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Students choose to study abroad for many different reasons: to attend a world-renowned school, to get out of their comfort zones, or to release themselves from the boundaries drawn upon by their parents. What a school across the pond brings is the chance to see the world, get enriched in a new culture, and earn a degree all at the same time. And as new grads who desire to tread in new waters, grad school abroad is a top option. 

But where to, you askAsia continues to be recognized as a reputable place to study for international students. According to, three of the top ten best places to study abroad in 2015 are in Asia. 

If taking your grad school studies to the other side of the world peaks your interest, start by conducting your research. The universities abroad that open their doors to international students provide further information on their websites regarding admissions and visas. You can also consider attending a grad school fair, most commonly scheduled for September to November of each school year. Get all the information you need to make the best decision for you, and to take your education to the next level. Next stop: Asia. 

The Chinese University of Hong Kong Business School 

The MBA at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) is one of the oldest running programs in Asia as it reaches its 50th anniversary in 2016. Despite being the most historic, the MBA program is also recognized as a top ranked business school in Asia. 

“Our EMBA was ranked 24th and MBA 30th worldwide by Financial Times in their most recent rankings,” says Lawrence Chan, administrative director of marketing and student recruiting at the university. “CUHK is also among the top 50 universities in the world according to the QS worldwide rankings.” 

The program offers four areas of specialization: Chinese business, finance, marketing, and entrepreneurship, and is considered a culturally rich program with students from all over the globe. 

“Ninety per cent of our full-time MBA students come from outside of Hong Kong,” says Chan. “The admissions process will be very similar to other top business schools in North America or Europe where everything is done online.” 

In addition, students should have at least three years of work experience after post-secondary, provide a written statement, include their GMAT score, academic transcript, and references—much like how it is processed here at home. 

“We typically will have students from around 20 countries studying in our program and they are welcome.” 

National University of Singapore, Graduate School for Integrative Sciences and Engineering 

The doors are open for international students looking to attend National University of Singapore’s (NUS) PhD program at the Graduate School for Integrative Sciences and Engineering. NUS embraces graduates who envision true innovation without boundaries,” says Ho Wei Min, manager at the university. “Our PhD scholarship is awarded to talented students with an aptitude for innovative, high-calibre PhD research.”  

Students will take on different levels of disciplinary research and education, in specializations of their choosing. Some areas include bioengineering, computer science, manufacturing technology, and structural and chemical sciences.  

Wei Min says that students are constantly challenged to expand their knowledge past their fields of research or specializations. “They have easy access to research and expert knowledge, and are able to meet and interact with world experts on local and international platforms.” 

And aside from the high-level education students receive at NUS, the university has also proudly enabled its students to practice and work on a worldwide scale, from Asia, Europe, and back home in North America. 

“Our graduates do not confine themselves to developing their careers in their home countries,” says Wei Min. Many of their graduates either take up a post-doctoral program, continue their research in both private and public sectors globally, and some even take an entrepreneurial route and start their own companies. 

The global advantage 

Asia is a favourable place to study, especially for young business professionals. Many new financial institutions are setting up shop and providing new grads with career opportunities. 

“Asia is definitely on the rise in the world’s economic map,” says Chan. There will be substantial investments in trillions of dollars in the next 10 to 20 years. Most multinational companies are putting a strong emphasis on future investment and business development in Asia.” 

With an MBA abroad, students will get international exposure—a factor taken into high consideration for employers. “Everybody needs to step out from their comfort zone and learn about the outside, in addition to their home country, [and] employers always prefer people who are adaptable, mobile, and can fit in a multi-cultural environment,” says Chan. “For Canadians, studying abroad in Hong Kong will offer all the above, adding that many international students opt to remain in Asia to continue their careers. 

Research is a huge component to the PhD program at NUS’ Graduate School for Integrative Sciences and Engineering. According to Wei Min, he sees a “general decline in research funding in the west, including in Canada,” while Singapore still has steady numbers in research funding, and its commitment to beefing up resources and its research infrastructure. 

This is instrumental in attracting international research talents as well as [research and development] companies across a wide variety of disciplines in sciences and technologies to Singapore,” he says. “For anyone seeking to tap into a robust research infrastructure, a vibrant research culture, and an international pool of top-of-the-draw research scientists, or to establish and pursue a promising career in research, Singapore should be one of the top options to consider.”   

And as much as studies are top-of-mind, Wei Min also boasts about culture in Singapore and the experience international students will have living in Asia. “By most metrics, NUS enjoys a global standing as one of Asia’s top universities and amongst the world’s top 30,” he says. “[Its] vibrant residential life and exciting cultural and sporting pursuits add to the learning and living experiences.” 

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