Tips to Fund Your Study Abroad

Photo: Study Abroad Courtesy of Alicia, Guest Blog Writer

A student studying abroad gets an opportunity to improve academic knowledge and also experience various cultural awareness. Students’ studying overseas also develop a better understanding of the world and simultaneously learn the required skill and abilities that contribute to personal and professional growth. However studying overseas is expensive and funding for it may be challenging. It may require taking external help for some people. There are different ways to finance your overseas study, read on to discover some of these ways.

 International Scholarships and Grants: Almost all universities offer scholarships for international students. These help   students studying abroad and are also sometimes known as free money because they are not required to be paid back. It is  one of the popular and most recommended methods to finance your studies abroad.

 Financial Aid: There are international financial societies which provide financial help for students studying abroad. These institutions promote and develop international education through various programs. Students who get the most comprehensive scholarships and grants may also apply for financial aid.

 Study abroad Loans: These loans must be paid with certain interest rates and are usually the last resort. As overseas study brings international exposure like any other investment money spent here can be earned later on. Different types of loans are available depending upon the country, for example in the USA there are federal and private loans. Federal loans may be subsidized or unsubsidized, to apply for federal loans you have visit your university’s finance department. Private loans can be applied for by anybody for studying abroad. Private loans can be obtained with low interest rates and are the best alternative to using the high interest rate credit cards.

 Savings: Besides taking scholarships and various commercial loans, it is always best suggestible to save your money by reducing the cost on unnecessary things.  Avoid luxury gadgets always ask yourself when buying anything is it really required right now. And also remember a penny saved a penny earned.

 Take a part time job: Make the most of your time and utilize leisure time to earn money by taking up a part-time job. Find the right job which allows a balance of work and university. You can find part-time jobs in supermarkets, hotels, restaurants and gas stations etc.

 Bad Debt Loans: This option may seem odd but students returning from studying abroad will have expenses to meet and their student debt will no doubt reduce their credit ratings. Once your studies have completed and you move back to your home country you need to first find somewhere to live and then a job, if you struggle to fund a deposit or advance rent then bad debt loan could be the solution for you. 

 

About the Author:
The guest post was contributed by Alicia, financial guest blogger from Manchester, UK. Find out more about her finance related blogs at
financeport.

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The Classical Beauty of London’s Much Loved Theatres

Adelphi Theatre Auditorium Courtesy of boxoffice.co.uk

No visit to London is complete without indulging in London’s oldest and finest theatres. London is home to some of the world’s most loved and recognized theatres. When in London, pick from the following 4 theatres and grab your tickets at the box office to enjoy world class plays!

The Adelphi Theatre: From “Chicago” to “Evita” to “Me and My Girl” to “Sunset Boulevard”, this classically designed theatre has produced some of the best plays for London audiences since 1806. Extremely popular for its star studded productions, the Adelphi Theatre’s shows are best enjoyed from the back rows as the stage is quite tall. The theatre is comparatively small and is often praised for its intimate seating. The experience at The Adelphi Theatre is great because of the quality of the shows.

The Victoria Palace Theatre: This west end theatre on Victoria Street is reminiscent of old British grandeur and the seating is quite comfortable and cosy. With rich velvety chairs and thick curtains, this theatre kind of takes you back in time. From Billy Elliot and Charlie Girl to Annie and Windy City, the Victoria Palace Theatre has been producing great shows for many years. Remember to stop by here for an amazing experience.

Photo: Prince Edward Theatre Courtesy of boxoffice.co.uk

The Prince Edward Theatre: Located on Old Compton Street, this theatre is beautiful and old and provides the perfect ambiance. The seating is comfortable and the visibility of the stage and the actors is fairly clear from all angles. The staff at the Prince Edward Theatre are very helpful and friendly and the theatre is very well kept and managed. We enjoyed The Jersey Boys here and were thoroughly taken aback by the amazing production. The musical is interlaced with the story of the band and even if you are not a big fan of musicals, The Prince Edward Theatre production is a must!

The London Palladium: This fairly big theatre was created in the 1900’s and is definitely more modern than the others but is just as beautiful and exciting. The seating is spacious and the theatre allows for great and precise viewing. We watched the Wizard of Oz here with the kids and loved the sets, the costumes, the special effects and the acting. The London Palladium definitely knows how to manage its productions as this one was mind blowing and exciting. Remember to check out discounted tickets online.

