Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Cost of the exchange

Cost of the exchange, hmmm different sources tell me different things but i can provide some knowledge as to what i know and update the final figure if i get to go. Ok, the one on the right are estimates from HK Poly Uni. so with other expensitures such as airfares, it would cost presumely around 7k on top of your 5k schoolfees. (NOT INCLUDING SHOPPING)
For the US, taking UM as an example the estimates- Living expenses for one semester:Housing: $3100.00 Meals: $3000.00 Books & Supplies: $800.00 Medical insurance: $400.00 Other: $300.00 Total US$ 7600.00. Converted to S$ using a conversion rate of 1.36 it would be around $10,336. Adding airfare of estimate $2,300 it would cost $12,636. A safety estimate including some shopping and budget travelling would cost you to increase the cost to $15,000 plus $5000 for your school fees that would be $20,000. Taking note that this is a public school, private schools could cost more.
Some schools do have hostels that have kitchens and if you can cook and don't mind the cleaning that is one way to save money. Bearing in mind sometimes conflict arise between room mates because of how they use the kitchen so well up to the individual.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The race for a place in the exchange part

Many of the students that i have talked to have very little awareness of the programme. They usually know about it only during semester 4. I hope that through this website we can at least improve the awareness of the programme right from the start. This way, more students will be able to prepare the necessary work before and would not regret or waste the chance to go for an excellent programme. The recommended preparation time for this programme is 6 to 12 months beforehand.

First thing for you to do is to get your parents support and check whether they are able and willing to support you financially. Never assume, cause they might have a secret stash somewhere. Explain and justify the reasons why this programme will benefit you. Once you have your parents financial and moral support, you will have a free hand to do the rest. Most people failed in this most important step or bring it up far too late for their parents to be able to have the time to put aside the amount of money.

Next, i must emphasis again please build up your gpa. If you fail to do well enough during the earlier semester, it will be harder to increase your gpa later on with the tougher subjects. According to the RMIT website, they will still accept you if you fail ONE subject if you can convince them that it happened under some kind of special situation. Note that a pass will still pull your grades down significantly. Even though the min gpa specificied by RMIT is 2.0, the 'market' rate is a far cry from the 2.0. The market rates are mention in the previous post.

After settling the pre-requisites, the logical thing to do next is to shortlist the universities and the countries that you are interested. For example, if you choose USA then you can narrow the list of universities in the USA. You can also narrow down the other countries you are interested as well. It is also helpful to take a look at where did the seniors go (see first post). Different countries and different universities will offer different experience. For example, a more sub urban environment such as those in college towns or those near cities.

In my case, i wanted a different experience and since there were only two universities that i can choose (down from three), i have shortlisted only a few American universities. they are University of Maryland (UM), Pennsylvania State University University Park Campus, Bentley and Arizona State University.

After selecting, here comes the tough and most time consuming part. Take note, many people overlook the fact that module mapping requires very tedious and meticulous work. Go to the college website through the link in the first post.

  • Search under course listing and the period you are going. Example, Spring Course listing. Taking note that some courses are offered only seasonal so be aware of this. Look for subjects that has either the same name or very similar names to those that you have to take. It will be useful at this point to have a course guide with you.
  • After checking for the same or similar name in the course title, look for the course description and RMIT's course description. If it matches, i have presume the chances are good that RMIT will allow it. You also have to take note of the prerequisites and whether it is offered at an undergrad level.
  • The common problems for finance students is the lack of International Monetary Economics (IME) equivalent and if that's the case you have to do a module swap. Taking IME in semester 5 and doing International Finance (IF) which is more common overseas. Human resource also seem to have some problem with their majors as well. Entrepreneur also have its problems. Marketing has the least problem, usually all their modules can be found.
  • The next issue is between Strategic Management (SM) and Managing Change (MC). According to the school, they are usually offered at a post-grad level hence there will be some problem such as the course are not offered or when due to insufficient people, the universities may drop the class at the last moment. SM is a core subject, that is to say they will not allow you to take other modules as a substitute so it is advisable to do SM over here even if there is SM over there. Another module is MC, it is considered an elective hence RMIT as of what i heard would be less strict with it. In other words, in the event all other subject matches, they will allow you to take a similar modules such as Managing diversity or cross cultural management modules. ( i will tell you when i confirm my modules in 6 months time). According to the school, apparently the major and minors are also consider electives but in this case i got no idea what exactly constitute an elective and can they be swop with similar modules or even other modules. Do double check with our coordinator Hanitah.

The other issue is with immigration regulation, it states that you have to do a full load meaning to say you have to do 4 modules over there. RMIT's unique WIL 2 will be covered locally before you go and the reports send in via online submission. So besides your other 3 modules, you have to take an additional subject of your choice and subjected to availability but the good news is its not counted. Fail or pass it doesn't really matter just make sure you pass the other 3 plus WIL 2 if you want to graduate. Oh yea, you still pay normal school fees so you get one more module for free.

As to whether it is more difficult to score, i can only let you have more insights if i have been selected and sitting for the paper there. However, what i heard is they use positive reinforcement and have smaller tutorial class. One of our student with 2.75 went to UM, worked very hard and scored a 3.74 but well it will not be reflected in the gpa. However, some universities will award a separate dean's list certificate to you if you score above 3.75 or for some 3.5.

Introduction to the BBMFT Exchange programme

I hope this blog benefits the juniors from SIM-RMIT BBMFT whom may want to go for the exchange programme. Most of the people are put off by the troublesome procedures and uncertainties involved. One such uncertainity is the risk of having to come back to SIM to do one more semester. That happens when one of the subject that is a core subject is not available at the host University which i will touch on more later.

Well, for those who are interested in the exchange (RMIT students), http://www.rmit.edu.au/browse;ID=aqzclo1opvrg1 this website gives you the latest update of the schools that you can go for. The popular ones with Singapore RMIT students are institutions from the USA and HK. Ok, as of what i know, we have students that have gone to Chinese Univeristy of Hong Kong, Arizona Univeristy, Bentley College, Pennsylvania State University, University of Maryland (UM), University of North Corlina (but apparently its off now), Unitec (NZ), Ryerson University (Canada) and a German University. A frequently asked question, can two person go to the same university? The answer is apparently yes, two of our students went to Maryland together. And the average number of people who eventually go for the programme is about 8 people. The reason for this small number is not really due to grades rather cause of the reasons mention before that cause many people to pull out last minute.

I checked the RMIT website and there are about 110 exchange students going to RMIT in 2004 there were 45 from Bentley and 17 from Maryland. For grades wise, in order to compete the safety line is 3.0 which will allow you to apply for most universities. Not that you cannot apply if you have a GPA lower than 3.0 but basically you are competing for places with all other rmit students not just those in SIM. a 2.5 grade - apply for UNITEC, a 2.7-8 apply for Hong Kong Universities and for US universities a 3.0 is recommended. This is just recommended.

So first step for people who are interested is to get your GPA up first.