit it, congratulations, you are getting closer and closer to get rid of this issue. Next step is to understand that you can get out from this issue. There are few methods:

  • Having a “Plan B”- This can help you to get more confident to get the tasks done since you have plan B
  • Positive thinking – It is the best way to build your confidence and change you thought from the fear.
  • Potential outcomes analysis- you will feel more comfortable to start your task because you know what you are expecting in the tasks. Also, you could set the outcomes as you goal and follow it.

Time management

Everyone has their own individual preferences toward managing and controlling time. Find the best approach to adopt your own time management. With good time management skills, you can keep yourself in balance even if you are extremely busy since planning make the best use of your time. Do remember: time flies like an arrow, be sure to be a good pilot and control it! Control you time! Control destiny!

Written by Hazel Hoi Yau Cheng

Internship – how you can make best of it!

Autumn is coming and the intern season starts again. Many current students and graduates will begin their journey in the working world trying to gain a valuable career experience. An internship is a good possibility to practice what you have learned at your school, enhance your skills, get a solid contribution to your CV, increase your network and surely get a full-time position. Here we have summarized some tips how you can make best of your internship.

how to make best of your internship
Make best of your internship

Get to know your company

Before your first working day, make a research about the company you are going to make your internship for, e.g like company’s history, culture, vision, mission, products and services etc. Read also about the industry and the competitors in the field. Moreover, you can track the recent media. Some basic research on your company will help you to feel more confident and will give a good first impression right from the start. More specific, inside information you will gain later.

Take care about your dress

Depending on a country, culture and a company there might be different requirements on how to dress. Some companies might not care about it but some really do. It is advisable to find this information before you begin with your practical training. You can contact HR manager or to check company’s website. Employees should not be judged by the way they are dressed  but dressing properly will present you in the best light and demonstrate your effort to look professional.

Internship = real job

It happens often so that students do not work properly during their internship thinking that the internship is just a way to earn the school’s credits since it is usually not paid or low paid. Generally, interns are given boring and not challenging tasks that nobody else in a company has time to do. However, you should always treat your internship as a real job and therefore invest all your efforts in it. Think about that your activities even if they seem to be minor, they still impact the whole organisation helping it grow and develop. You will surely be rewarded for your engagement!

Be active

Be curious, show interest and initiative; dare to ask questions and be ready to go out of your comfort zone. Remember, you are here not to do what you already know. On the contrary, you must learn possibly many new things from different fields and from different people – your colleagues, bosses etc. As our summer intern Anna mentions: „It was not easy for me to start writing blogposts and web content pages. I did not have any professional experience with WordPress before. Anyway, I pushed myself and started doing it. And I was satisfied with the result! Moreover, training my writing skills will help me in the near future when I start working on my thesis. So my advise: overcome your fears and embrace the challenges”! You can read one of Anna’s awesome blogposts here.

To be active is good, anyway you cannot be always ready for everything. Try to choose the tasks that interest you most and might help you to gain valuable knowledge for your future career. Having the courage to say „no“ to certain tasks is also a part of your intern experience.

Communicate with your internship mentor

While doing your internship you will be provided a person who will guide you, supply you with tasks and help to organize your work. Do not be afraid to ask difficult and stupid questions. Remember that your eagerness is a demonstration of your interest, motivation and desire to learn. If you have some problems or you cannot manage doing your project or task by the certain time, feel free to discuss it with your internship supervisor. Asking for a feedback is an important part of the practical training.

Develop your network

Socialize with your colleagues, during working time and outside of it; show them what you are able to do. The better they know you, the more chances you have for the support from their side when it comes to the decision on the full-time position for you. Use all given chances to participate in events outside of the company, as fairs, conferences, meetings with customers etc. Our intern Nelli had an excellent opportunity to network in a start-up hub Hong Kong. Read more about Nelli’s awesome experience as a Study Advisory’s intern in this dynamic business megapolis.

