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Mar 19 / George

Getting an advantage when studying law with internships

Choosing law as a career is an ambitious move that requires dedication, commitment, and an ability to stand out in the crowd. It’s a fiercely competitive world, and like in all job markets, the right vacancies are scarce; employers naturally look towards those with the most experience. An internship is the perfect way to beef up a CV and gain some invaluable experience – not just in your career, but in life. Law internships are available around the world – here’s a look at why they’re worth doing:

Meet employers’ expectations

As with many careers, legal employers will now expect most prospective entry-level employees to have at least one internship under their belt. An internship on a CV signifies many things: it proves to the employer that the person is serious about their career path and committed to certain goals; it demonstrates initiative and resourcefulness; and it provides evidence of relevant working experience. Plus, in an increasingly competitive jobs environment, an employer will always pick a candidate with internship experience over a candidate without.

Gaining important experience

Four years of law school cannot amply prepare you for the real thing. Your studies can only ever be theoretical – an internship thrusts you into the practical world of law, and gives you insights that no textbook could ever provide. Being right in the heart of the daily working life of a practice gives you a chance to see the logistical side of your profession and shadow veterans of the field.

Garner new perspectives

An internship is not just about making cups of tea and working long hours. It’s also an opportunity to get outside your comfort zone and experience a new way of looking at the world. Taking an internship abroad can shed new light on your chosen career and give an insight into other cultures and people. There are a huge number of volunteer projects for law students or graduates in vulnerable parts of the world, dealing in human rights and other urgent ventures. Check out some of examples of available programmes offered by companies such as Projects Abroad UK.

Opportunity for job offers

If you make a dazzling first impression and throw yourself into your internship, people will notice. Job offers can come from internships and in fact are a major source of new hires among law firms – for many employers, an internship is like an extended job interview, a chance for them to observe how you work and test how you might fit into the company. With every internship it’s vital to be positive and hardworking throughout – even if a permanent position doesn’t arrive, you will still make contacts that you may use again in the future.

Resource box

Should You Do An Internship

About.com explains why internships are so important.

Five Benefits of an Internship in a Law School

Yahoo! lists benefits for a law school internship.

Work Experience Abroad

Prospects details the advantages of a foreign internship.

Feb 26 / George

The benefits of improving your English language skills

beyondknowledge_1

Developing a second language is one of the most valuable skills a person can learn in today’s globalised and increasingly international world.

English is officially spoken in more countries than any other language, making it a valuable tool which can open doors in life, both personally and professionally.

If you’re considering brushing up on your language skills, here are five reasons why improving your spoken and written English is a worthwhile investment in your future.

Access more culture

Today many of the most important cultural publications and productions are made for English audiences.

This includes things like TV shows, essays, books, song lyrics and films. While there often are translations available, clumsy conversions and unique cultural allusions can often mean that the inherent meaning is obscured or lost.

Alternatively, developing strong and confident English skills allows you to access a whole new world of exciting arts and culture.

The language of business

In today’s multicultural and globalised world, more and more businesses conduct their trade across national borders. As international markets grow, having good spoken and written English is an invaluable corporate communication tool.

While entrepreneurs in Germany might not speak fluent Cantonese, or businessman in America feel confident with their Japanese, it’s not uncommon for each party to have strong English language skills. This makes it a great bridging language that enables companies to develop new markets and explore different business opportunities.

The opportunity to travel

The list of countries that uses English as an official language ranges from Canada to Malta, Namibia to New Zealand. Such a diverse range of countries also makes for an exciting list of potential travel opportunities.

Speaking English confidently is a valuable tool if you ever want to hit the road travelling, as it allows you to access new cultures and comfortably interact with the locals. When you speak the native language whilst travelling abroad, you’re also more likely to meet new people and make new friends.

If you’re keen to start travelling, why not consider taking an English language course overseas? There are English courses available in UK destinations like Exeter, Bawdsey and a range of London locations including Camden and Hyde Park.

Enhance your employability

If English is arguably the language of the business world, strong English language skills will improve your chances of corporate success.

