A University education is a challenging time for personal development, self-discovery, and character building in preparation for productive and successful careers. But how does a graduate get noticed in today’s saturated job market? For outstanding TMU students willing to adapt to the challenges of education abroad, dual degrees can be an attractive and stimulating option to stand out from the crowd.
Among TMU faculty, Professor Liang-Tzung Lin has been building international partnerships, overseeing dual degree programs, and mentoring dual degree students for the better part of the past eight years since he started his faculty position at TMU. Offered at Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD levels, dual degree programs can differ significantly in their implementation, but at the core consist of courses and/or research split between TMU and a partner institution abroad. Although the demanding study schedule should be completed within a single-degree timespan, the reward can be huge—a unique experience, two degree parchments, and tremendous personal growth.
For students ready for a challenge, international study means preparing for a new environment and a new learning style. Dual degree students can expect to share logical opinions in discussions and in writing, and to confront non-standardized tests. Meanwhile, with essentially two tailored course loads, time management and organizational skills will be essential. Keeping in mind that in the totally new environment, as Professor Lin asserts, students need to be focused and prepared and proactively reach out to supervisors on both sides to stay on top of problems that may come up.
The mentor is a bridge that helps make that possible. Supervisors and PIs can be a huge positive influence by supporting students to take a road less travelled in what becomes a triple-win situation. Students are exposed to double the educational opportunities, faculty members expand their research and collaboration repertoire, and then ultimately, the institutions benefit from the increased diversity on campus.
“University is the best time for you to explore yourself and acquire useful training,” says Prof. Lin when advising students. Dare to try something different. Rise to the challenge of a dual degree and “you’ll have the undeniable competitive advantage of a very special CV” to start off your career.