All posts by David Jacobs

7 Reasons to Study in the UK

As the world’s 2nd largest destination for international student enrolment (1st is the USA), the UK has a lot to offer. The British pride themselves on their multiculturalism, and the cities are melting pots of different cultures and nationalities, who all contribute to the unique flavour of each district. Aside from the weather (which isn’t really that bad), there are some excellent colleges and universities in the UK and you will never be at a loss for new things to do.

1. Cost effective

It may not be the most obvious point (indeed, on paper the costs may look quite high), but the courses in the UK are shorter and more intense than in a lot of other countries, which means you can save money by studying for a shorter period of time for the same level of qualification. Most bachelor’s degrees in the UK take 3 years, and many master’s programs are only 1-2 years long.

2. Health care

Many international students can be treated on the NHS while in the UK. While it shouldn’t be the basis for a decision about where to study, it is a definite perk to living in the UK.

3. Working part-time

While studying on your (cost-effective) course, you should be able to work part-time to further help with your finances. Many visas allow students to work up to 20 hours per week while studying, and some even allow full-time work during holidays. This can both help with the costs of studying in the UK, and help you build up valuable experience and contacts in the UK to help you get a job once you have finished studying.

4. Standard of education

The UK is home to some of the finest universities in the world, with Oxford and Cambridge always in the international top 10, and other institutions such as Imperial College London and University College London appearing high up on the listings as well. Even if you do not study in these universities, the standard of education across the board is extremely high, and is valued by employers in the UK and across the world.

5. Improve your English

If you want to improve your English, where better to do it than the home of the language? While you need a degree of fluency to be admitted to many of the courses, your English will improve considerably once you are immersed in the language and have to speak it every day. Courses are excellent ways to help you to get a foundation in the language, but to achieve true fluency and understand jokes and accents it is best to speak English every day. Employers will also look very favourably at the fact that you can speak English well enough to live and study in the country.

6. Contacts and further opportunities

While you are studying and possibly working part-time, you will have the opportunity to make contacts and impress employers. This can be an important step in securing sponsorships for work visas, and helping you to settle in the UK on a permanent basis. If you would like to live in the UK, studying in the UK is an excellent place to start.

7. Gateway to Europe

While there is a lot of discover in the UK alone, it is very well positioned to explore Europe. Studying in London, for example, means you are just a few hours from Paris on the train, or Amsterdam, or Berlin, or many other beautiful cities throughout Europe. Living in the UK is truly an international experience, and even if you do not choose to go and explore the rest of Europe yourself.

Quantum of Solace

Starting a franchise such as James Bond over was not an easy task. Yet Casino Royale was such a success that following it with a direct sequel, the first in the history of 007, seemed like an even bigger, and more delicate, bet.

Quantum of Solace starts almost exactly where Casino Royale left off. Following Vesper Lynd’s death, 007 captured the mysterious Mr. White, and hands him over to M to ask him a few questions. That is how the MI6 discovers the existence of a large, unknown organization that looks to “have people everywhere”. Following a lead in Haiti, Bond encounters a man who seems to be highly-ranked in that shadowy organization: one Dominic Greene, a classy Frenchman interested in South American natural resources.

Offering the job of helming the new Bond movie to Marc Forster, who up until then had only directed heavy dramas or quirky dramedies, was audacious.

Especially since Quantum of Solace’s screenplay hosts more action sequences than in Casino Royale. Iт fact the first 15-20 minutes of the film are all about action, so much so that at one point, I wondered if the film’s adrenaline was ever going to subside. It may sound exciting on paper, but there comes a point when you want the film to take a breath, the characters to develop, the plot to grow. Fortunately, after those first 20 minutes, Quantum of Solace finds its pace. A pace that does not exclude action (on the contrary), but a pace that also, and foremost, continues defining the character of Bond.

After so many films when 007 was just a super spy who made his charm act shagging and killing without any real deep interest in the human being behind the number, the diptych that is Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace manages to draw the spy and make him more alive and fascinating than ever. Quantum may have a more simplistic screenplay, with secondary characters less developed than in Casino, but the dynamic of the film is a natural echo to the previous installment, making it as gripping as it can be.