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Friday, July 6, 2018

DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A MICHELIN STAR CHEF?

Every culture is manifested in the type of food and ingredients that are typical of the region or community. Today, chefs like Gaggan Anand, Vikas Khanna and Sanjeev Kapoor are all household names, with the fame and popularity that rivals those of cricketers and even, film stars. Even in the West, the names Nigella Lawson, Emeril, Bobby Flay are all master epicures as well as Master Chefs in their own right.

Being a Chef needs the person to have a balance of creativity and the scientific precision of a researcher to draw the exact taste on the palate as can be. Chef Vikas Khanna is an alumnus of the Welcome Group School of Hotel Administration, Manipal, as is Chef Kunal Kapoor, both of whom have popularised the MasterChef India series. However, few know that to gain exposure to European and Western cuisine, Chef Khanna has also taken courses at Cornell University, Culinary Institute of America, and New York University. Little wonder then that his name is now eponymous with the ten greatest Chefs of all time like Julia Child, Jamie Oliver, Clemens Wilmenrod, Massimo Bottura and David Chang.

In addition to America’s gastronomic inventions, Old-school Europe has always had its delights of fresh food, wine and epicurean fantasies that aspiring chefs the world over dream to master. Le Cordon Bleu, incepted in 1895, now offers a network of 50 schools on five continents enrolling 20,000 students annually. Each school offers its own list of culinary short courses and demonstrations; with fees ranging from EU 199 to above EU 18,000, depending on the course. To be accepted to Le Cordon Blue, one must be over 18 years of age, should have completed 12th grade or High School Diploma and may also provide prior culinary experience. For more details, please visit the site, https://www.cordonbleu.edu/paris/how-to-apply/en. These admission requirements are for the undergraduate program and echo across every culinary school in all continents.

For the graduate program, the student must gain apprenticeship with renowned chefs, restaurants, where fine dine cuisine and varied cooking styles may be imbibed. Along with this, each school mandates the criteria for having completed a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality/Culinary Arts or an equivalent degree. The candidate must also have excellent credentials and range imbibed through practical training and may have to give a demonstration to the panel, to qualify for a seat with reputed institutes like the Louisiana Culinary School, Culinary Institute of America, Sorbonne Institute of Culinary Arts, among others.

The term ‘Chef’ before a name qualifies an individual to be distinguished for his skill in presenting epicurean delights implementing his knowledge of sensory and visual stimulants in the use of ingredients and cooking methods. With the proliferation of media and news, the number of food based content have dominated the market, with internet upping the ante. Most Chefs across the globe have their own signature show on primetime slots as well as their own signature restaurants, a la Sanjeev Kapoor, Julia Child, Vikas Khanna, among others. Fame, popularity and not to mention, excellent remuneration go hand in hand for those masters of the kitchen, who have perfected both style, method and presentation.

Top dollar Executive Chef jobs are limited, but leading positions are available at fine-dining restaurants, and in domestic and international resorts and hotels. The average salary for an Executive Chef could well be upwards of $130, 000, depending on the property he serves. The salaries for head chefs are between $50,000 and $100,000, closely followed by Assistant Chefs, Sous Chefs and others. With top dollar remuneration, the freedom to build a brand lies in the skill of the individual who chooses this eclectic and exciting profession to become a Master in the Culinary Arts. You could work at a fine restaurant or even seed your own restaurant under your very own signature brand, like the Australian legend, Gordon Ramsey. The call to be a Chef is a vocation, where along with titillating their taste buds, you also find a home in people’s hearts and memories, with meal-times becoming occasions for people to get together and bond with each other.

The manifold increase in the price of a medical seat in India has made it difficult and unaffordable for students to pursue the MBBS degree. Similarly, it is prohibitively expensive to get admission for an M.D program, which is a must if you intend to become a specialist or teach medicine. The cost of the MBBS in India is anywhere from 80 lakhs to 1 crore, while the M.D program can cost you upwards of Rs.2 crores. Rather ironic for a rapidly multiplying population, which needs at least one doctor for every 600 persons and yet, the shortfall is phenomenal. Access to quality healthcare in rural areas remains a dream as the prices rise continuously for the much prized degree. In recent times, students have begun considering countries like Russia and Slovenia for pursuing higher studies in medicine.

