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Not so many years ago a Masters Degree seemed like a dream.  A Masters Degree was seen by many as a goal which was almost unattainable – a goal which remained “in the clouds” of human capability.

       However, today a Masters Degree seems almost like a “necessity” in the more complex and competitive world of professional success. In short, the business world and the academic world require a much deeper and more intense knowledge of “how things work” and why a student must work harder and harder in order to survive in this competitive environment.

       I discovered this stark reality after I finished my Bachelor’s Degree at university.  I quickly found out that a Bachelor’s Degree was almost as irrelevant and useless as the piece of paper it was printed on.  I became aware that I was a small fish swimming in a sea of thousands – yes, even millions – of other young people who naively thought that “graduating from university” was a “ticket” to the better things in life.  I have hundreds of emails from prospective employers saying, “Your resume is very good.  We note that you have only a Bachelor’s Degree.  Don’t call us, we’ll call you”.

       Masters Degree programs are becoming much more plentiful in today’s university community.  Faculties and businesses have observed that a student who really aspires to a successful career has taken the time, spent the energy, and pursued the dream of effective learning by completing a Masters Degree program.

       So, my decision to enroll in a Masters program was simple for me.  I knew that in order to realize my “dream” of a successful career in today’s complex world it would be absolutely NECESSARY to complete a Masters Degree program.
 
In September, 2015, I enrolled in the blended-learning MA program for Applied Linguistics (English language education), which is“外国语言学及应用语言学专业(英语教育方向)课程研修班”in Chinese.  At the beginning of this program, I felt it was very difficult since I had never read any academic articles before and I needed to work at the same time.  I made the best use of my free time and read articles on buses, the subway and during break-time in my teaching schedule. Gradually, I became completely enchanted and challenged by this program.

       To begin with, every course in this program has been carefully designed which is very useful in my daily work.  For example, one of the courses called “Teaching Methodologies” I learned how to design a syllabus, activities and lesson plans.  I also learned some teaching methods, principles of teaching and strategies.  All the knowledge that I acquired from this course benefits my daily teaching and I feel that the information has helped me to become a better teacher. In fact, I have become more and more popular since I apply new teaching skills, techniques, strategies and principles acquired from this course in daily teaching.

       In addition, learning time in the program is very flexible.  I can go to face-to-face class and after class I can watch the online videos recorded from the class as many times as I wish.  If I cannot go to face-to-face class, I can choose to watch real-time videos on the internet and interact with teachers and peers.  I am totally amazed by this high-tech methodology of delivering learning materials and instruction.

       Moreover, teachers in this program are all number one teachers in China and they are kind, helpful and well-experienced.  I love and respect them all from the bottom of my heart.

       Furthermore, I learned to do teamwork and have chances to go to the stage and do presentations with my team members which I had never done before. These presentations give me feedback comments from teachers and classmates which is very valuable in the learning process.

   Besides, I never feel lonely while I studying in this MA program because I can communicate with my peers, teachers at any time through QQ and We-chat groups, and the educational administrators, thoughtfully remind me what assignments I need to finish before the due day in both QQ and We-chat platforms.

       Finally, my writing ability and skills have dramatically improved through the writing of weekly assignments and term papers plus the reading of huge amounts of academic writing.  I feel as if I am on my way to become a scholar and a highly-improved English speaker.

As Professor Tang said sincerely, “The purpose of designing this program is not to earn money, but to facilitate you with knowledge and help you to become a better person.”  This program makes me a more confident, skillful and helpful teacher which I dreamed of for so many years. I even believe that learning in this MA program is better than studying abroad.  Before enrolling in the Beiwai MA program, I investigated many Master’s degree programs in the United Kingdom. I was very close to applying for a full degree program at Aberdeen University in Scotland and a special on-line plus residence program at Oxford University. I thought of the huge disruption to my life in Beijing plus the almost prohibitive costs of tuition and living which I must endure.  I compared these programs with the Beiwai MA program and discovered that studying abroad is not so much an issue of a “higher and better” education, but is more of a “fashion and fad” which, to me, is not essential in learning to be a better teacher.  I rejected the offers from the U.K. and chose to stay in China and attend the Beiwai MA program.

       I firmly believe it was the best decision I have ever made in my life.

北京外国语大学中国外语与教育研究中心
北京外国语大学网络教育学院
杨老师
王老师
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