Listing another language on your CV can dramatically improve your overall employability. Not only does it prove to employers you possess a keen intelligence to learn new skills, it also demonstrates a global perspective and skillset for business.

Follow in other successful footsteps

If you’re still not sure whether learning English is a beneficial skill, why not consider the long list of celebrities who have succeeded thanks to being bilingual?

Some of the famous names who have developed successful international careers thanks to a second language include Arnold Schwarzenegger, Roger Federer, Celine Dion and Shakira.

Keen to find out more about improving your English language skills? Then simply see the links below to discover the right English language course for you.

Resource box

The Telegraph

An article exploring the many benefits of learning a foreign language

The Independent

Top reasons why language skills are so worthwhile

The Guardian

An article looking at the cost of studying abroad

Jan 31 / George

Five creative things you can do with a label printer

Custom made jars

A label printer can help you in so many aspects of your life and not just with tasks in the office. The humble label printer is an incredibly versatile device whose small and compact size can sometimes mask the sheer scope of things it is truly capable of.

Of course, not all label printers are the same. From desktop tag and label printers to stand alone industrial bar code equipment, black and white workhorses to short run, full-colour digital label printers, thermal and thermal transfer label printers to foil laminating printers: label printers vary greatly in their quality, applications and speed.

South East Labels have produced a series of handy buyer’s guides to help explain the differences between models. If you are thinking of buying a new printer have a quick look at their website to get the lowdown and find out which one is right for you.

Regardless of the model you have , here are five ways to make the most of your printer. It’s time to get creative and start really making that label printer work for you at home or in the office.

1. Food labels

With some clever design and a sprinkling of imagination printing and applying a custom label to homemade food jars or drinks can give them that professional touch and make truly attractive gifts out of them.

Wedding favours such as cookies can be wrapped in individual cellophane bags labelled with the couple’s names and pictures. Labelled homebrew or pickles can suddenly acquire a touch of class: Gordon’s Grog, Al’s Ale, Courtney’s Chutney or Grandma’s Best ‘Bites Back’ Pickle?

2. Give your photos a ‘mat’ finish

Here’s another creative use for that printer. You can apply a photo printed on a custom label to a coaster to quickly make your own personalised drink mats. These are fantastic inexpensive gifts to send out as a thank-you for newborn baby presents, as wedding gifts or as extras to pop in the party bag for children attending a birthday.

3. Disc-cover your inner designer

So you have agonised over the selection and sequencing of a gift compilation of your favourite music or video clips. You may even have designed the perfect jewel case using a collage of images. Unfortunately you are still left with an ugly, if shiny, disc inside the case. A custom printed label to the disc itself will help round off the perfect present.

4. Make Easter your own

This Easter your label printer can help you make a personal gift that will be fondly remembered.

Take some small glass jars and fill them with a carefully chosen selection of sweets. Next use your printer to run off customised labels for each recipient and you will have a delightful looking gift that is so much more special than the usual mass produced chocolate egg.

labelling jars

5. Make your office the Post Office

You can forget queuing for stamps because your label printer can help you to print postage stamps directly from your computer without leaving the office. What’s more you will not even need to lick them to affix them to your letters!

Useful links

More custom label ideas
Get inspiration for hundreds of custom label uses.

Wine label design
Hundreds of ideas for artistic wine label designs.

CD design
Looking for ideas for designing your CD? Look no further.

Jan 15 / George

Give a new life to your home

With a new year starting, why not take the opportunity to make some changes in your home and give it a new start too. Whether your décor needs to be refreshed or you are tired about seeing the same old furniture and arrangements, you can easily – and without spending much – give your house a new life. All you need is a bit of imagination, some paint or varnish, some accessories and some elbow grease. Plan what you want to do; get everything ready and wait for the next rainy week-end to get starting.

New colours and small details

You don’t need to throw away all your furniture to change your interior, but if there are some that you feel are taking some space for nothing or have done their time, then get rid of them. You can replace those that need cheaply by looking in charity and second hand shops. Any furniture can be given a new life with a bit of sanding, and a lick of paint or varnish.