And here there are some tips from our colleagues and interns about their internship experience:

Hazel (Hong Kong):

I think internship gives me a really good opportunity to put the theory into practice, to understand how business is going. I can apply my knowledge in my work. Also, I can  learn some of the skills that I could not learn from school, like establishing interpersonal relations and communicating with clients.  To make best of it , I think you should be humble, modest and open-minded to learn as much as you can, including accepting the negative comments.

Suvi (Finland):

An internship is often as good as you make it. You should not swallow anything and do tasks that you feel have no purpose for your personal or academic growth. Of course you have to start from somewhere, but to make an internship great, I feel like it has to be a two-sided thing, where both the employer and the intern feel like they are getting something out of it (other than study credits). It’s an amazing oppotunity to put one’s skills into practice and find out if your study field really is your cup of tea in the real working world.

Eeva (Finland):

Doing an internship is usually a great way to learn completely new skills, as well as to get more practical know-how of the things you have studies in the university. Personally I found myself for example learning some basics of HTML coding, even if I had never considered myself a technical person before. The new skills learnt during my internships have helped me very much later on my career. An internship can also be an opportunity to discover what you would like to do in the future – as well as a way to realize what you don’t like!

Written by Anna Korobova

Top 5 reasons why employers love applicants who have studied abroad

Why should the employers care about your study abroad experiences?

Are you planning to go to study abroad and wondering what kind of benefits it could bring you in the future? Or have you already studied abroad and are now thinking how to tell it to your potential future employers? We in the Study Advisory team are very familiar with these questions, since we have all been there and explained our employers why they should appreciate our experiences. Let us tell you our top 5 reasons why employers will love you when you tell them that you have studied abroad!

1. You are used to getting out of your comfort zone

All those friends of yours who have never stepped out of their home country sometimes think that studying abroad is just about partying hard and hitting the beach. Well, usually it’s not. It is a journey that will make you grow as a person. You have to do things that you have never done before, and sometimes, there is nobody there to help you out. Often you also have to manage those situations in a foreign language. It is also a way to take a look at your own study field from another perspective.

Studying abroad is a great way to get out of your comfort zone. This is a skill that is heavily needed also in today’s working life in the globalising world.

Intercultural communication are important for employers.

2. You are able to be flexible

When you have studied abroad, you have probably adapted to many new things. Maybe you had to deal with some bureaucratic officials, maybe you found a cockroach under your bed and had to sleep on a sofa. Thus, you have built an amazing amount of flexibility that is also needed in today’s working life. You have also realised and accepted that there are different ways to do things in different parts of the world.

In a job interview, for example, you can share a story or two about how flexible you can be in everyday situations. This will most likely convince the employers that you’ll be flexible in your new work, too.

3. You have great networks

You networks have probably exploded compared to your homies, who stayed in the comfort of their home country. You have new friends now, such as an engineering student from Brazil, a waitress from Spain, a landlord from Greece and a flatmate from China. In addition to the already existing networks, you can easily convince your future employers that you will be able to build new career-related networks in no time!

Make sure to keep those networks alive even after you come home. A day might come when you need your network also for some work-related stuff. Or maybe there is just a conference in your friend’s hometown and you want someone to show you around the city? Building these networks and keeping them up and running will totally be worth it – trust us!

4. Language skills

No matter whether you studied in English, learned just a few words of Spanish or are now completely fluent in Japanese, your future employer will surely appreciate it.

Language skills in the working life are not just about being grammatically correct, they are about having the courage to use languages in everyday life. Surely, if you have studied abroad, you already have what it takes to communicate in different languages. Make sure to highlight this courage also in your CV.

Sharing your stories in a new job is great.

5. Intercultural communication skills

It is not just about the language skills. In order to work efficiently in an international atmosphere you also have to handle communication with people from different cultures.

Studying abroad is probably one of the best ways to develop communication skills. You get more confidence with being around foreign people and you learn how to handle even the biggest of misunderstandings.