 

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Independent Film Distribution: A New Era

Movie Theater Experience in 3D — A Photo by © Deklofenak, Fotolia.com

Whilst specialty film represents a unique form of expression that challenges mainstream standards, as does its progression of modern distribution in the evolving era of media convergence.

As discussed in a previous report, the introduction of new digital technologies has not only influenced the quality of narrative cinema but has transformed the way in which it is consumed. According to “Indie Culture: In Pursuit of the Authentic Autonomous Alternative,” American independent film is identified as unconventional media — designed outside the limitations of Hollywood’s studio system.

Although the filmmaking process is extensive, it is essential for the indie filmmaker to determine the desired target audience before designing a distribution strategy. With several distribution outlets available, specialty features are delivered across a variety of media platforms. Therefore, movie viewing is conveniently accessible via multiple screens. “The Insider’s Guide to Independent Film Distribution,” an essential handbook for indie filmmakers written by expert film and TV distributor Stacey Parks, suggests that the indie filmmaker should also conduct a significant amount of research to ensure that their distribution goals align with the genre and format of the movie.

The following list displays different distribution channels, along with the categories and structures that are likely to succeed in obtaining distribution through each channel.

  •  U.S. theatrical distribution: feature films—all genres; documentaries—music and political
  • U.S. broadcast distribution: feature films—family; documentaries—music, sports, current events, historical, and natural history
  • U.S. DVD distribution: feature films—action, horror, thriller, family, and animation; documentaries—music
  • Foreign distribution: feature films—action, horror, thriller, and sci-fi; documentaries—music, current events, historical, and natural history

Product Flow: DVD/Digital — An infographic by Jeremy Juuso, baselineintel.com

In America, only about 500 movies are released each year, including all the big studios movies, and studio movies play on 95% of the 39,233 screens in America. Generally, the real issue for independent filmmaking is distribution.

In a tight market for indie fare with limited theatrical release, one of the first companies to adopt the multi distribution model in the independent industry has cultivated and developed genuine content since 1994. A leader in specialty cinema, IFC Entertainment consists of multiple brands that are devoted to bringing the best underground features to the largest possible audience: IFC Films, IFC Festival Direct, IFC Productions and the IFC Center. IFC Films is also a leading U.S. distributor of independent and foreign films with a unique day and date distribution model, “IFC In Theaters,” that makes films available to a national audience by releasing them simultaneously in theaters as well as on cable’s On Demand platform, reaching 50 million homes.

“We try and tailor our distribution for each film to maximize the audience it reaches, and our revenue,” says IFC topper Jonathon Sehring. “Digital is something I think everybody’s keeping an eye on, but I also think VOD is still in the early phase of how valuable and important it is.”

 

 

 

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Advocating the Human Rights Campaign

Rainbow Flag

Photo: LGBT Flag/Brittany Collins

WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign — America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality consists of one million members and supporters committed to ending discrimination against LGBT citizens.

Uniting with the HRC movement carries the potential to impact many LGBT Americans and their families through active involvement to increase public awareness, encourage innovative advocacy and utilize educational and outreach programs.

Since 1980, HRC has advocated on behalf of LGBT Americans, mobilized grassroots actions in diverse communities, invested strategically to elect fair-minded individuals to office and educated the community about LGBT issues. The work of HRC has a national reach and their membership contributions make a substantial difference in a variety of ways. Current efforts include fighting for marriage equality, confronting bullying, protecting health, increasing safety and working to end discrimination in the workplace.

The influence of HRC is significantly reducing the anti-equality efforts and demonstrating signs of change and progress. In 2011, people nationwide accepted and broadly supported allowing lesbian and gay individuals to serve openly in the military through the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” In 2004 and 2006 HRC also led the successful fight against the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have banned marriage equality.

Furthermore, the organization’s Welcoming Schools initiative emphasizes on family diversity, gender stereotyping and bullying. It is an online resource for elementary schools, educators and parents, which has received a growing response of 2,000-plus people. HRC also launched the “Call it Out” campaign to call attention to homophobia and transphobia as well as promote respect and civil discourse.