Pick a colour theme for a room and match furnitures and walls. You don’t necessarily mean to paint all the walls and all the furnitures, in fact, try to be subtle. You can for example have one wall coloured and the other three white, and paint the frame of a mirror, the top of a table, the seat of a chair or the doors of a cupboard of the same colour.

Pay attention to details, they are what rounds up a décor. Think about pillows, curtains and blinds, but also lamps, vases, photos and paintings. But, as for the paint, go easy on the accessories. You want them to complete the room, not to take over. Once you have started redecorating, you will take pleasure in researching the things that will give your house a new lease of life.

Jan 7 / George

Five essential elements of a rounded education

Studying a wide range of subjects

A rounded education balances academic subjects with creativity, sports and languages to achieve a comprehensive learning experience. Students who have had a rounded education are more likely to understand the value of learning and will gain a thirst for knowledge which will lead them to be the best they can possibly be.

Here are five essential elements of a rounded education.

1. Studying a wide range of subjects

Students often focus on a few niche subjects that they know they will need to get a particular job. While it is of course important to study the sciences if you want to become a doctor, and history to become a lawyer, a well rounded person will not exclude subjects because they are ‘irrelevant’.

Every subject is relevant and every subject has value in making you a rounded person and in helping you understand the world you live in. Art and writing nurture creativity and are useful outlets for emotion, music teaches discipline and learning foreign languages is important to understand and learn about other cultures.

2. Picking up extra-curricular skills

As well as learning a broad range of subjects a well rounded person will make the most of educational resources to pick up extra skills. One of the most important of these is learning a musical instrument. Listening to and playing music increases the capacity of your memory. It also teaches discipline, perseverance, coordination and concentration.

On top of all this it helps improve mathematical ability. Equally important is drama. Not only does it improve literacy – especially important if your child speaks English as a second language – it helps with public speaking, confidence and communication.

Drama teaches students to work together, to empathise and understand emotion, and to listen to the viewpoints of others.

3. Joining a sports team

Joining a sports team is an important way to enhance your child’s education. As well as helping them to learn the importance of teamwork, it also greatly improves self-confidence.

Sports teams help to nurture strong friendships, a sense of achievement and a sense of belonging. Encouraging participation in sports from a young age will also help keep your child fit and healthy.

4. Learning life skills

A rounded education encourages students to learn important life skills. As well as the social and team work skills that they pick up from extra-curricular activities, it is important for them to get involved with the community.

Encourage your child to volunteer or to take part in a project like the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Volunteering and helping out others will teach your child humility, gratitude, kindness and other important personal values.

5. Thinking outside the box

A well rounded education does not just teach a syllabus, it encourages students to think outside the box. The internationally recognised iGCSE exams challenge students by encouraging an enquiry-based approach to learning that develops creative thinking and problem solving, instead of just listing facts.

Learning in this manner helps students to appreciate the knowledge they are gaining, instead of feeling like they have to learn to pass exams.

A well-rounded education will continue to serve a student long after they have left school. One way to help your child gain a well rounded education is to send them to a school which has the best facilities.

Boarding schools in the UK, including the Alexanders School, invest a lot of time into pupils, with one-on-one tutorials, up-to-date equipment and fantastic extra-curricular facilities. For more information about Alexanders School visit their website.


Useful links

BBC
The BBC’s online learning page has facts, games and information on studying in the UK.

Helium
Helium defines what it means to have a well-rounded education.

Cambridge International Examinations
The website has information on the internationally esteemed iGCSE.

Dec 19 / George

Positivity is Good for the Mind

Your actions, your future and everything involved in your life are affected by your mental attitude and how you approach people, situations and life in general.

These 12 steps show how you can think with a positive attitude and essentially have a healthier mind:

Dec 10 / George

5 things an IB school can provide for your child

beyondknowledge__blog_2

International schools provide a way for children to learn a new language while following an academic programme, such as the International Baccalaureate. IB schools offer opportunities for your child to learn through classes, activities and daily interactions with adults and other children. If you have recently relocated to the UK, and are looking for a way for your child to become accustomed with their new home, an international school can provide support and structure in learning so that your child can become confident quickly. Here are five things an international school can do for your child.