+ Great coffee room conversations

Who wouldn’t want to hear your awesome experiences about studying abroad? If you are working for an international company, the odds are good that your new colleagues have also studied abroad at some point. Those stories make for great conversations, and you will bond with your colleagues in a totally new way. If your boss appreciated your study abroad experiences already in the application process, there is a great chance that maybe they were also partying under the Italian sun as an Erasmus student just few years before you… Go and see!

So, here we have listed some tips about why future employers will appreciate your studies abroad. Study abroad experience is a great way to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Just go for it – and remember to make it visible on your CV!

How to get motivated

Try and find your motivation
Get up and try

The bright blob is creeping from the cracks of the window shades and it hits you straight in the eyes. You roll over to the other side just to wake up to the oh-so-annoying alarm. Swipe it off and cuddle under the blanket to sigh until the snooze. What’s the point of getting up?

It is not only students who feel like losing their motivation from time to time. It happens to all of us, whether already in working-life or on a summer holiday or retired. No matter if it’s sunny, grey, winter or summer. It just hits us humans like a flower that blooms at the same spot every spring even after the coldest of winter.

What to do then when everything seems pointless?

The most common answer is maybe: “nothing”. Because that is how unmotivated thoughts make you feel.

However, there is one thing you can try to start from: live in the moment. Stress is something that can kill motivation so easily so aim to keep your mind in the present: don’t dwell in the past or live in woulds or coulds of the future either.

Find your inner motivation – not the outer. So many people live their whole life chasing objects when the best things in life are often not measured in material or titles. Surely you have felt passionately about something – think if you would have that feeling about your studies and life all the time? Have you ever loved someone? That sensation does not require any material; it is a pure feeling that makes your whole body feel good.

Solid rewards are not always motivating in longer term. “If you do this, you get that”- thinking is actually pushing you to a cycle where you operate towards something that does not come from your own willingness. Do you want to achieve something for your own growth or for external happiness, such as a high-paying job?

Of course it is good to reward yourself with also small material good every once in a while. Having a nice cup of coffee or a special treat waiting for you in the end of day makes it that much better, just don’t make it a habit.

Make a change to be motivated

Cut out stressful things from your life and find your passion (but don’t seek it). Take a break from the social media. Many of the stressing aspects such as envy are flourishing there. It is a place for highlighting the good parts of one’s life and might make you feel like you are not experiencing anything but drawbacks and boring everyday stuff. It is hard to think positively if what you see all the time makes you feel like you are not accomplishing anything.

Positive thinking makes positive outcomes and realising your passion makes your inner motivation flourish! Take a look at this video to get a new perspective to passion:

Find a hobby to balance your life

This relates to sorting out your passion. Do you have something you’ve always been interested in? What about enrolling to a knitting course or buying that new bike you have been dreaming of for a long time? Maybe start doing yoga or meditate? Run, go for long walks. Getting your heart rate up is something that lowers the stress levels and clarifies your thoughts, same as getting really into something that you love doing. You don’t need to even do it for long, just 20 minutes a day is enough to de-stress your body. When your mindset is clear, everything else seems easier. Read other tips to combat stress from here.

Take a break

Having a break is alright to stay motivated.
Take a break.

In today’s society you might feel pushed to achieve everything at an early age and as soon as possible. Being impatient is not helping you to be motivated – it is another cause of anxiety and stress. Do not feel bad about taking a break – not only small breaks every day but even a longer one if you feel like your life is stuck. Ignore people saying “You need to do this now and sort out your life”. Take your own time and you will not have regrets later. One-month retreat in India sound good to you? Go for it. You can always return, but regretting for not taking the chances is the worst feeling. Or does it feel hard to get one hour of studying done? Try having a 20 minute break every half an hour, before you even notice it, you’ve made already two hours!