The foundation provides an array of opportunities for community involvement. Participating in the social movement delivers a host of benefits including community programs and services such as special events, public policy, education and training, communications/media advocacy and fundraising.  Shopping for equality by visiting the online store, volunteering, one-time donations, donating a car or simply requesting a free equality sticker helps to make HRC’s vision of achieving fairness for all a reality.

HRC also encourages additional support through the active use of social media networks as a major form of communication. Users can connect to the LGBT community on Facebook and Twitter. For additional information on ways to support HRC contact the member services department at [email protected].

HRC inforgrahic

Welcoming Schools Response Infographic by Human Rights Campaign

 

 

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The Whole Kids Foundation Seeks to Eliminate Childhood Obesity

Photo: Whole Foods Exterior/ Brittany Collins

In response to the growing epidemic of childhood obesity in the U.S., the Whole Kids Foundation was launched July 2011 by the Whole Foods Market to support schools and inspire families to improve children’s health and nutrition.

As a reputable establishment, the Market brand develops an organization for school children encouraging company principles on wellness, awareness and advocacy. The initiative enables children to gain accessibility to fresh and nutritious meals while demonstrating its 31-year long commitment to organics and sustainable agriculture.

With company core values placed on the role of social responsibility, the Market exhibits high involvement with community-focused programs and green mission efforts.

Whole Kids Foundation is partnered with Nutrition Education for Teachers by leading a pilot program on the fundamentals of nutrition and cooking instruction for teachers.

For overweight children, the probability of becoming overweight in adulthood is highly likely unless they adopt and maintain healthier patterns. Joining forces with Whole Kids Foundation by offering donations, sponsorships, fundraising or time as a volunteer supports their mission of empowering  youth to reach their full potential and achieve healthier lifestyles.

By lending a voice to the cause, Foundation advocates contribute to the development of positive health throughout a variety of programs that promote discovery, education, and interaction.  School Gardens and Grants facilitate healthy eating habits by teaching kids to garden.

Sponsoring  Salad Bars in Schools aids progression towards the targeted goal of integrating 6000 salad bars in schools by 2013. The program seeks to raise awareness and funds by increasing children’s consumption of fruits and vegetables in educational facilities.

 

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Digital Dilemma: Online Copyright Infringement

Photo of Mentored Student by Brittany Collins

Upon completion of a professionally developed website, graphic designer Karen Jordan discovers her original works being displayed throughout an additional online platform without consent. To structure a position, the components of copyright infringement are evaluated.

According to Keytlaw, United States copyright law does not require that the creator of a work register the work with the U.S. Copyright Office. The “Associated Press” reports that a copyright comes into existence the moment an original work of expression is captured in tangible form.

In January of 2012, graphic designer Karen Jordan finalized a professionally developed website for a child mentoring organization as a freelance assignment. As verbally agreed upon, the representative for the organization was to compensate Jordan for her services following the website’s completion. However, weeks after the initial deadline which the payment was to be received, Jordan discovered her original texts and graphics on the organizations’ social networking site.

“I love kids so, I wanted to help in any way possible. The organization is great because of what it contributes to the community. While checking out the social resources, I didn’t think I would see something like this when I clicked on their Facebook page,” Jordan stated. “After all, I hadn’t been paid yet because the person that I considered a friend mentioned financial issues with fundraising. I was then told that she may go an alternative route and probably wouldn’t use my design. After seeing my work online, I immediately thought of filing suit for copyright infringement but I was unsure if it would be worth it.”

Although publication or registration is not necessary for copyright protection, in the event that Jordan files a lawsuit for copyright infringement, she must first obtain a Certificate of Registration for the work or a denial of Registration from the Copyright Office. Before taking action it is also important to identify the goal, which can include discontinuing the infringement or obtaining damages.

Photo of Empty Desk by Brittany Collins

“I was really disappointed after seeing this,” said Jordan. “Not only did they steal my graphics along with hours I spent into the site, they betrayed my trust. People now had access to what I considered to be an individual form of artistic expression and I never even got so much as a thank you. If they paid me like they promised or even asked permission to share some of the content, I probably wouldn’t have been so angry. I still considered the work to be my own.”

While the general rule is that the person who creates a work is the author of that work, there is an exception to that principle: the copyright law defines a category of works called “works made for hire.” If a work is “made for hire,” the employer, and not the employee, is considered the author.