Learning

Your child will still be using their inbuilt language-learning skills to learn how to speak their native language. They’ll soon find that they can use these same skills to pick up a new language.

In their early years, children have an enormous capacity to learn as their brains make new connections all the time. Taking on a new language at an IB school at this age is a great way to ensure a skill for life ? they will easily be able to use their existing skills to learn English in the same way they learned their native language.

Language students

Play

At an IB school, children have a chance to learn through play. They can then pick up a new language through taking part in activities with adults and other children. By doing this, they can make sense of the new language more easily through the shared activity.

Extra-curricular activities can provide balance to classroom learning and help your child learn with enthusiasm. Games or discussions which are fun and flexible provide a way for children to express themselves using their new language, and learn different terms and phrases at the same time. Visit IC School in London for examples.

Encouragement

At an international school, children have a chance to fit language learning around a daily academic programme. School programmes at an IB school tend to be informal and children do not have to learn so many facts and figures early on.

As there is a balance between language-learning and academic skills, your child can focus on learning without the pressure of getting high grades or passing standardized tests. The IB curriculum generally has a lot of flexibility in helping your child learn.

Language student

Support for the future

It’s a well-known fact that children who have the chance to learn a second language at a young age will find it easier to pick up another language later in life. Picking up third, fourth, or even more languages is easier than picking up a second.

The skills that your child will pick up while learning a new language will be encouraged and nurtured within the environment of an IB school. This will put them in good stead for future learning should they decide to pick up another language later on.

A global perspective

If your child is able to naturally acquire a new language, rather than learn it academically as an adult, they’ll be more likely to develop better pronunciation and have a better feel for the language and culture. As children get older, their ability to learn a new language diminishes. This depends on the individual personality traits of each child, however young children are able to adapt to different cultures more easily.

International schools generally have a large mix of pupils from all around the world. Joining in with this kind of environment can help your child develop a strong global knowledge and awareness of different cultural norms.

Resource box

Carol Read’s ABC of teaching children

A guide to good teaching practice

How young children learn language

An article from Scholastic Books

Learning languages for children

An article from NetMums

Nov 19 / George

Some Technology Gadgets for 2013

Gadgets are these little additions that can make work and our daily lives more exciting or easier, or even both. These days, technology gadgets are used by everyone, techies or not and will probably come on the top of many Christmas and birthdays present lists. If you really like to have the latest gadgets before everyone else, here are a few that you should look into for 2013.

Wristband charger

The more evolved the phone and the more functions you use it for, the quicker the battery gets used. We have all found ourselves with a phone or an mp3 player which battery died while we still needed to use it. And of course, this always happens when there isn’t any charger available. Well, with a wristband charger, the power is literally in your hands! Just charge it and strap it around your wrist when you’re on the move and can’t afford to run out of battery.

Laser projection keyboard

projection keyboard

If you are frequently using an iPad or even an iPhone to type documents or loads of text messages, you’ll know that this can be a tedious task. Fortunately, you can now project a keyboard on any surface and type like on a computer. All you need is a device than connects wirelessly to your screen and a flat surface to project the keyboard on. These projection devices are much smaller than any other additional keyboard and easy to take with you everywhere.

Neural Impulse Actuator

Neural Impulse Accelorator

A dream came true for all gamers: the neural impulse actuator (NIA) transforms the biosignals of your body into electrical impulses and commands to the computer. As a result, you are experiencing a total immersion into the game. You are not interacting with your character anymore, you are the character. Furthermore, the use of a NIA can reduce your reaction time by 50%, giving you a better accuracy and an advantage in multi-players games.

Oct 8 / George

Smart Phone comparisons

Android and smart phones have improved so much over the last few years and are all trying to compete with Apple iPhones, which are currently the leading phone on the market. Almost every phone is now able to send and receive emails, captures high quality images, play & downloads music, surf the web and has built in Wi-Fi. Mobile phones are becoming more and more advanced each year. Below are a few of the most popular smart phones in 2012.