An MBBS at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia will cost you 90,000 EU for a course period of six years. For admission to the Department of Medicine’s MBBS program, you need to have completed your 12th grade with a minimum score of 60 % or above with core competency in Physics, Chemistry and Biology.  The Slovak Medical University in Bratislava is the only university in Slovakia that provides monothematic education for healthcare professions in all three degrees of higher education, and at the same time, the only institution that has guaranteed complex education of healthcare workers in Slovakia under various names since 1953.(For more details on fees, course structure etc., please follow the link, http://www.uni-lj.si/study/bachelor/mf/.)

However, there is one important aspect to keep in mind for admission to Slovenian medical universities. They require that the High School Certificate equivalence be issued by the District Office in Bratislava, Section for Education, Tomášikova Street 46, Bratislava. Also, the prospective student must appear for a Slovenian medical entrance examination, similar to the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) to secure the admission. All the documents must be translated into the Slovenian language for submission to the university. It is also mandatory to submit the syllabus of completed courses or Course Information Sheets (ECTS) for the qualifying exam, 11th and 12th grade at the time of submitting the application to the university. The student must also furnish a medical fitness report to show that he/she is fully able to handle the rigors of medical school. After fulfilling all these conditions, the prospective student is ready to begin studying at Slovenia.

After the completion of the course, be it an MBBS or an MD, a medical professional would prefer to be licensed in his home country as well as country of naturalisation. For an Indian doctor, the Medical Council of India (MCI) is the licensing and governing authority for all medical professionals in the country. You must be certain that the university that you have chosen is on the approved list of equivalence degrees as authorised by MCI.  Pavol Jozef Safarik University Kosice is the university listed in Slovenia as approved by the MCI. Visit https://www.mciindia.org/CMS/information-desk/for-students-to-study-in-abroad for the comprehensive list.

Besides practising in India,, there are several other recognitions that form a gateway to practicing in other countries like the US. The link https://www.faimer.org/resources/world-directory.html shows that the Faculty of Medicine at University of Ljubljana as well as the University of Maribor are recognised by FAIMER and the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME). Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates Certification (ECFMG) is a mandatory certification for graduates seeking licensing in the United States. Since the two universities in Slovenia are listed in the WFME registry, their graduates may apply for the exam. The minimum requirements to qualify for writing the ECFMG exam are that applicants pass USMLE steps required for ECFMG Certification within a 7-year period. All international medical graduates (IMGs) should have had at least 4 credit years of medical curriculum at a medical school listed in the IMED.  Applicants for ECFMG Certification must document the completion of all requirements to receive the final medical diploma.

According to a recent article in Forbes, the US is facing a resource crisis with fewer physicians for its growing population so there would be great scope for foreign medical graduates to seek and receive employment in the United States under the J-I category. Please read the article carried by the NY Times https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/06/upshot/america-is-surprisingly-reliant-on-foreign-medical-graduates.html. This opens up several avenues of career opportunities for students who opt for the strenuous medical programs. The average pay for a medical graduate varies between USD 100,000 to USD 150,000 depending on his work profile. Similarly for a medical post graduate, the average pay varies between USD 180,000 to upwards of USD 250,000, depending on the specialty.

The plethora of opportunities for medical graduates with lucrative benefits beckons you to pursue your studies in Slovenia. Apart from these benefits, Slovenia’s small size means that it’s perfectly possible to ski or hike in the mountains in the morning and sunbathe at the coast in the afternoon (or vice versa if you prefer!). Not only that, but you can also easily reach any of the four countries which have borders with Slovenia; Croatia, Austria, Italy and Hungary. Therefore, there are endless possibilities for travelling both within, and outside of, Slovenia, as a student, in the beautiful country.

So look no further to achieving your dreams of becoming a doctor or medical specialist. Visit our study abroad counseling centers for getting more information on pursuing your medical education at Slovenia.

China has 39 institutions ranked in the QS World University Rankings 2018, including six new entries, and many of the country’s universities are included in the QS Asia University Rankings 2018 ranking as well. In a bid to compare with the best education destinations of the world, China is currently investing US$250 billion a year in “human capital”, which includes the subsidy of education for young people moving from rural to urban areas, in an effort to lessen the gap between the educated elite and rural workers.

