Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
Last updated: March 2023
TL;DR: While you wait for Covid-19 to pass, why not use this time to create a superb personal statement? A personal statement helps universities decide on who to grant limited seats to. They are looking for passionate, self-driven, confident individuals, and these qualities cannot be seen from your CGPA alone. Coding, programming, social media marketing, and learning a new language are some of the common skills to look for. Learning how to manage your finances is a key skill to have before you leave for university. Basic cooking skills will come in handy as well as finding housing and part-time jobs. These are all parts and parcel of learning to be independent, and it’s just a matter of time.
2020 is a different year. Don’t we all agree on this?
Instead of the usual rat race, the world seems to have slowed down. Businesses stop running, planes stop flying, and unfortunately, your study plans are delayed too.
Instead of feeling sorry for yourself for not being able to start university as planned or worrying if the pandemic will pass by the time you plan to enter university , why not embrace this waiting time to do something useful?
Here are a few suggestions for you to make the most out of your free time now while waiting for Covid-19 to pass, and they aren’t just hobbies, they can take you a long way in the future!
Yes, I mean superb, outstanding, eye-catching personal statement.
Are you someone who will cross out a university from your list when you see that personal statement is part of the requirement?
Writing a personal statement ain’t no easy task. Writing one that helps you stand out from hundreds of applicants is even more challenging. However, don’t avoid it.
Many universities, especially overseas universities, require candidates to write a personal statement. A personal statement helps universities decide on who to grant their limited seats to. In case you’re thinking, grades are not the only thing that universities look at now. They are looking for passionate, self-driven, confident individuals, and these qualities cannot be seen from your CGPA alone. Hence, universities are interested to know more about YOU, what drives you, what makes you want to study your chosen course, what makes you different from others, how you can contribute to the society in the future, et cetera. Therefore, a well-thought personal statement is essential in giving you that extra glance by the admission officer who may give you a shot.
The key to a creating a good personal statement is:
Writing a good personal statement is not something that can be done within a few hours, or even few days. Very often, you will only feel satisfied with your personal statement after multiple drafts. That is why you need to have sufficient time to plan out your framework, write down your thoughts, draft your essay, get someone to check it for you, rewrite it, check it again, until you are satisfied with it. We recommend starting this as early as you can as you do not want to panic when the deadline is approaching.
We all know the importance of hard skills (skills you learned in class) and soft skills (personal characteristics) in making you employable and successful. Hard skills are usually job specific whereas soft skills are personalities that make you a good fit in your work.
Although it is common sense for programmers to know programming and marketers to know digital marketing, some hard skills are applicable across industries, thanks to digitalization and cloud computing.
Today, having computing and coding knowledge will give you an advantage even if you are in a non-IT related field, just like how content writing skills are no longer just for journalists and social media marketing skills are not just for marketers.
The list of new skills sought after in the workplace is changing and increasing, and we need to stay ahead and connected in order to remain relevant in the competitive society. LinkedIn compiled a list of 25 most in-demand technical skills in 2019, something which you may want to pick up now when you have the extra time.
The good news is most of these skills can be obtained through online courses rather than a full three-year degree program. Even better, if you would like to give it a try before investing in it, there are ample of free resources available online which you can access.
A few most common skills that we would recommend that you start with are the skill of coding, programming, social media marketing, and perhaps, learning a new language!
We’re not talking about learning how to start a fire or hunt for a wild boar in the middle of the forest.
We’re talking about life skills needed to survive as an international student away from home sweet home.
We get our university acceptance letter and visa ready, but we often forget to learn how to fry an egg without burning down the kitchen or wash our laundry without a washing machine. Well, maybe we didn’t really forget about learning them, we just think that we can learn while we’re at it, like on-the-job training, right?
Most of us will think that we will know how to deal with these daily responsibilities when the time comes. However, being aware of them and learning them in advance will help you save some time and some trouble when you are in a foreign land.
Learning how to manage your finances, such as setting aside money for rent and grocery shopping before spending on non-necessity items, is a key skill to have. It is true that you won’t know exactly all the expenses you will need to budget for until you are there. However, it is always good to set an estimate budget for your monthly expenses to avoid spending more and faster than you expect.
If you have confirmed on your university and accommodation, some prior research on the living expenses in that area and places around your campus or hostel where you can find cheaper groceries would be very helpful.
Another essential life skill to acquire before you leave home is basic cooking skills. It is almost always the case that cooking on your own is cheaper than eating out. Hence, learn a few favorite home cook dishes before you go. Trust me, you will really thank yourself for these skills when your budget is running low at the end of the month or when you just happen to miss home more that day.
Other skills that will come handy later are personal care and cleaning, finding housing and part-time jobs (if allowed), mastering the language needed to communicate with locals (if you are going to a non-English-speaking country), and more. These are all parts and parcel of learning to be independent, and it’s just a matter of learning it now or later. So why not work on them now when you have the time?
In the instant world where mails take only one click to be delivered across the globe, speed is always the goal.
In terms of education, many of us are looking for the fastest and shortest path to graduate. We want to be faster than our peers, to graduate earlier and enter the workforce earlier, because speed always gives us a head start in our race.
As a result, many would forego an exciting journey that takes a longer duration and a higher risk (which will result in more time spent) and turn to the safest and fastest option.
This 2020, speed is no longer the goal.
Hence, we are suggesting another option worth considering, one that offers you a unique, valuable student experience and equips you to be truly career-ready and industry-relevant.
If you have put your study plans on hold, rethinking your options, or ready to explore a less conventional (but very rewarding) pathway, Germany could be the right choice for you. Haven’t heard about the benefits of studying in Germany? Find out why Germany is a great study destination in our previous article.
You would have figured out the challenging part of this journey by now—learning German language.
German is not only spoken in Germany, but it is the most widely spoken language in European Union and the 11th most widely spoken language in the world!
It may sound daunting at first, but it only takes two things to achieve that.
#1- One extra year of your time
Speaking of time, that’s what we all have now while being stranded at home, don’t we? Using this time to master a foreign language is certainly a way to fully utilize your free time now. Moreover, having another language on your resume will definitely give you a plus point and expand your career options too.
Our experienced team of German teachers will guide you in learning German up to the required level and prepare you for external exams. Within this one year, we also assist you with your university application, personal statement (if required), visa application, and provide you with cultural workshops to help you transition better when you arrive in Germany. In other words, we ensure that you get prepped for Germany in just one year and you’re good to go.
#2- Your heart and mind (and maybe sweat and tears)
Let’s be honest, learning a new language is not easy, especially when it is not as fun as learning Korean while watching your favorite K drama. Learning German with the goal of studying in Germany and communicating with the locals there can be more challenging. However, it can be very interesting too!
Here are a few fun facts about the German language:
“knife” is das Messer (neuter), “fork” is die Gabel (feminine) and “spoon” is der Löffel (masculine).
Hand (hand) + Schuhe (shoes) = Handschuhe (hand shoes, or gloves)
Despite having to memorize the gender of everything, German is still quite an interesting language, isn’t it? With the right motivation and a focused mind, you will find this journey satisfying. Learning alone can be dull but learning with a group of like-minded classmates and with the help of our dedicated teachers, learning German will be better than you’d imagine.
If you are willing to step out of your comfort zone, challenge your limits, put your heart and mind into achieving your goals, we are here to journey with you along the way.
German Educare was founded by a group of Malaysians who had studied and lived in Germany for several years – and loved every minute of it. Hence, rest assured that you are in safe hands once you’ve decided to embark on this journey with us. Afterall, your success is ours too!
Find out more about the programs we offer for high-school leavers and pre-u leavers.