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Overseas education

langfor6langfor6 Registered User regular
edited December 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
I am being presented with a unique opportunity, but I am not sure if I should take it. My wife is Filipino, and there is a chance that we may move to her country for a few years. If this happens, I'll have to get the Filipino equivalent of a green card, and that will allow me to attend school there at resident rates, which are in the neighborhood of 25% of American rates for a typical state university.

The problem is, I have no idea how to go about finding out if the degree will be worth a damn for employment in the US. I'd like to keep my options open as far as the possibility of employment or attending graduate school in the future. I used to work in the office of a research lab, and we had a lot of Chinese and German graduate students there that were educated overseas. Although it would be nice to get a college education for $10000, the degree will not be worth the paper it's printed on if I can't use it.

Does anyone know how I can find out if I'll be able to work with an overseas degree? I should mention that I'm looking at either a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science or Computer Engineering.

langfor6 on


  • LewishamLewisham Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    You need to mention the classification of the degree.

    If it was a Bachelor's, I would doubt it's usefulness to you. A PhD and you may have something.

  • langfor6langfor6 Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Can you give any reasons why it would be useless? That's what I'm trying to get at really.

  • LewishamLewisham Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Because it's the same level of degree that every other applicant for a graduate job will have, but it isn't from a well-known country (the majority of Europe, North America and Australia/NZ). You can argue the justness all you want, but people are not going to go for a candidate with a Filipino bachelors over one with a bachelors from the US.

    Had it been a well-known country, people would have been happy to look at it on its own terms. Even the Filipino course is the most academically rigourous course in the world, employers will not know that.

    If it was a PhD, then you're in a position where you've proved your worth above and beyond other candidates.

  • kaliyamakaliyama Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Lewisham is right that a western european/american degree is going to be regarded more highly. All things being equal, you should go to an American university. I'm not clear that's your choice, though: if it's either A) filipino degree, or b) no degree, then A is the winner. There's also a lot of opportunity cost involved - if you wait till you return to the states to get a degree, then you've lost out on years of educational opportunity. It's not like there's a standrized 'filipino degree', any more than there is an American degree - it would be like trying to compare a bachelor's from Harvard with one from University of Kentucky. If there are elite/prestigious universities that you can go to on the cheap, then it's probably a good idea - especially if you plan on getting credentials from an American university later at a higher degree (i.e. terminal master's or a phd).

  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    If you're going to get a degree from a foreign institution you get it from a damn good one in a well-known country, otherwise you're pissing tuition money away. I work at a University and when applications are reviewed for the masters program they always look at what country the BA was earned in, and there are quite a few countries where the BA isn't worth diddly squat here because the level of education is so much lower.

  • langfor6langfor6 Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I'm originally from Michigan, and I've checked the requirements for foreigners to attend graduate school at U of M. I used that school because I think it's probably as good as any school I would consider attending. As long as the degree is from an accredited school, they will accept it. The metric they use is GRE score, since every country has a different grading system. I have a friend who went to U of Wisconsin, Madison for his master's degree, and he told me it wouldn't hold me back from getting entry into their programs either. Finally, my wife has a friend who is currently a PhD candidate at Michigan State University, who did his undergrad in the Philippines (he is Filipino). I'm confident that I would be able to get into a grad program in the US if I went to school, I'm just not sure if I want to or not.

    Speaking to a friend of mine about the subject, he told me that a few factors came into play. He said that certain jobs were purely skill based, and that if I could do the work they wouldn't care where I got my degree from. One of my friends dropped out of college to be a programmer, and makes quite a good living at it now, six years later, still with no degree, and was the basis for this argument. My friend also told me that a worldwide corporation would be more open towards it, as compared to a company that strictly does business in the United States.

    Obtaining my degree in the United States is not an option due to financial reasons.

  • LewishamLewisham Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    langfor6 wrote: »
    I'm confident that I would be able to get into a grad program in the US if I went to school, I'm just not sure if I want to or not.

    ...on the presumption that
    a) Your education in the Phillipines will be good enough to allow you to get a good GRE score (although the General test is so general you don't need a degree at all)
    b) You are actually going to go to grad school. Grad school is different because the rely on the GRE score, but even then you'll need to work very hard to get letters of recommendation and things from people they know.

    Of course a few factors come into play. Plenty of people drop out of university and go it alone. Plenty of people go all the way through university then don't get a job at all. The point is that on average, the majority of people who are hiring graduates will hire graduates from schools/countries they recognise as being places of good education. I'm afraid the Phillipines doesn't fall into that category.

    If you can't go to school in the US and the Phillipines is the only option then that's that, but things will be significantly harder for you than if you had attended a well-known place. A degree is better than nothing, but if you are thinking about doing a vocational job like programming or journalism, you'd be better off starting at the bottom rung of the career ladder in the US.

  • corcorigancorcorigan Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Obtaining my degree in the United States is not an option due to financial reasons.

    Well then, go for it, make as many contacts as possible, and have fun. Not much choice is there? Make a nice portfolio!

    Ad Astra Per Aspera
  • ZeonZeon Registered User
    edited December 2007
    Anything thats involved with food or safety (chemical engineering, medical, etc) wont be worth earning, simply because the laws and procedures and what not are so much different between somewhere like the phillipines and more western countries (canada, US, england). I had a friend who earned a degree here, and was a chemical engineer for 7 in Ivory Coast before he came back to canada, but when he came here he couldnt get any job in his field. The basic response he got from all the interviewers was "You have a lot of experience but of the wrong type. You've worked too long in Ivory Coast and we dont think youd be able to adapt to the requirements of doing business in canada".

    Now, if you go for something like a business degree, or marketing, or something that has possible worldwide applications after you get out of college anyway, then i dont think youll have any problems getting a job when you come back. A lot of companies opening up a new phillipines branch or expanding their market to the phillipines would probably love to have someone who has actually lived and been educated over there.

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