Monthly Archives: July 2016

Chistmass Eve As A Student

If you’re studying abroad this Christmas, you’ll probably notice that your host country does things a bit different from the way you celebrate at home. Christmas celebrations often reflect the unique culture and landscape of their homeland, and if you have the chance to celebrate abroad, you’ll probably discover some exciting new traditions. Here are a few unique celebrations that you might find on your travels, so whether you’re heading home for the holidays or ringing in the New Year in a new country, check out these foreign festivities for a bit of multicultural merrymaking.

1. The Finnish “Pikkujoulu”

Winter starts early in Scandinavia, and the nights get long and dark. But people make up for the darkness by celebrating Christmas early and often. In Finland, the Christmas season starts with Pikkujoulu – festive parties that range from a few hours of mulled juice to days-long celebrations that would put even the rowdiest frat party to shame. The main feature of the Pikkujoulu is glögi, or mulled wine, but Pikkujoulu will often feature traditional Christmas foods, music, dancing, and speeches. The tradition was brought to Finland from Germany and Sweden by university students in the early twentieth century, and the tradition is found (under various names) throughout Scandinavia. If you’re studying in Finland, expect invites to one or more Pikkujoulu during the festive period and be prepared for a good time!

2. On the beach in Australia

For much of the world, Christmas conjures up ideas of pristine snow, frosted windows, and starry nights, but in Australia Christmas marks the beginning of the summer holidays and that means – time for a barbecue on the beach! While most Australians include traditional northern hemisphere decorations in their Christmas celebrations, Christmas in Australia has a good dose of southern flare. Alongside traditional Christmas trees, you’ll find Australian homes decorated with ‘Christmas bush,’ an Australian plant with green leaves and white berries that turn red around the Christmas period. Santa makes sure that Australian children get presents, but Oz is too hot for reindeer, so he uses “six white boomers,” or kangaroos instead. Jack Frost won’t be nipping at your nose during Australian Christmas, but a tan is better than frostbite any day!

3. Decorate a banana tree in India

Christmas isn’t a national holiday in India, but with over 25 million practicing Christians, the holiday doesn’t go completely unnoticed in the subcontinent. Santa (known as Christmas Baba) brings presents to children using a horse and cart, but you probably won’t find a lot of Christmas trees. Instead, Indians who celebrate Christmas decorate banana or mango trees and use mango leaves and poinsettias to decorate their homes and churches. In Goa and Mumbai, paper lanterns shaped like stars and manger scenes deck the halls of those celebrating Christmas. And like most Christmas festivities, Indian Christmas wouldn’t be complete without special treats – you’ll find lots of coconut, dried fruit, and nuts in the mix.

4. The Boar’s Head Festival in England

Many of the traditions that dominate Christmas in Europe and North America originated in England, but there’s at least one tradition that doesn’t come from a Dickens novel. The Boar’s Head Festival is a variation on an ancient pre-Christian tradition, likely practiced throughout Western Europe. It took on its current pageantry and form at Queen’s College, Oxford sometime in the last millennium. According to the traditional story, an Oxford student was walking through the forest on his way to midnight mass when a ferocious boar attacked him. The only thing he had to defend himself was a bound copy of Aristotle, which he thrust into the gaping maw of the beast. The boar choked to death, and his head was served with much pomp and ceremony in the university’s banquet hall later that night. While the Boar’s Head Festival isn’t as wide-spread as other Christmas traditions, it’s commonly celebrated at several universities, as well as various churches, in the UK and US to commemorate its scholarly origins. Modern festivals usually include a ceremonial boar’s head, as well as music, pageantry, carols, and candlelight.

5. Prayers and Fireworks in Nicaragua

Christmas came to Nicaragua with the Spanish colonists, but while many Nicaraguan Christmas traditions have their origins in European customs, some are unique to Nicaragua. Take La Purisima, which celebrates the conception of the Virgin Mary. Early in December, Nicaraguans throughout the country create and decorate an alter in their homes, with a statue of the Virgin Mary at its center. Then, they invite friends and neighbors to come and sit before the altar to pray and sing traditional songs. While the neighbors are inside, the family goes outside to set off rockets and fireworks, and afterward everyone celebrates with traditional sweets and cakes. If you’re studying in Nicaragua and are invited to celebrate La Purisima, you’ll find that each family has it’s own traditions, and since the festival is celebrated throughout the month of December, you’ll likely have a chance to see first hand some of the different styles.

Lets choose the right programm for your study

There are practically infinite master’s degree options available around the world. In fact, whatever your interests or career aspirations, there is a program that will work for you. However, it’s not just a matter of deciding on a discipline, but also about whether a one-year or two-year course of study best suits your needs. We’re here to help with a roundup of the pros and cons of each.

The One-Year Master’s Degree Program

While a bachelor’s degree demonstrates proficiency in an academic area, a master’s degree signifies expertise. Think expertise can’t be attained in a single year? Think again. While there’s no arguing that one-year master’s degrees are intensive, in many cases they’re also the quickest path to reaching your goals. So what are the specific benefits of one-year master’s degree programs?

1. They’re Employment-Friendly

If you’re already a member of the workforce, taking two years off for graduate school can seem like a lengthy detour. One year, however, affords you the same opportunity for advancing your career without missing two years of working. In some cases, your employer may even be willing to hold your job while you’re gone, the chances of which are much less likely for two-year programs.

