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Higher education exposes students to a variety of unfamiliar circumstances. With these circumstances comes the need to learn new learning and social skills in order to succeed at university and complete the degree program. Independent studying, study, and exam strategies are the three main skills that I would need to further improve in order to complete my degree.
I would need to improve my independent reading skills while at university because I will not be able to rely solely on faculty guidance. Therefore, I will need to learn how to effectively structure my time and also learn how to make use of the reading resources at my disposal to further my knowledge.
I appreciate that research is one of the most fundamental academic skills for a university student. Therefore, I will need to further develop my research skills which include aspects such as how and where to source for academic information and how to use every style of academic writing.
Answering essay questions in an exam room where there is limited time has always been a challenge to me. I will thus need to learn essential exam techniques such as the order in which I will tackle the questions and time management.
Note-taking skills task
I will need to further develop my note taking because it is certain that I will encounter vast amount of information whether it is in the library or the lecturer room. The ability to summarize this information is critical as it will help me make sense of it and recall it in the future. There are different note-taking methods that one can use. The first one is skeleton prose which involves structuring notes into numbered or bullet lists and paragraphs and including indentations and headings. The second method is the cornell note taking. This method provides a format for harmonizing or condensing classroom notes into one page. In this format, one is required to vertically divide the paper by drawing a line from the top to the bottom of the paper at around 2 inches from the bottom. This line needs to be approximately two inches from the left side of the paper. The main section will be the notes column while the column on the left will be the cues or recall section/column. The bottom of the paper will be summary section. The mind map, which is the third note taking method, provides a format that allows one to take fewer yet more meaningful notes. In this format, the subject (which in this case could be the topic) goes to the center of the paper. The student then writes down short phrases or keywords and connecting them to the center with lines. The forth note-taking method is concept maps. Concept maps are useful when studying topics that have many ‘moving parts’ or subtopics. In this approach the topic is broken down into specific information which is represented visually. The note-taking method that will best work for me is mind maps because it helps students to develop their ideas fast since it only involves keywords or simple phrases. In addition, I find it easy to use study method which also makes it fun.
While high school provided me an opportunity to develop my essay writing skills, the essays required in higher education are more challenging. I believe that the most important part of essay writing is research. University essays require a great deal of research. Indeed, essays that students write at the university require a higher level of academic exploration compared to the expectation of high school essays. To be able to write impressive essay, I will need to read essays written by others so as to bolster my essay-writing skills. These include essays by my colleagues and those by academics. It is best to read a variety of essays and those of different subjects. Reading widely will help me gain access to the more essay writing techniques. In addition, I will also need to know now how to best highlight and exemplify what others have written about a topic and integrating my own opinions on the topic.
In her article “Language variations: Gender under the microscope” Deborah asserts that men and women communicate differently. The key to understand how men and women see the world is by understanding how each gender communicates. Therefore, since men and women use language differently, it is important for a student to understand how his or her gender can limit their acquisition of information or learning process, and the quality of their academic output. For instance, it is widely held that women are better listeners than men. Certainly, women are more likely to thrive in dependent and collaborative learning. Men are therefore more likely to favor autonomous learning or independent learning.
Referencing and citing sources can be a difficult task for students who do not have an understanding of the principles of referencing. Students need to develop and understanding of the various referencing styles since different lecturers, departments and institutions may require students to use different styles. Poor referencing is one of the ways in which students lose some marks. It is imperative to highlight areas in a paper that use the ideas of other people. This ensures that the original author of the work from which materials are derived gets some credit. Referencing such material requires the student to use the appropriate referencing style. These referencing styles include Harvard, APA and MLA. It is important to consult the lecturer on the required referencing style if this information does not appear in the instructions or where it is unclear.
Developing a Research Question
A research question helps one in narrowing down his or her topic. A research topic is only developed after choosing a topic and gathering some information about the topic. There is no ideal approach to develop a research question. The approach that I mostly use to develop a research question is listing down all the questions related to the topic and choosing one question that best represents the topic. The question should however not be too broad or too narrow.