As reported by the U.S. Copyright Office whether or not a particular work is made for hire is determined by the relationship between the parties. To determine whether a work is made for hire, one must first ascertain whether the work was prepared by (1) an employee or (2) an independent contractor. Furthermore, if a work is a work made for hire, the employer or other person for whom the work was prepared is the initial owner of the copyright unless there has been a written agreement to the contrary signed by both parties.

Generally, investigating the unique circumstances will determine the condition and validity of Jordan’s copyright. Ultimately, the chances for achieving her objective heavily depend on the facts.

 

 

 

 

 

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Challenging Character in Education

Photo of Student Collaboration by Brittany Collins

Accused of incompetence, an educator contemplates filing a defamation suit to preserve her credibility and occupation. In an attempt to prove libel, all elements are evaluated.

Upon completion of her 7th year as an educator, Indianapolis 6th-8th grade exceptional learners teacher Sharon Frazier received an unpleasant written document on behalf of her school district.

“When I returned to work after a FMLA absence, there was a letter in my mailbox stating that my teacher contract was being terminated based on incompetence and other good and just cause,” recalls Frazier.

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 has drastically transformed the educational landscape. The legislation, signed by President Bush was designed to improve student achievement regardless of race and income level as well as hold states and schools more accountable for student progress. Part of this law states the importance of having effective teachers in every classroom. Although the term effective is broad, each state has a list of standards that must be followed in classroom instruction. However, in the event that these standards are unmet, a teacher can be deemed incompetent.

“The letter infuriated me,” said Frazier. The term incompetent angered me even more because the allegations were untrue. I’ve definitely considered filing a defamation lawsuit as the allegations may potentially tarnish my professional credibility.”

Before commencing defamation action, evaluating individual circumstances can provide a great deal of benefits. Highlighting latent challenges may help to avoid unfavorable outcomes. One issue with defamation cases is the difficulty to win and claim substantial damages. An additional concern is the probability of being unable to prove all elements of defamation. Upon litigation proceedings, the plaintiff should also determine how specific state laws often apply.

Under Indiana law, the elements of defamation claim are:

  1. a communication with defamatory imputation;
  2. malice;
  3. publication; and
  4. damages.

However, according to Expert Law, a defense recognized in most jurisdictions is opinion. If the person (defendant) makes a statement of opinion as opposed to fact, the statement may not support a cause of action for defamation. In the official notice, an administrator notes reasoning for incompetence by addressing Frazier’s teaching performance, which states that: “Your performance as teacher has not been up to acceptable standards and we have lost trust and confidence in your ability to carry out the duties required as a teacher.”

Therefore, based on this context that is provided by an employer, the statement is presented as factual and less likely to be regarded as opinion. Frazier claims that the allegations are false as she made the initiative to improve her performance and the success can be proven in her students’ NWEA Scores.

Photo of Student Lockers by Brittany Collins

 

“I’ve basically been accused of being ineffective yet, they have shown no proof to back this up,” added Frazier. I work very hard to maintain a climate that supports productive learning. I have spent weekends and some holidays working at school to ensure that I provide the very best for my students.” Frazier also claims that several staff members are aware of the content described in the letter, which provides evidence that the defamatory statements were communicated to a third party.

She also faces the probability of parents gaining access to her online profile and teaching credentials as provided by the school district. This exposes the allegations because the profile contains information such as educational history, work experience, percentage of students passing state standardize tests, staff comments regarding classroom environment instruction as well as a 1-5 rating system that scores a teacher’s effectiveness.

As defined by Indiana law, actual malice refers to private figures if the disputed statements are newsworthy or involve matters of public concern. Although it is not present with this case as an additional element of a defamation claim, the plaintiff will have to prove significant damages. As a result, the damages reflect an attack on a persons’ professional character or standing thus Frazier will have to prove injury to reputation.

As previously mentioned, defamation suits may involve challenges due to the inability to prove all elements. As “Other good and just cause is used as grounds for possible termination of Frazier’s teaching contract, the Board of Education demonstrates its disapproval of her overall performance. Furthermore, the administrator states that her actions have “stained the conscience of what is right in education and what is common in the actions of honest educators.” If viewed in a manner that is not provably true of false, the opinion defense protects against claims of defamation. Therefore, Frazier will not have a case.

 

 

 

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Engagement with Art Films: Quality vs. Quantity

Receptive to the concept of artistic representation, the online community responds to the non-conforming risky endeavors of an indie filmmaker.

