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Venturing to a foreign country for grad school is no easy task; choosing the right country and school, ensuring you have the proper paperwork completed, and packing your foreign dictionary and belongings cover only a small part of your study abroad checklist.

Perhaps a postgrad in accounting will alleviate your initial language barrier fears, and open up a world of career opportunities, (literally). So let's talk numbers.

In the past 30 years, the number of international students has risen from over a half a million to almost 3.7 million worldwide in 2009. From that, just over 45,000 Canadians study abroad.

Attracting international students is nothing new for Erasmus University's Rotterdam School of Management in the Netherlands. Particularly, for the master's program in accounting and financial management, its English-instructed classes are designed to appeal to international students who are looking to enter the accounting field and working towards a designation in management, finance, or auditing.

Dr. Ivo van Amelsfoort, assistant professor of financial accounting for the department of accounting and control, explains three types of international groups enrolled in the program. Some of them return to their home country after obtaining their degree, and this is the smallest group, he says. There is a group that remains in the Netherlands to work for large international companies here, and there is a group that decides to explore elsewhere in the world'these two groups are more or less similar in size.

Similar to the examination and designation system here in Canada, Amelsfoort says that although students will receive their master's degree at the completion of the program, official designations like the chartered professional accountant, chartered management accountant, and Dutch-based registered accountant are arranged outside the school.

Given we are a Dutch university, the slight majority of our students is Dutch (let's call it the home-country bias), but we are visible outside the Netherlands for our program and the quality that we can offer, he says. Looking at the student body, the certified professional accounting designation focuses mostly on Dutch students, while the other tracks have a very nice mix of international and national students, which creates a nice atmosphere in the classrooms and which leads to interesting discussions about course materials.

Compared to other international accounting programs, Amelsfoort lists one of the school's advantages as its network. In Rotterdam, close to the fourth-largest harbour in the world, it is located in a densely commercialized area with many large companies and potential employers. The opportunity to make yourself part of this network, for instance via networking events, actively arranged and planned by the department, creates excellent opportunities for your career, he says. It is not only that you will be able to obtain a nice starting salary, but you are more likely to choose a company to work for that best fits your personality and that has a culture where you can excel as a person and develop both personally and professionally.

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