Presentations are an important aspect of learning in all levels of education but especially in higher education. Initially, I used to avoid making presentations to an audience due to speech anxiety. However, over time I have managed to overcome this fear. Most importantly, I have also learnt how to create and present an impressive presentation. Some of the skills that I have leant to use when making my presentation include beginning by telling the audience what they will gain from the presentation, in other words their take home message. Another technique that I use to engage the audience is putting emphasis on key words in the presentation. I also readily use humor besides incorporating some emotions in the presentation which I learnt helps in appealing to the human aspect of the audience.
Topic: Immigration and Asylum in the United Kingdom
This research project is based on immigration and asylum in the United Kingdom which is an issue that undergraduate students experience. Migratory and refugee movements happen around the world. Almost every in the world has immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees. The world is currently experiencing migration crisis. This crisis presents both opportunities and challenges to countries affected. Over the past few years, there has been an increase in the surge of immigrants into the United Kingdom and other E.U countries as a result of geographical situations in a number of countries within the Eurozone. For this reason immigration and asylum has become an urgent topic in the U.K and in other E.U countries. In the U.K, the number of foreign-born population has increased by more than two times over the past two decades. According to the Labor Force Survey, as of 2015, the number of foreign-born people in the U.K constituted approximately 13 percent of the population. Immigration is an issue that has influences every facet of the U.K society both negatively and positively. Some of the positive impacts of immigrants support growth and dynamism of the U.K social and economic landscape. Nevertheless, immigrants and asylum seekers also present some legitimate negative impacts. For instance, immigrants lead to increase in the rate of crime; they also impose significant fiscal costs on the taxpayers.
Understanding the Difference between Migrant, Refugees and Asylum Seekers
The word migrant is often wrongly used to mean the same thing as an asylum seeker and a refugee. However, each of these terms has distinct meanings and present different consequences. A migrant can be simply described as a person who has moved across international boarder and lives in a foreign country for more than a year. The International Organization of Immigration (IOM) defines a migrant as a person who moves beyond the borders of his or her country of origin or state regardless of his or her legal status, notwithstanding whether such movement is voluntary or involuntary and irrespective of the causes and length of such a movement. Therefore, whether a person moves into a foreign country legally or illegally he or she is considered a migrant as long as he or she is away from his or her habitual place of residence. According to IOM estimates, there are approximately 232 million international migrants every year. People become migrants for many reasons. One of these reasons is to seek a better life and will therefore look for employment and business opportunities in the foreign countries. Such migrants are often referred to as economic migrants. Another important reason why people become migrants is to seek better education. People who migrate for purposes of seeking education in a foreign country are often referred to as international students. According to the UK Council for International Students Affairs, the number of international students studying in the nation’s higher education is approximately 19 percent of the total student population in the institutions of higher education (UK Council for International Students Affairs). The EU contributes about 6 percent of these students while the rest of the world accounts for the remainder 14 percent. Another major reason why people become migrants is for family reasons. These are individuals who move into foreign countries to join their relatives who are already in those countries. For instance, children can join their parent(s) or a spouse can join his or her spouse working, living or studying in a foreign country. There are a significant number of people who become migrants because they are fleeing war and hunger. Since the Arab uprising in 2011, there has been an upsurge in the number of migrants fleeing their countries as a result of war, conflicts and persecutions. Most of these people who are fleeing their countries as a result of war made their way into Europe through the sea; approximately 1.5 million migrants arrived in Europe via the sea in 2015.
A refugee on the other hand is a person who flees his or her country of origin because of persecution and armed conflict. A person who flees from his country because of these reasons has reasons to believe that he could be targeted for violence and persecution because of his or her race, nationality, political beliefs and religion. A refugee is recognized a person in need of international protection because their countries are not safe places for them to be (Levy 92). Through the 1951 refugee convention, the international community, in its wisdom, sought to protect refugees under the international law. This convention spelled out the definition of a refugee and enumerated the basic rights that they are entitled to. One of the most fundamental principles of this convention is that countries hosting refugees or the international community should not expel such individuals and their families or return them to places that would threaten their freedom and security.
An asylum seeker is a person who is seeking protection (in a foreign country) as a refugee. When a person flees into a foreign country, he or she will need to formally request protection as a refugee. When such protection is sought, such a person is known as an asylum seeker. The government of the country in which a person is seeking this claim or application or the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) then reviews such claim or applications. It is worth notion that an asylum seekers is by default recognized as a refugee though the refugee status has not been fully recognized.
