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April 18, 2018

#DefinitelyPTE: A beginner's guide to moving abroad

It is common knowledge and a source of pride that we Indians possess within us, a deep sense of history and a healthy dose of nationalism towards our motherland. Even today, if we look beyond the corruption, rapes, lynchings, murders, and overall unfairness of the legal and political system, there is still a part of us that is extremely proud of our country's potential.

However, one cannot ignore the fact that ours is a (slowly) developing nation, which despite our good intention and endeavor is lagging behind in important areas, thus marring the progress and success of its citizens. It is this blooming desire for progress, therefore, that has become the driving force behind the great Indian brain drain.
It has been observed that many Indian students have shifted from domestic education to International degrees. Some use education as a means to settle abroad, some to earn better, while some don't have much of a choice due to unavailability of certain study courses in India. It is times like these that one needs to sit down with a clear mind, and decide wisely, carefully weighing all the pros and cons of the move. It is at this point that making what-to, when-to, and how-to listicles would come in handy.

Personally, I believe that every journey, however lucrative it may seem, has its own road blocks. And being aware of them places one in a better position to tackle (if not circumvent) them completely. 
Hence, I have prepared the following list of concerns that one must consider while moving abroad in order to ensure a hassle free experience.
  • Passport validity, visa applications: This issue is faced mostly by migrants who are often cheated by recruitment agencies of sending and receiving countries by providing incomplete information of the contract period, salary etc. Students applying for visas should make sure their financial documents and bank statements are complete and in proper condition in order for their visas to be approved in the first attempt.
  • Accepted English tests to be answered: You must have heard of tests like TOEFL, or IELTS etc that are a requisite before seeking admission in any university. This is one of the most crucial steps in the admission process, and can cause repeated disappointments if not conducted or executed diligently. Hence it is important to choose a test that will guarantee fair judgement and easy execution. The best English test option would be #DefinitelyPTE. It is widely accepted by a number of universities and countries for students, immigration, and/or work purposes. A step wise approach to PTE is explained later in the post.
  • Home sickness: This plagues anyone and everyone moving to foreign lands. The place seems alien, the people different, the food unfamiliar. It is quite natural, in such surroundings, to miss one's own country and people. But this biting feeling is felt most only at the beginning, and gradually fades out as one befriends the new and adjusts to his/her surroundings.
  • Culture shock: Coming from India, we are bound to be brought up with a different set of values. Hence it is obvious that it will take us a little time to adapt to the lifestyle in a foreign place. One should be prepared to accept without judging, learn without forsaking, and embrace without abandoning what we have grown up believing. 
  • Country regulation details
  • Food: Vegans and vegetarians may take a slightly longer time to adjust to the diet. 
  • Different time zones: May be difficult to adjust to in the beginning. But one gets gradually habituated to the change.
  • Language and dialect: With English, not being the first language for most people in India, shifting to countries that have a powerful foothold in spoken English may be a little inconvenient. Feelings of low self-esteem and inferiority may set in. That aside, countries that speak a completely different language may be even more difficult to adjust to. Students, therefore, should make sure that the medium of instruction in the university they have selected is primarily English. Also brushing up communication skills and vocabulary may help make things easier.
  • Medical care and first aid: One must remember to carry a medical kit including emergency medicines, antibiotics etc from India. Medical treatment in a foreign place does not come easy, even under the security cover of a medical insurance policy. Besides, delays in appointments and a prolonged wait period is something you ought to consider when you are not a local of that area.
As mentioned above, we will now discuss in detail one of the most important steps of the process. The Pearson PTE Academic is the English language test that you need to clear in order to get accepted in any university outside India.



#DefinitelyPTE ...Why?

PTE has many benefits as compared to other English language tests, making it more convenient and advantageous than the others.
  • The Pearson PTE Academic is widely accepted by thousands of organizations all over the world. These include prestigious universities like Harvard University, Stanford University, Imperial College London, Bradford College UK and many others. This test is accepted in 96% in the UK, and 100% of Australia, New Zealand, and Irish universities. It also covers a growing number of universities in USA and Canada. (You can check the entire list here )
  • There are PTE preparation packages available (with sample questions to familiarize you with the format of PTE Academic), in order to help you acquire your desired score and gain easy admission into the university of your choice.
  • PTE is quicker and more flexible as compared to IELTS etc, and can be scheduled up to 24 hours in advance.
  • Test duration : single session of 3 hours as opposed to other tests that have different sections of the exam scheduled on separate days.
  • Faster results: Within 1 to 5 business days. So no long wait periods. 
  • The candidates can send their PTE score online to any number of universities without additional fees.
  • Wider reach, easy availability: Tests are available in as many as 200 test centres around the world, over 360 days of the year.
  • PTE is a computer typed exam. Hence it is free from all bias of handwriting, dialect, mood etc. The results are also computer assessed, making it an impartial and accurate judgement. 
  • Also, since PTE is a computer typed exam, it  would prove advantageous over other written and spoken exams, as it allays the anxiety the candidate could otherwise face with a foreign examiner (which in turn could adversely affect his speaking and consequently his test score.)
  • The test is scored on a granular scale of 10 to 90 that shows a detailed breakdown of skills. This means it helps you discern your weaknesses (vocabulary, grammar, writing disclosure) so that you can work on them. 

Here is how the exam is carried out-

In India, there are centres located in cities like Pune, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Punjab, Chennai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Nagpur, and Mumbai.


On the day of the PTE:
  • The candidate must reach the test centre on assigned time and check in with the test administrator by showing his/her ID proof.
  • The test administrator will provide the exam candidate with rules to read. Read them carefully.
  • Submit copies of ID to the test administrator
  • Palm vein scanning 
  • The candidate will be assigned a locker to keep their belongings.
  • The candidate is then directed to a personalized computer with personal headphones and partitions to separate him/her from other students.
  • There are security cameras watching over each candidate that ensure the test is conducted in all fairness.
  • The test comprises of three parts namely; Speaking and writing, Reading, and Listening. 
With that, I come to the end of this tutorial. For more information, aspirants can check out the PTE Youtube Channel here.

Remember, with freedom comes responsibility. Life in a foreign country comes with its own set of rules and regulations, which we need to adhere to. The key is to accept and be accepted. Be accountable for all your choices and actions.
Behave responsibly and make India proud. So that when you eventually return, you hold in possession not just your university degree but also a bag full of adventure, travel and memories to cherish and love for life...

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