Choosing the right undergraduate degree

Education – Study Abroad

By Pooben Narayanen

In my last article I wrote about pursing an undergraduate degree in the Netherlands, Finland, and Japan. In this article I would like to write about how to choose the right undergraduate degree.

Once you have your secondary school results in hand, the next step will be to head to university; you may have already started the process if you know that you’ll get good results. Whilst you may have an idea of what it is you want to do, you will be getting advice from different quarters, especially from your parents. Advice is not a bad thing, but are the suggestions in line with what you would like? Some of you might not even be sure of what it is you want to do next and that is also fine.

How to choose the right undergraduate degree… Pic – Which School Advisor

So how do you choose what it is you want to do? Even if you are getting pressure, advice, solicited and otherwise from everywhere, you must take time off from everyone and take an introspective look at yourself. Ask yourself what is it that gets me going? And can this be turned into a career? This is a starting point, because if you purse an undergraduate degree in a subject matter that you enjoy, this can lead to a career that you will also enjoy.

Let us say you love airplanes; in that case you can think about becoming a pilot or aeronautical engineer. But what happens if maths and physics are not your forte? It doesn’t mean you should not look into getting an aviation related career. There are a multitude of different career paths that will lead you towards an aviation related career, such as aviation management, airport handling, becoming an air traffic controller, ground operations, logistics and so on. And for these careers you can pursue an undergraduate degree in logistics, operations management, airline management, human resources and so on. In certain countries you can pursue an undergraduate degree that specialises in Airport and Aviation Management. There are options available, you need to find them. 

How do you find your area of interest? Research and lots of it. The internet is your friend, search for those areas you are interested in. What do those who have studied and worked in the field have to say about it. You should also cast your net closer to home, are there family members, friends, and acquaintances who are in the line of study you are interested in and can advise you on what it’s like? If you have questions, you can also reach out to the university departments that teach this subject for feedback. For example, you are interested in pursuing a BA in Creole, and would like to become a teacher in that language, but you are not sure if this is the right path. To find out more you can speak to folks at the University of Mauritius about the program and ask your former teachers about what it’s like to teach. If the area you are interested in is not found in Mauritius, and can be found in a foreign university, you can always reach out to the concerned department with your questions. With the current competition for international students, they will be more than happy to answer your questions.

Unless you are pursuing an undergraduate degree in a specialised field such as medicine or nursing, you must keep a certain flexibility in mind when it comes to your undergraduate degree and your career. You may find yourself in a career that is completely different from your field of study, for example you pursue an undergraduate degree in English and a few years after graduation you may find yourself working as a salesperson for an international hotel. What I am trying to say is that you should avoid pigeonholing your career based on your undergraduate degree. Your undergraduate degree is a stepping stone in your career path. It does not necessarily define your whole career.

If you are still unsure, you can always take a break from studying altogether and come back at a later date. In the UK thousands of students take a gap year after their A-levels to travel and work, many of these students aim to use this time to figure out what it is they would like to do at university. You could do the same if you have the means and your parents are understanding.

However, the only way to really know if you are in the right university program is to get started. Once you have gone through your first semester, you will have a better idea of whether this is what you would like to do. If it’s not your thing, you can always change.

Pooben Narayanen has a BA in economics and a BA with honours in Political Science from McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada. He also holds a master’s in Media Practice from the University of Sydney, Australia. He returned to Mauritius in 2008, and since then he has been working in various sectors in the country. As he teaches part-time at the University of Mauritius, he has an active in interest in tertiary education and career paths for Mauritians in a rapidly changing world.

Mauritius Times ePaper Friday 4 August 2023

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