The United Kingdom Migrant and Refugee Situation
According to the UNHCR, there were approximately 117, 234 refuges in the UK by mid-2015 (UNHCR). AT the same time, there were an extra 37,829 pending claims for refugee status by asylum seekers. This represents approximately 0.24 percent of the total UK population which stood at about 65 million as of 2016 according to the World Bank. The number of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK has increased in recent years. This can be attributed to the conflicts and wars facing many countries such as Sudan and Syria. Indeed, most of the people seeking asylums in the UK are from countries that have been ravaged by crisis and war and other forms of human rights abuses. In the year 2016, the highest number of asylum seekers in the UK was from Iran, Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan with each of these countries contributing 4,192, 2,857, 2,666 and 2,341 respectively (UNHCR).
Over the past 25 years, the number of migrants in the UK has more than doubled. As of 2015, there were approximately 8.7 million people who were born outside the U.K (Migrants in the UK: An Overview). In addition, the number of foreign nationals in the UK has during the same period of time increased twofold to more than 5.7 million (“Migrants in the UK: An Overview”). The number of foreign-born individuals in the country has therefore been on the increase. A closer examination of these statistics on migrants in the UK shows that the country witnessed the highest increase of migrants between the years 2005 and 2008 (“Migrants in the UK: An Overview”). The unique feature about this period that can be used to explain this high inflow of foreign-born populations in the UK during this period is the enlargement of the European Union which happened in the year 2004. As a result of this enlargement, the number of East European migrants entering the UK increased significantly. London is the city that hosts the largest foreign-born population in the UK. Indeed, as of 2015, about 36.8 percent of the total foreign-born population in the UK lived in London. London is one of the few cities in the world where the population of individuals born outside the country is higher than those born in the country. Of the entire London population as of 2015, only 9.7 percent of the population was born in the UK.
Reasons for Migrating to the UK
One of the factors that lead to a high number of refuges and asylum seekers in the U.K is language. English is one of the most spoken languages in the world – it is the third most spoken language after Chinese and Spanish. Most of the refugees who come to the UK are from countries where English is a second or third language. Therefore, many of these refugees and asylum seekers see the UK as a logical destination for reestablishing their lives away from home (Sales 465). Indeed, knowing some English gives a refugee some advantage as they try to integrate themselves and seek services as well as job and business opportunities.
Currency rate has also emerged as one of the reason why many migrants favor the UK than any other country. The pound has consistently enjoyed high exchange rate. Higher exchange rate are good because when one exchanges currencies, he or she is likely to get more of the foreign currency that they are buying. Migrant often send money they make abroad back home in the form of remittances. These remittances are becoming an important source of capital for many developing countries. The currencies in some of the countries of origin of the immigrants are often unstable or keep losing against the pound in foreign exchange. Therefore, migrants would favor a situation where they are sending fewer pounds back home which their relatives exchange for more money in terms of the country’s currency.
The other main reason why the UK has a high number of refugees and receives tens of thousands refugee status applications from asylum seekers is because of family connections. Like has already been highlighted, one of the reasons why people become migrants or refugees is because of family connections. Many people living in various refugee camps in the UK such as those in Calais have friends and relatives who are already in the country. Therefore, the more migrants that the nation has the higher the number of asylum applicants and refugees as more and more relatives seek to join their kith and kin that are already in the country. Indeed, family connections have always been one of the most important and also one of the strongest pulls for refugees in the UK and the asylum seekers. In the UK, refugees are legally permitted to invite their family members to join them in the country. This right is provided for by international law as well as the UK laws. UK has a family reunion visa that allows more refugees into the country every year following the invitation of their family and friends.
UK’s immigration policies are not the toughest. This has over time served as a motivating factor for many migrants who are often saddled by tough immigration policies adopted by some countries. Prior to the Brexit, the UK immigration policies were stringent. However, after Brexit, the country is proposing tougher immigration rules that will make it difficult for immigrants seeking to work in the country and in particular the high-risk immigrants.
Migrants also favor the UK because of the vast opportunities that the country offers for higher education. Every year, the UK hosts hundreds of thousands of foreign students. This has made the UK the leading education destination for many international students, being only second to the United States. International students constitute 19 percent of the total student population in the institutions of higher education. Of this 19 percent international student population, 6 percent of them are from the EU while the remaining 14 percent are from the rest of the world. The country that produces the single highest number of foreign students is China.
