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Boris Defends Overseas Students - Video

London's mayor Boris Johnson has repeatedly come to the aid of foreign students during his visit to India, calling for fewer restrictions on student visas.

Boris's trip to India has been used to send a clear message to Indian students that London is still welcoming international talent as it re-establishes itself as a 'global centre for education'. 

This comes at a time when last summer's chaos surrounding London Met university sparked uncertainty amongst Indians abroad over whether the UK was mistreating its overseas visitors.

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Students March Against Tuition Fees

The latest large-scale student protest took place yesterday. Organised by the National Union of Students (NUS), thousands of students marched through the streets of London to protest about increased tuition fees.

The protest was largely peaceful and ‘good humoured' with only a brief stand-off between police and protestors at Westminster. NUS leader Liam Burns explained the reasons behind the demo:

"Education should open doors, but the government is slamming them shut...The damaging effects of recent changes to education have restricted access for future students and created new barriers for those currently studying."

However, the march didn't go completely to plan for the NUS, who were hoping for 10,000 marchers, rather than the 3,000-4,000 that actually turned up. Things got worse for Liam Burns when he was heckled and had eggs thrown at him whilst he was making his speech. Protestors from more extreme organisations were unhappy with how the NUS leaders had dealt with the increased fees, and invaded the stage before the speech could be finished.

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Slovakia vs 'Western' Culture (Part 2)

Erik is a university graduate from Slovakia who is currently living in London. In the second part of a mini-series, (part one is here) he reacts to an article about the differences between Slovakian and 'Western' life:

Family Lunch in Slovakia

Quote: "In Slovakia a nicer meal is often eaten for Sunday lunch than what would be eaten during the rest of the week. The family might even all sit together at one time at the table."

Slovakia is a predominantly Christian country, and keeping the family together is still entrenched in the subconscious of the society. Although the old-school church goers are slowly dying out, or are being institutionalised in the retirement homes, it is not too bad to join our loved ones for a couple of hours, enjoy a meal and discuss the things we can't get down to during the busy week. As the five star chef Gordon Ramsay says in one of his books I recently came across; the gathering at a joint meal can actually take place on any day. Just make sure that you spend some with your family and that no one leaves until everyone has finished their meat.

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The Under-Valuation of International Students in the UK

In a recent article on the Guardian's website titled: "UK universities failing to bridge culture gap for foreign students", Diane Schmitt criticises the admissions process at most British universities. She argues that universities in the UK often find their international students not "good enough" to start their careers in the academic institution they have chosen.

Schmitt argues that many foreign students are unable to adapt to the new academic system and to understand how things should be done in the UK. This sense of loss of comprehension among scholars is well represented in the image used on the Guardian's website to support the article. A group of international students are photographed attending a lecture, presumably at a university in the UK, and denote a sense of discomfort and being lost. However, who should be blamed for this uncomfortable situation of "being below the standards"?

According to the author of the article it is the centralised admission system which should pay more attention to the backgrounds of international students, rather then "just" considering their English exams, CVs, personal statements and letters of recommendations.

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Christmas in Paris: An Unforgettable Experience

Paris is one of the best tourist destinations in the world. It is considered the most romantic city on earth, and is certainly one of the most advanced cities in the world. Paris in the month of December is even more of a treat because of the all the lights, the glitter, and the decorations for the most celebrated event of the year- Christmas.

It is the mother of all festivals, and like all European capitals, Paris is decked out and spruced up to welcome the festival. Despite chilly winters, people are in a happy and cheerful mood to celebrate Christmas, and the happy faces and decorated shops tell the story to all those who arrive here in the last week of December.

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