British Expat Newsletter:
20 April 2005

Hello, and welcome to those who have joined up since our last newsletter.

In this issue

  • This week: Distance learning
  • Virtual Snacks
  • Bizarre Searches
  • Joke and quotation

This week

Last week I wrote about tropical diseases. It seemed to strike a chord with some of you as you sent in some tales of woe to match our own. This week I decided to write about something which is not quite so painful but certainly seems to cause plenty of blood, sweat and tears itself – distance learning.

How many of you, years after you’d thought you had completed your education, suddenly decide to go back for more punishment? I’ve been working on an MSc in e-Business for the last three years and only finished it last Friday. There seems to be a strange gap in my life now without it, but no doubt there’ll be plenty of other things to fill the void. The course itself has been fascinating and the tutors generally had a good handle on what was required. My dissertation supervisor was great – very helpful as well as having a wicked sense of humour. However, the admin side of things caused nothing but frustration. Sometimes it seemed as if some of them could barely use email. Marked assignments were snail mailed instead of emailed, meaning that anyone outside the UK usually got their results weeks after anyone else. They also seemed to be incapable of administering the online enrolment process, and trying to register online for the virtual library could only be described as a virtual nightmare.

Considering the course was by distance learning and they were encouraging people all over the world to do it, there was an amazing amount of reliance on snail mail. Indeed, after I had submitted my thesis, the next thing that happened was that they wanted two copies by snail mail.¬†Why they couldn’t have printed it out themselves (for a charge if necessary) I really don’t know. Whilst I would recommend this course to anyone wanting a good business degree, I’d have to caution – be very careful when choosing a distance learning course to make sure you’ll be able to cope with all the unexpected hassles and silly snail mail requirements.

Have you had enough of exams and assignments and all that goes hand in hand with further education? Or are you a glutton for punishment like me? – I’m already wondering what to do next. Graphic design maybe…? Why not tell us about it?

Virtual Snacks has a series of “Top Ten” things about living and studying at various UK universities, written by students. Be warned, not all unis are represented, and some of the ones that are there are pretty boring (including Dave’s old Uni, Birmingham).
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We were a bit pushed for virtual snacks this week. So how about a virtual snake instead? There’s a very interesting and informative article on about how our fears of snakes are innate rather than learnt.

And if you’re bored, why not play a game of Snake? If you don’t have a mobile phone but do have Internet Explorer on your machine, you can play here. (It takes a while for the Java to download, but it does work eventually.)
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Bizarre Searches

Some strange search terms which have led people to visit British Expat recently:

  • funstuff nylons
  • if it is 31 degrees in australia what would the weather be on canada
  • greek backyards
  • 12 volt sky
  • don t you fyrom me
  • angry pets to keep
  • golspie grenade
  • mr smith goes to washington answers
  • are we allowed to take cheese on the plane from new zealand to south africa
  • scots bad teeth
  • foods enjoyed by the pope
  • wife in rubber gloves

Till next time…
Happy surfing!

British Expat Magazine


“Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.”

Will Durant, US philosopher (1885-1981)


How to Write Your Thesis

Scene: It’s a fine beautiful day in the forest and a rabbit is sitting outside his burrow, typing away on his laptop.

Along comes a fox, out for a walk.

Fox: “What are you working on?”

Rabbit: “My thesis paper to graduate from university.”

Fox: “Hmmmmm. What is it about?”

Rabbit: “Oh, I’m writing about how rabbits eat foxes.”

(There is an incredulous pause)

Fox: “That’s ridiculous! Any fool knows that rabbits don’t eat foxes!”

Rabbit: “Come with me and I’ll show you!”

They both disappear into the rabbit’s burrow.

After a few minutes, gnawing on a fox bone, the rabbit returns to his laptop and resumes typing. Soon a wolf comes along and stops to watch the hard-working rabbit. (Tippy-tap, tippy-tap, tippy-tippy-tap.)

Wolf: “What’s that you are writing?”

Rabbit: “I’m doing a thesis on how rabbits eat wolves.”

(Loud guffaws)

Wolf:”You don’t expect to get such garbage published, do you?”

Rabbit: “No problem. Do you want to see why?”

The rabbit and the wolf go into the burrow, and again the rabbit returns by himself. This time he is patting his stomach. He goes back to his typing. (Tippy-tap, tippy-tap, tippy-tippy-tap.)

Finally a bear comes along and asks, “What are you doing?”

Rabbit: “I’m doing a thesis on how rabbits eat bears.”

Bear: “Well, that’s absurd!”

Rabbit: “Come into my home and I’ll show you.”

SCENE: Inside the rabbit’s burrow. In one corner, there is a pile of fox bones. In another corner is a pile of wolf bones. On the other side of the room a huge lion is belching and picking his teeth.

THE MORAL OF THE STORY: It doesn’t matter what you choose for a thesis topic. It doesn’t matter what you use for your data. It doesn’t even matter if your topic makes sense. What matters is who you have for a thesis adviser.