You can get a top-notch education just about anywhere these days. So often students limit their search to the best colleges in the U.S., but a recent rankings list from Times Higher Education found that some of the truly best offerings are a little spread out over the globe. Times Higher Education looks at five core products or performances and ranks schools based on their success rates in these key areas. They include teaching (the learning environment), research (volume, income and reputation), citations (research influence), international outlook (staff, students and research) and industry income (knowledge transfer). The top 10 best colleges in the world are:1. University of Oxford The University of Oxford is located in Oxford, England, just 55 miles west of London. It is considered the oldest university in the English-speaking world, meaning they have had quite the head start in ranking as the best university in the world. 2. Stanford University Proving that age is nothing but a number, Stanford University is one of the “youngest” institutions to make the top ten. The university has made a name for itself through the innovative research of its students. 3. Harvard University Harvard University is located just outside of Boston in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is the oldest university in the United States and has earned a worldwide reputation as being one of the most prestigious institutions in the world. 4. California Institute of Technology CalTech, as it is fondly called, is located in Pasadena, California. It is home to science and engineering students. 5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Also known as MIT, this institution shares its location of Cambridge, Massachusetts with Harvard. It is a center for education, research, and innovation.6. University of Cambridge Just two hours from the University of Oxford sits its rival, the University of Cambridge. Older than America by a few hundred years, it actually got its start from scholars of the University of Oxford who got in a dispute with the townspeople. Today, both universities are commonly referred to as Oxbridge. 7. University of California, Berkeley The University of California, Berkeley is actually the only public college to make the top ten. Part of the University of California public school system, research at the school has contributed to earthquake science, the development of the flu vaccine, and biofuels. 8. Yale University Yale University may have old bones, getting it’s start long before the American Revolution, but that hasn’t stopped it from becoming more modern with the times with it’s new neuroscience institute. 9. Princeton University The last Ivy on the list, Princeton University is located in Princeton, New Jersey. At the heart of what Princeton produces are graduates with a desire to make a difference in society. 10. University of Chicago Finally, the University of Chicago is located in the heart of, you guessed it, Chicago. This university is the home of ground-breaking research in a variety of fields, from medical discoveries to economic theory. The top 25 of the Times Higher Education rankings list features the National University of Singapore; and the top 50 include schools from China, Australia and Germany. Essentially, an amazing education can be found all over the world; and rather than study abroad for one year, students can opt to spend their entire college career abroad. Granted, the experience of studying abroad for four years is quite different from a semester away. There is a lot of preparation that goes into going away to college, and there is a lot of planning that goes into studying abroad. Combining the two requires that students set realistic expectations and get organized about what to take and what to know ahead of time. 1. Do some language prep. Most places around the world are English-friendly, but you should definitely be equipped with some common words and phrases in your new country’s home language. Dive into the language through immersion experiences, like weekly dinner with native speakers who may want to use you to learn English. 2. Expect homesickness. Many college students are shocked to find that within days or weeks on a college campus, they experience homesickness. After all, many students have been counting down the days to leave their home and head to college. For students going off to college abroad, the homesickness is magnified. Not only will you miss family and friends, but you’ll also miss the comforts or things you loved in the U.S. that aren’t readily available overseas. To help alleviate homesickness, make traditions of your own in your new home – scout out a favorite coffee shop, find a dish that’s native to the country that you find comforting or schedule weekly FaceTime chats with friends and family to make them part of your college experience abroad. 3. Get lost -- but not too lost. Inevitably, you’ll feel pretty out of place the first few weeks. You will make a wrong turn or have a miscommunication thanks to the language barrier. And that’s ok. What is not ok is losing yourself and your purpose entirely. Don’t get so caught up in the cultural immersion, travel and newness of the experience that you forget why you’re there in the first place -- to get an education.
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