Organise things (i.e. make lists)

It has never hurt anyone to be organized, quite the opposite. Writing a journal might help you get your feelings together when you are having a hard time or if writing is not something you do, record a diary. Next day, read or listen to it and think how you feel about it compared to the current moment. If you always seem to feel the same blues, you need a change. But if your feelings seem to be like a rollercoaster: one day your high up, one day down – you need to identify the things that are making the downward rides and eating your motivation. People grow and habits change. Maybe consider if the way you have always studied has just turned out to be less suitable for you within years.

Scheduling your work and free time gives you some kind of control over your life that can seem like a mess. If you think your work does not progress, record it. Make a list of all the things you have accomplished and learned. Try to list 3 positive things from your life that you are grateful for, every day. When you do it for a few weeks, you start to realise how many things are amazing in your life.

And then, just remember to try your best and smile. It is contagious and even if you need to make an effort for it in the beginning, it helps!

Written by Suvi Loponen

Am I too old to study? Studying as a mature student

Mature student

Who is a mature student?

What is considered a “mature student” varies throughout the world – whereas in Finland it’s a normality to start university when aged over 20, but in the UK, you are already considered a mature student if you are aged 21 or older.

In general, the age of graduating classes is decreasing. When comparing the years 2005 and 2011, the age of acquiring a first degree has dropped from 25.2 to 24.7 years and older students are respectively graduating almost a year earlier, aged on average 27.9. (OECD Indicators, 2013)  Also, in the UK, the statistics of 2014 shows a drastic drop in the number of mature applicants – which was highly criticised by the government, as education is meant for everyone and it is clear if the ever-increasing fees is making it just that much harder for less well-off people to enrol into higher education.

The benefits of studying at an older age are, nevertheless, easy to point out. Many mature students are more motivated in their studies than others: they have had the time to decide what they want and now they are going for it – all out.

This is not always the case with younger students, who are afraid
of getting left behind if they take too long dwelling on decision-making. That is why the older students should embrace their age rather than be embarrassed about it.

It is not a hindrance to be older and in higher education – on the contrary. Those people sitting in the front row of the lecture hall, those who have the courage to stand up and ask for more clarifying answers when something is unclear, those people looking like they could be your parents – they are often the most mature students.

Why are they sometimes having more of an advantage than the youngsters?

Because they have passed the phase of “oh my god I have no idea what this means, but if I ask the tutor, everyone is going to look at me and think I am dumb”. Most of 18-year-olds nowadays think that is it stupid to ask how to print a document. But for someone aged around 40, with three children, coming back to education after a working career, it is a completely relevant question that they are not afraid to ask.

I was 22-years old when I started my bachelors degree. My peers were mostly 18-year-olds or some of them even 17. I was told multiple times that I was too old for starting my studies, that I should already be graduating. And every time I had this conversation with someone, I wondered if they were right.

I had no children nor was I that much older than the others, but it was surprising how much more “mature” I had become from the age of 18, within those few unplanned gap years that I took.

It sometimes seemed like there was this huge Grand Canyon between me and the other students celebrating their 18th birthday, coming up to the lectures looking like the night had ended up rolling in the bushes. Those moments I felt the most happy I had spent my night in bed catching up with HIMYM.

They recently raised the age of retiring here in Finland to 65. So with my math skills, even if I graduate at the age of 28 with my master’s papers, I have 37 full working years ahead of me. It makes me feel astounded to say the least. It is a long time. I sometimes feel tired already now, after my 7 years of mostly part-time working.

And for some, it is not the first higher education degree that they start as a mature student. Many realise after getting the diploma that the job is not for them. It is amazing how full of possibilities world is, even if you decide to change your mind!

So don’t be afraid of taking a gap year or even another, because you have time. It is more important to study something you feel motivated about, something that teaches you things  you need not only in an exam, but you are actually interested in.

by Suvi Loponen

Study Hacks from a Global Citizen

study hacks
Follow these hacks from a global citizen to fast-track your studies to success!