Besides language and study opportunities, another important reason for migrating to the UK is because of the healthcare opportunities that the country provides. The UK’s healthcare is often regarded as one of the best in the world in terms of cost, efficacy and access.
However, though the UK hosts a high number of migrants and refugees as well as asylum seekers, foreigners seeking to work in the country need to first acquire working visa. The UK Work Permits is one of the restrictions implemented in the UK immigration system. It is imperative for one to know the type of work permit that they should acquire when applying for one.
Advantages of having Migrants in the UK
Immigrants benefit the United Kingdom in many ways; one of the most compelling shining example is how migrants help putting the UK on the global map by winning the country accolades on the international arena. For instance, Mo Farah, who is Somali born, has in the recent years become one of the greatest hopes of the country’s sporting success. Mo Farah demonstrates that migrants can become positive role models in the society. It also shows the need for appreciating multiculturalism.
Immigrants also contribute positively to the society and also bring economic benefits to the country. Many people often view immigrants as people who take more from a country (in terms of benefits) than give. However, there is overwhelming evidence that shows that migrants pay more in taxes than they receive. Immigrants are therefore a critical engine of economic growth.
One of the greatest benefits of immigration is the fact that it helps to save the lives of people who are predisposed to danger and security threats (Levy 94). The UK and other countries are obligated by international law to open their boarders to individuals whose countries are at war or where there are grave human rights abuses. It also saves the lives of people who have been displaced by conflicts and persecutions.
Immigration provides an avenue through which productivity of hard working human beings can be put to good use. War and conflicts suppresses productivity of the population because it does not give individuals an opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge and make a decent living.
Immigrants also contribute positively to the labor market where many of them serve in critical industries such as healthcare as doctors and nurses as well as engineering and IT among others (Borjas 17). Therefore, immigrants can provide critical skills in critical industries particularly where there is a shortage of such skills among the citizens.
Disadvantages of Immigration in the UK
Immigrants and asylum seekers coming from countries that are in conflict or war can be a security threat to the country. Indeed, immigrants and asylum seekers are not familiar with the ideals of the country; there are practices that are illegal in some countries but not in others. Some of these practices could pose security threats to a country. In addition, immigrants are often targeted for recruitment by terrorist organization because of their desperation and vulnerability.
Illegal immigrants are often not registered. When an unregistered person commits a crime, it becomes difficult to trace them. It becomes substantially difficult to solve some of these crimes committed by illegal and unregistered immigrants; it is also difficult to apprehend them and take them through the justice system.
Immigrants are a security threat because of their anonymity – the fact that they are not known by the government. Such individuals can commit crimes and flee to another country and commit more crimes in the new countries. Therefore, immigrants pose a threat to international security.
Many countries have de facto official languages. In the UK, the language is English. Immigrants and refugees who do not understand English makes it difficult for them to integrate into the British community besides other challenges such as road signs and instructions that they will have to contend with on a daily basis.
Baker, Paul, et al. "A useful methodological synergy? Combining critical discourse analysis and corpus linguistics to examine discourses of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK press." Discourse & Society 19.3 (2008): 273-306.
Borjas, George J., ed. Issues in the Economics of Immigration. University of Chicago Press, 2008.
Gibney, Matthew J. The ethics and politics of asylum: liberal democracy and the response to refugees. Cambridge University Press, 2004.
Levy, Carl. "Refugees, Europe, camps/state of exception:“into the zone”, the European Union and extraterritorial processing of migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers (theories and practice)." Refugee Survey Quarterly 29.1 (2010): 92-119.
Migrants in the UK: An Overview. 21 Feb. 2017. 31 Dec. 2017. http://www.migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/resources/briefings/migrants-in-the-uk-an-overview/
Sales, Rosemary. "The deserving and the undeserving? Refugees, asylum seekers and welfare in Britain." Critical social policy 22.3 (2002): 456-478.
UK Council for International Students Affairs 15 Dec. 2017. 31 Dec. 2017. https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/Research--Policy/Statistics/International-student-statistics-UK-higher-education
UNHCR. N.d. 31 Dec. 2017. http://www.unhcr.org/asylum-in-the-uk.html
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