Ranked 25th in the world and sixth in Asia in 2018, Tsinghua University is in the Chinese capital of Beijing and is a member of the elite C9 League; it is best for architecture, civil engineering and materials sciences. For all three of these subjects, it’s ranked in the top 10 universities in the world. The C9 League, which focuses on fostering excellence, is the Chinese equivalent of the Ivy League. Peking University, Fudan University, Nanjing University, Harbin Institute of Technology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, University of Science and Technology of China, Xi’an Jiao Tong University, Zhejiang University are the other universities in the elite fold.

The foresight shown by the West is pluripotent in China with the international collaborations of American and British Universities, like Peking University maintained a partnership with Germany’s Freie Universität Berlin since 1981. Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) is the largest international university in China with dual degree-awarding powers from the University of Liverpool (UK). The university has over 10,000 students on the Chinese campus with a further 2,500 studying at Liverpool on a 2+2 study route. Duke Kunshan University, a Sino-American partnership between Duke University in the US and Wuhan University in China, offers a Duke education, which is catering to demand of a dynamic and rapidly growing China.

For admission to any of these universities, the minimum qualification is the completion of the preceding program. For example, to secure admission to a Master’s degree program in Mandarin, you need to have a Bachelor’s degree in the same subject, as well as a HSK level (Proficiency in Mandarin) of 5-8. Visit http://www.hanban.org/ for more information on this aspect. The English-medium programs do not require HSK results. Instead, applicants for English-medium programs should provide recognized English proficiency tests such as TOEFL or IELTS. Although, English native speakers or those who hold an academic degree taught in English are exempted. The average tuition fees in public universities range between 3,300 and 10,000 USD annually while the fees at the international universities can start from around 8,000 USD and can lead to around 15,000 USD per annum.

After receiving admit, you would apply for a student visa. An X1 student visa is issued to foreign nationals who visit China for study, advanced studies, or fieldwork for more than 6 months. An X2 visa is issued to foreign nationals who come to China with the same purpose, but for a period of less than 6 months. It is imperative that the university to which you have been admitted is accredited for offering courses or internships to foreigners. X1 holders shall apply for a Temporary Residence Permit from the local Public Security Bureau (PSB) within 30 days upon entry into China.  They will send you a JW201 or JW202 form and an admission letter. Students cannot work on a student visa, for further details, contact the University office directly for further details.

In Beijing, China’s most expensive city, you can live fairly comfortably off of US$15 a day. Renting an apartment costs around US$250-350 a month and a meal at your local noodle joint won’t set you back more than a couple of dollars. Dormitories generally offer single rooms, double rooms or deluxe rooms. You may also request for your own roommate if you want. The cost of accommodation may vary from RMB 25 to RMB 150 per day, depending on the university, the city and the type of room. There’s no mandate on healthcare insurance as the cost of medicine is reasonable.

China produces twice the number of graduates than those produced by the United States. A record-breaking 8 million students graduated from Chinese universities in 2017. This figure is nearly ten times higher than it was in 1997, a testament to China’s building capabilities in its massive human resource. Engineering, economics and science majors in China enjoy high starting salaries and are sought after in the employment stakes. With a steady unemployment rate of 8 percent since 1999, China has seen phenomenal growth over the decade due to its strategic policies. China’s point-based work permit program has three tiers, namely A, B and C, which classify the talent for receiving a work permit. Qualified international students at Chinese universities will be granted work permits and employment licenses. Qualified students at foreign universities will first be granted work permits, followed by an employment license after arriving in China and obtaining a work visa to work in China, after completing the course of study which makes employment easy.  According to a Forbes article, a total package for an expatriate middle manager in Mainland China is now worth over $276,000 per year on average, which makes employment in China lucrative.

Chinese universities have become increasingly popular with international students. The rising numbers ranging from 52,150 in 2000 to 442,000 last year bear testimony to this fact. More than half are from the Asian sub-continent, with the next biggest number being from Africa. With their value for money and enviable partnerships with international behemoths, China is fast catching up with Singapore in the education arena. Given its many advantages, China is definitely a destination to be considered by any international student for its rich heritage as well as for being a paradigm in world-class education.