A successful university or college student is a multi-tasker who needs to absorb useful study hacks in order to achieve their grades and minimise their stress. And let’s face it, whether you like it or not, the modern globalised world requires global citizens who understand cultural differences, and most importantly, have the ability to work with an international team. Ask any current or previous exchange student: interacting with a very different culture can give you some extremely valuable skills to exploit in the future!

Feel free to put on your cultural stereotype goggles and learn these study hacks from different angles of the world and boost your study routines. You may even get a hint for your next study exchange destination!

Check out a few other useful things you can learn while studying abroad: 7 Things I Learned While Studying Abroad

Manage your study group meetings like the Spanish

The first thing that may pop up into one’s mind when thinking about the Spanish studying or working culture might be the siesta: the culmination of their relaxed attitude when tackling daily routines. However, considering their bubbling speech and passionate way of communicating, I have noticed that Spanish people are extremely efficient in their study group meetings. The thing is, it’s perfectly normal for multiple persons to talk at once!

To some foreigners this may seem exactly as chaotic as it sounds (in written and in practice) and one could wonder how to divide attention to multiple sources at the same time. What I’ve learnt is that Spanish people are masters of listening and able to paint the big picture of different subjects handled simultaneously – you can always concentrate on the missed details afterwards. Once you learn their trick, you are able to handle enormous masses of information in shorter periods of time.

Interested in gaining a better understanding of those highly structured meetings? Fun fact: among the Spanish universities, University of Alicante has the highest Study Advisory Rating!

Speak up like an American

I really admire the way Americans are able to speak their mind. It’s not just their linguistic advantage when speaking English; they are verbally very quick-witted and confident. One way they are able to make a study group meeting flow effortlessly is that they speak their mind, not only about their ideas, but they are also comfortable with expressing open criticism. One could say they respond quickly with their honest feelings.

Don’t get insulted or shut completely down when facing their comments: it can be educating to hear constructive criticism. For you it is also a perfect opportunity to work on your negotiation skills.

See a list of universities, academies and colleges in United States here.

Beast-mode on like a Hong Kong native

One might think they are fully capable of handling study-stress and upcoming finals like a boss, but then there are always the students from Hong Kong. Emerging from one of the world’s top economic hot spots in Southern China, Hong Kong natives have learned to work hard towards excellence in order to stand out from the crowd.

The local studying culture is extremely competitive, and the amount of effort they put forth during their studies is something one can see only in top universities of the Western world. Student hostels can be noisy long after midnight, and 24/7 learning spaces full until 4am. All-nighters are common before big presentations or finals.

Therefore, when you really need to meet all those deadlines, Hong Kong natives prove it: you can pull it off a whole lot in a very short period of time. Watching them work this hard tells that you can do it too, especially when you are young, confident and capable!

Feeling competitive yet? Hong Kong has nine universities to choose from, the Chinese University of Hong Kong having the largest number of student ratings on Study Advisory.

Learn to be as efficient as a Finn

Once you engage in a study group with a Finn, you can always count on them to deliver. They are humble, conscientious and respect efficiency. As a legacy of former Nokia engineer inspired work culture, what they don’t appreciate is meaningless dabbling that brings on little results. In general that keeps meetings with Finns short and productive. Killing the brainstorming and free-flow of ideas? Maybe. However, every once in a while keeping it short and simple is what guides you and your study mates through a fully booked week.

The best thing about working with Finns is that the next time you meet with your Finnish group, everyone has done exactly what they promised to do in the last meeting– and they expect you to do the same. Engage in a group work with a Finn if you need good results efficiently. Maybe even bring along those Spanish classmates as well in order to mix things up a little!

Study Advisory has a great deal of highly rated places of learning in Finland. Go and check them out.

Handle pressure like a Colombian

One of my friends did a volunteering job in Colombia, South America. While she had some difficulties with local habits, (such as the more relaxed perception of time and scheduling) she noticed that they were able to handle stress and pressure extremely well.