HTC One

The HTC costs roughly around £400, it comes with an internal memory of 32GB, an 8mp Camera, music player, web surfing and a built in email application, Wi-Fi and much more. It’s smart and appealing to the eye which makes it a brilliant seller on the android market.

Samsung Galaxy

The Samsung Galaxy s3 is another popular phone on the market costing around £450. It is very light and modern with a large bright screen enabling you to use it without any hassle. You are able to use your own SD card, unlike iPhones meaning there is no extra cost depending on the size of the phones memory. As well as this it has a built in email app ideal for work emails or personal emails. It also has an 8mp Camera which takes clear sharp shots, and of course it has built in Wi-Fi to.

iPhone 5

Finally the iPhone 5, newly released in September is very popular around the World it’s currently selling for £529 for a basic 16GB memory in the UK. The iPhone is a very sleek, light smart phone that is perfect for busy people because it can have your emails sent directly to the phone, fast internet browsing and brilliant Wi-Fi technology. It has an 8mp Camera, video playback, famous iTunes music player and much more.

Aug 29 / George

Inspire kids all over the world by teaching abroad

There are plenty of reasons to volunteer abroad, from a desire to learn new skills to having fun and meeting new friends. In fact, many of the reasons for volunteering abroad are the same as those for volunteering at home, however there is the added bonus of being able to travel and discover a new culture as well. Here are some of the top reasons to consider teaching abroad as a volunteer.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/movingmountainstrust/5049967433/

Give something back

If you’re passionate about doing good for others, there’s no better way to do it than volunteering. Across the world, there are plenty of opportunities for volunteer teachers to help improve the lives of children. Many people who choose to volunteer abroad recognise that they are fortunate to live the way that they do and want to ‘give something back’ through their work.

Experience another culture

A great benefit of teaching abroad is being able to spend time in a new country. You’ll be able to interact with a new culture, try new food, speak a new language and meet new people. With this experience, you’ll feel included rather than just seeing a tourist’s view.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/cosasia/6963789621/

Live with locals

Many volunteer teachers have the option of living locally, getting to know the people in the community and experiencing the traditional lifestyle. This will give you a great opportunity to experience your chosen destination from within.

Personal growth

Volunteer teaching will almost certainly bring you personal benefits. Indeed, many volunteer teachers say the experience has made them a better person and more aware of the problems facing the world. Volunteers returning from abroad are usually more self-sufficient, adventurous and courageous as a result of their experience.

A good feeling

One of the biggest personal benefits to volunteering as a teacher is feeling good about yourself. Knowing that you’re making a real difference to children’s lives will mean you can go home feeling that you’ve done something amazing as a result.

Recognition

As a volunteer teacher, you will almost certainly receive a great deal of recognition for your work, perhaps more than a paid job can offer. Most volunteer projects are aware of the need for positive feedback and are genuinely grateful for the time and effort that a volunteer teacher has put in.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/movingmountainstrust/5049967433/

Learn new things

By travelling to a developing country, you’ll be able to open a window onto a completely different way of life. Travelling abroad allows you to come face to face with global issues, seeing them for yourself and gaining a deeper understanding of the world. You’ll also be able to learn about little things – meals, greetings and unique experiences which you would not gain otherwise. While you may be doing the teaching, you’ll learn plenty for yourself.

Friendship

Many volunteers find lifelong friendships through their volunteer work. While making friends is an added bonus, it’s a great incentive to go. You and your fellow teachers will all be bonded by your experience and much more able to stay in contact as a result.

If you’re thinking about volunteering to teach abroad, there are loads of ways in which to do it. Websites such as www.projects-abroad-pro.org have plenty of information for prospective volunteers. For information about how to change your life by volunteering abroad, click here.

Resource box

Want to volunteer abroad?

Information from The Idealist on teaching abroad

Why I chose to volunteer abroad

Article on Guardian website

Volunteering abroad

Information from the BBC website