Germany is regarded as the most sought after non-English speaking educational destination among Indian students to pursue higher studies. Over the years, the country has become a hotbed for graduate education, giving tough competition to the likes of USA, UK and Australia. A lot of students eyeing for Germany as their preferred educational destination opt for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) courses.

Owing to the stiff competition that students experience in securing an admission into German universities, we have listed the following steps that shed light on how you can go about the application process:

1. Selecting the course and university

Deciding on your preferred course (and the university, according to the program chosen), is the first step to apply to an overseas university. If you wish to apply for MS in Industrial Engineering, consider universities like RWTH Aachen University, Technical University of Berlin and Braunschweig University of Technology.

Unfortunately, there are only a few programs that are taught in English; the rest will have German as the primary language. The first few semesters will be taught in English before the coursework shifts to German-medium. Therefore, it is important that one has basic proficiency in the language.

2. Considering the admission criteria

After drawing up a list of universities, check the admission criteria for each. This will help shortlist the universities that are a perfect fit for your profile.

To be able to study in a German university, you are required a degree equivalent to a Hochschulzugangsberechtigung (HZB), which means a higher education entrance qualification. Getting an admission is largely dependent on your profile and qualifications.

Additionally, you will also need to fulfil the requisite language requirements. As a lot of courses are primarily taught in German, students will need to furnish the university with a proof of proficiency – which can be fulfilled by taking the Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang (DSH) test, or the TestDaF (Test of German as a foreign language).

Note: While both tests are recognised in Germany, you should check which test is accepted by the university you intend to apply to.

3. Request for application forms

The application forms can be downloaded from the respective websites of the universities. They can also be requested by sending a query letter to the university.

4. Filling up the application forms

Following is a list of documents that need to be submitted along with the application form to the university.
• Transcripts from school/college
• Statement of Purpose
• Letters of Recommendation
• Resume (in case of MBA and other technical courses)
• Scorecard of:
o GRE
o IELTS/TOEFL
o German language proficiency
• Financial documents

Not all universities require you to take a GRE qualification. Saarland University and University of Kaiserslautern do not have GRE as definitive criteria, but they recommend that students take it. However, for some universities like RWTH Aachen University and Technical University of Munich, you will need to present your GRE scorecard. For MS in Industrial Engineering, a minimum score of 310 is deemed acceptable.

With regards to proficiency in English, securing a 7 band in IELTS and a score of 85 to 90 in TOEFL will fulfil the requirements.

To prove their proficiency in German, students can take the TestDaF or DSH tests. Check the admission criteria to ascertain whether the preferred university accepts the test.

5. Application process

You can directly upload the required documents on the university’s website. Some German universities also receive applications through the website www.uni-assist.de, a portal operated by the German Academic Exchange Service, dedicated solely for international students. However, not all universities accept applications through this website.

For universities accepting applications through Uni-assist, the processing fee is Euro 75, with Euro 15 for every additional application. For other universities, the application fee is between Euro 50 and Euro 100.

6. Receiving admission offer from universities

On assessing your application, if the university selects your candidature, it will make you an offer. Once you accept the offer, the university will send a final offer of acceptance.

7. Scholarships

Once the offer has been received, you can also apply for scholarships at German universities. Following are some scholarship opportunities for Indian students:

• DAAD WISE (Working Internships in Science & Engineering)

Offered by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), students pursuing degree programmes in engineering can avail for this scholarship. As part of the opportunity, which will allow those selected a two- to three-month scholarship at German institutions of higher education and research, students will receive a monthly stipend of Euro 650, a travel subsidy of Euro 750 and health insurance coverage.

• IIT Master Sandwich Scholarship

The scholarship, available to students studying in Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) across India, entails an opportunity to pursue their master’s thesis project work under the tutelage of a German professor from a TU9 technical university. As part of the scholarship, the students will receive a monthly allowance of Euro 750 and health insurance.

8. Applying for a study permit

Indian students will need to apply for a Visa Type D/Residence Permit to be able to pursue studies in Germany. Valid for only three months (or 90 days), students are required to obtain their residence permit in order to extend their stay. In addition, they need to show relevant financial records to prove they have the requisite funds. Additionally, you will also be required to have your health insurance settled.

For more details, meet our counsellors today, who will guide you through the entire process and help resolve any queries.

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