They can manage to keep it together even in situations where they are expected to perform and they have nothing ready to be presented. Panicking is unnecessary and it usually just stops development short. The key is to always be able to act, and finally, to be happy with the final result. Trust yourself: you did the best you could in the given situation.

Do you have great experiences from a Colombian university and local student life? Be the first one and rate your university on Study Advisory, and be sure to share your own study hacks.

Ready to make your own experiences?

Take the biggest leap forward in educating yourself and start building your own future abroad. Keep these study hacks handy to help you maximise your studies! Use Study Advisory’s search tool and find the best choice for you among nearly 12,000 universities in our database!

Written by Nelli Koutaniemi

Goals: New Year, New Possibilities!

First of all, allow me to introduce myself! I am Aija, the new marketing intern at Study Advisory. I’m happy to start my internship here in Hong Kong, especially as the Chinese New Year celebration has already begun, and I’m so excited to see what will happen this week!

The start of every year is a time filled with optimism, hopes and aspirations. It is when plans and goals are made. I just met one of my own long time goals – to live in Hong Kong!

I am from Finland and I have travelled a lot around the world. During the years I have done several student exchanges; I have studied in Mexico, South Korea and Germany. I need to admit, it’s pretty crazy to do three student exchanges in less than two years, but for me it was an adventure to meet new people and to get to know about other cultures. As it is my final year studying at university, I wanted to do an internship before graduating, and then I magically found myself in Hong Kong!

So in the spirit of Chinese New Year and the hope of new beginnings, I would like to say a little bit about how to reach your study goals in 2016.

Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is in full swing! What are your goals for 2016?

Setting goals

What’s sad is that most people fail to realize their goals. In most cases it is only because goals are not 100% clear and therefore it is difficult to know what actually to do to achieve these goals.

Some might be struggeling to decide where to study. Luckily, Study Advisory was founded to help students make the best possible decisions for possibly the most important decision of their life: knowing what and where to study.

Which university? What to study?

When trying to decide where to go and what to study, it is good to consider the following things. So, grab your pencil and write down the answers to what is important to you when deciding your future study place and career path.

  • What am I’m interested in?
  • What do I want to study?
  • What will I learn?
  • Do I have the appropriate grades/ background for it?
  • How flexible is the program?
  • Do I want to study abroad?
  • Do I want to gain work experience while studying?
  • Do I want a programme that leads to a specific career or a variety of careers?
  • What do I want from the study location?
  • What do I want to do while I am not studying?
  • What type of institution is best?
    • New/ old?
    • Vocational orientation/ research-led?
    • Campus/ city?
    • Big/ small?
    • How many students?
    • Where do the students come from?
  • What is the level of competition among peers?

Most people go to university only once, so it’s important to think broadly about what you want to study and where. Surely, after graduation you want to be able to say, “I enjoyed my time”. It is all about the overall experience – not just top ranking.

What do rankings mean?

There are both official (state sponsored) rankings and are unofficial (newspaper) rankings. Each ranking list uses different definitions, criterias and indicators to measure quality and different weights for each indicator. For this reason, the ranking results are also very different. Have a closer look at the rankings and you may find that the aspects covered by one of the ranking is more important to you than those included by another ranking.

Universities can be ranked very differently on different lists due to the criteria used – not just the characteristics of the school itself.  What these lists can provide is a good starting point for researching different universities, and can even help you discover universities you have not even heard of before.

Deciding moment

You can use rankings as one of the, rather than just the, source of information to research universities. Just because a university is at the top doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right university for you. Equally, just because a university is towards the bottom doesn’t mean it isn’t right for you.

Every student looks for different criteria in a university. Decide on your priorities up front. The most important things to you could be the content of the course, or the distance of the university from your home, or even the entry requirements or the long-term career possibilities. Create your own list of courses and universities based on these priorities.