2. They’re Cost-Friendly

There are many reasons to get a master’s degree. That said, they’re also expensive, making them a difficult sell when it’s impossible to definitively quantify ROI. So what’s a master’s degree-minded, budget-conscious prospective student to do? One-year master’s degree programs offer appealing middle-ground: all of the advantages of an advanced degree at a fraction of the cost.

3. They Have Transformative Potential for Your Resume

Master’s degrees can be an invaluable differentiator in a crowded and competitive job market. While adding skills, job responsibilities and other talents add appeal to your resume, a master’s degree is more than a mere line item. Rather, it has the power to transform your candidacy. When time is of the essence, there’s no more efficient way to accomplish this goal than by enrolling in a one-year master’s degree program.

 By now this all sounds pretty good, right? But before you sign on, it’s also important to keep the downsides of one-year master’s degree programs in mind, including the following:

1. They Offer Specialized Knowledge, But In a Hurry

Even if it was possible for a one-year master’s degree to convey as much knowledge and expertise as a two-year program, the pace will be significantly faster. For some students, this means taking less material in; for other, it leads to a much more demanding study environment. Conversely, a two-year master’s degree program gives you the time to thoroughly cover all materials in a less stressful setting.

2. Fewer Networking Opportunities

The connections you make in graduate school will stay with your throughout your life. Attending grad school for just one year shortens the time you’ll have to make and develop these connections. A shorter period of study can also impact your future references: will your teachers get to know you and your work well enough to speak on your behalf in the future?

The Two-Year Master’s Degree Program

While a two-year master’s degree covers the same material as a one-year program, it does so over an extended period of time. Which begs the question: why would you opt to spend more time and money for what is essentially the same thing? Well, we’ve got a few reasons that make two-year master’s degree programs a good bet, including the following pros:

1. They’re a Smart Use of Time

The job market is dynamic, and won’t always be in your favor. In times when the job market is unstable, a two-year master’s degree program offers a promising way to strengthen your candidacy during the off time. Not to mention that when you’ve completed your degree and the job market has (hopefully) rebounded, you’ll be positioned for an even better job.

2. They Maximize Learning

If you’re truly looking to increase your expertise in a particular area, then cramming all of that learning into one year can be a challenge. A two-year program, meanwhile, offers ample opportunity to learn everything you want to learn — not just in terms of your future career, but also in terms of your personal enrichment. While one-year programs may only cover the bare essentials, two-year programs offer the chance to delve into electives, too.

How To Solving The Equation

While Islamic finance may stand separate from conventional finance, the latest thinking in the world of finance at large increasingly places a high value on ethics. In fact, following the financial crisis of the first decade of the 2000s, business school students cited social responsibility as an integral part of b-school, leading many business schools around the world to respond by integrating ethical components into their curricula. The goal? To train students with “big picture” perspective of the world aimed not just at making money, but at making meaningful change.

In short, the next generation of business leaders has witnessed first-hand the fallout of a finance system short on ethics, and they want something different. Enter ethical banking. Also called alternative, civic, social or sustainable banking, this movement brings previously marginalized factors like social responsibility and environmental consciousness to the forefront of investment and loan practices.

The Role of Islamic Finance

So how does Islamic finance factor in? In order to understand Islamic finance, its first important to realize that Islam is not just a religion, it’s also a way of life which transcends religion to unilaterally affect political, economic, and social spheres. In fact, Muslims approach every aspect of their lives according to the Islamic code of sharia. This includes financial practices.

Comprising banks, investment firms, capital markets, fund managers and other components of the conventional financial system, Islamic finance also shares many of the same operational practices. However, the ways in which these entities are governed is very different. Why? Because above all else they’re guided by the core concepts of Islam. Economic activity can very much thrive within the Islamic financial system so long as acts remain compliant to Islamic laws.

Specifically, key practices of Islamic finance focus on promoting social justice, including the distribution of wealth through property taxes (zakat); defined state obligations; the prohibition of interest-based transactions and gambling; and the benefits of risk-sharing.

You don’t need to be Muslim to recognize the value in these practices — designed not only to serve the real economy, but also the planet and the people who populate it. And with a worldwide push toward more ethical capitalism and a rise in social entrepreneurship well underway, Islamic finance offers both a time-tested model and bridge to sought-after change.

Careers in Islamic Finance

The projected value of the Islamic finance services industry around the globe is projected to reach a staggering $4 trillion by the year 2020, and the presence of Islamic financial institutions continues to grow. Factor in a reported 55 percent leap in savings account applications to The Islamic Bank of Britain in the wake of 2013’s Barclays scandal, and the rising demand for both Muslims and non-Muslims with advanced knowledge of Islamic and ethical finance is undeniable.

If you have a knack for numbers, drive toward innovation, and commitment to principles of social justice, a career in Islamic Finance may be right for you. But how do you get to there from here? With a degree from the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF).

Now in its tenth year of operation, INCEIF has not only experienced rapid growth, but also lays claim to being the world’s only university focused on providing postgraduate studies in the up and coming field of Islamic finance. Top faculty and a cutting edge campus adjacent to CNN-declared “finance hub of the future” Kuala Lumpur make INCEIF degrees in Islamic finance an even greater commodity.