In a previous article, the current business model of art cinema is discussed in efforts to inform and support filmmakers and enthusiasts alike. The role of the social web weighs heavily in the motion picture industry. As mentioned, the film Paranormal Activity was made for around $15,000 yet,  grossed more than $150 million at the box office. Mashable reports that the movie’s success is credited to the use of Facebook, which was used for promotional purposes.

Initiating the conversation regarding indie film financing requires direct engagement across various interactive platforms. In addition to increasing visibility, quality content helps to promote ideas and motivate participation. Analyzing social metrics such as tweets, followers, new likes and comments further demonstrate this example. Overall, the syndication of one conversation attracted new visitors, therefore building awareness and increasing website traffic.

In an attempt to reach the online independent film community, Twitter served as an effective promotional tool due to the fact that the content shared appealed to several influencers with the art-house industry. The article created new followers that have the potential to reach movie critics, filmmakers and additional advocates. Followers may also be inspired to share links, retweets and interact with social commentary as seen below.

Ranked as the top social site, Facebook also reached an audience that contributed to the discussion. This audience delivered meaningful messages with a well-defined vision. Few were inspired by the behaviors of others, which consisted of new likes on the website’s Facebook page. Although the strategy failed to reach the masses, it provided inbound links, generated leads and ignited compelling responses.

 

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New Mainstream Media: The Online Community Advocates Indie Film

Oscar 2012 Buzz: Best Picture infographic by NM Incite

The progression of social media enables the topic of independent filmmaking to effectively reach the online community. It encourages members to engage in an active discussion that reflects and explores the fundamentals of cinematic culture.

According to Mashable, even directors without access to major studio distribution and publicity departments can use social media to appeal directly to their potential audience. Research by NM Incite shows that 60 percent of these users create reviews of products and services. In fact, consumer-created reviews/ratings are the preferred source for information about product/service value, price and product quality.

NM Incite reports that consumer interest in blogs continue to increase. By the end of 2011, there were 181 million blogs tracked around the world. This is up 36 million from the year 2006. Advocates of expressive moviemaking are also adapting to this trend.

Photo by © raven/ Fotolia.com

Experienced indie film producer Ted Hope utilizes the blog “Hope for Film” as a platform to inspire creativity and discover new ways to make small budget films sustainable. Hope also provides an extensive variety of industry news including film features, documentaries, trailers, interviews and business resources relevant to production, financing and marketing. “The IndiePix Industry Blog” delivers informative content observing the business side of art cinema as well, which involves technological tends, reviews, competitions, screenings and festivals.

Presently, Tier 1 film festivals generate the most social online interaction. The Sundance Film Festival demonstrates the strongest presence on Facebook with 300,795 supporters within a single online destination trailed by 121,123 followers on Twitter. SFF’s YouTube channel has the least number of subscribers by weight on the non-video sites, which currently amounts to 9,207 members.

Similarly, Facebook has a significantly greater number of influencers advocating The Tribeca Film Festival. There are 91,649 individuals that have taken interest in TFF. Furthermore, 1,406 people are conversing about the festival. Its Twitter network  represents less than half of their community on Facebook with 37,596 followers while the YouTube channel exemplifies a comparatively smaller number of retained members noting 6,549 subscribers.

Art house pictures articulate transparency and relatable messages that penetrate the media with a definitive purpose. The emotionally propelled feature documentary film “Bully” captures a receptive audience and encourages action by means of social integration thus, igniting a national movement to terminate bullying activity.

An additional specialty movie circulating, throughout various collective interaction vehicles, is the French silent black-and-white multiple award winning indie film, “The Artist”. It currently dominates as the most buzzed about Oscar nominee in the Best Picture category. Accounting for 23 percent of related dialogue, the shared voice of 120,000 messages where communicated via Facebook, Twitter, Picasa, YouTube, FriendFeed, blogs and boards.

Globally, social networks and blog sites are the top online destinations in each country. “Some films that didn’t get entry into the marketplace the traditional way might turn out to have some real artistic and commercial value,” said Brent Weinstein, a former talent agent who is chief of 60 Frames Entertainment, a studio that focuses on short videos. “I suspect a good number of films that didn’t find fans in the community of cinema experts would be able to find an audience in this new digital media world.”

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