In the end, your top 10 list may be completely different from any magazine’s—or even from your best friend’s list.  So don’t take the rankings too seriously—the most important question is what university is the right fit for YOU?

As a hint of advice

Do your research, be realistic. Ranking is just a way of measurement. Look at the indicators that matters to you. Think beyond the rankings. Do what you enjoy. If you have studied abroad it shows that you are not afraid of challenges!

From all of us in Study Advisory, we wish a happy Chinese New Year, and we hope that we have helped you plan for achieving your study goals! Go out in the world and face new challenges head-on, grow and discover just how awesome you are!

Goals for 2016
Happy Chinese New Year from Study Advisory!

6 tips on how to study economically abroad

Let’s hear top tips from Maria, one of the Co-founders at Study Advisory, who has years of experience from the banking industry. Bring it on, Maria!

There is a lot to consider before going to study abroad; Where to study, where to live, how to get there… Planning can be one of the best things before heading abroad to study. I remember having planning nights with my friend before leaving to study abroad. It was so exciting! I never thought that I would say so but although being impulsive, young, wild and free it really is a good thing to make plans in this matter.

This post is the story of my exchange studies: what I learned about planning and budgeting my studies abroad few years ago – and by few years I mean six. Wow! Was it that long ago? Well, time flies when you’re having fun. Here are some pieces of advice for how to study economically abroad.

Advice 1. Choose a cheaper place to study. There is a big difference in budget if you are going to study in Oslo, Norway or in Bali, Indonesia. Use a price index when comparing your options to get an idea of living costs in a certain area. Cheap and cool options are Thailand, Vietnam or Philippines, for example. (Find more information on www.expatistan.com or www.priceoftravel.com)

Top tips for a cheaper study abroad experience
It is easier than you think to study economically!

Advice 2. Look up every possible way to fund your studies abroad well before your trip. Is there a possibility for a scholarship, financial aid or student loans? Is there a local company or a trust that provides sponsorships? You can start with our Study Advisory Scholarships.

Advice 3. Make a budget. How much are your living costs per month? Rent, food, transportation, partying… Write everything down to get a realistic idea of your consumption. For example, in Vienna a bottle of wine is four times cheaper than in Finland. And for the record this had nothing to do with me choosing Vienna six years ago 😉

Advice 4. How to top-up your budget? Work and save money, sell stuff and rent stuff. Did you know that people rent almost anything today? Bikes, guitars or even dogs. Do you have an extra bike, for example? Another buck earned. (Find more information: www.renthything.com)

Advice 5. Try to stick to your budgetbut prepare a plan B in case that something goes wrong. A recent study says that 8 of 10 travelers spend more money than they have planned. I’m definitely on that sad group of 8, but then again, I usually don’t mind. So, make a budget and add 20 % extra and then you might be close to your actual spendings. Otherwise you might end up selling your blood to finance your partying abroad… (This real story came from a medical student and yes, in some countries they pay you for blood donation and of course organs too… but please keep that at least in somewhere near Plan W).

Okay, so back to business with some plan B options: get a part-time job, get a credit card, stash some extra cash and try not to use it if it’s not an emergency (this one is hard – I know). You can also just leave really specific and easy directions for your parents how to send you money abroad quickly. (Find more information: www.westernunion.com)

Advice 6. Travel plans. Here are some easy tips for travelling cheaper: be flexible with travel dates (some studies say that Tuesday is the cheapest day to travel), follow travelling-related newsletters, sign up for e-mail notifications from airlines, become a Facebook and Twitter fan for travel sites, use low cost carriers, remember to ask student discounts and keep an open mind when travelling =)

Hopefully you will find that these pieces of advice are helpful. Finally, my last plea in this manifest: if you are still hesitating whether to go and study abroad… stop that immediately! Now that you have some advice in your pocket on how to study economically, go out there right now – study hard, party hard and enjoy the world!

Explore the world economically!