Monday, March 02, 2009

Winter school; pre-PhD training

They do winters properly here in Estonia - there's plenty of snow on the ground, and the ice on the lake looks solid enough to walk on, not that I would try it.

There are about 40 students here, mainly from Eastern Europe. They seemed to like my 1st talk, an intro to Nash equilibrium, and asked plenty of questions. Time to dust off my pet peeve, as I confirm that PhD students outside the UK are much better prepared than UK ones. (Helger Lipmaa, one of the local organisers, seems to have spotted this problem earlier on, from back when he worked in the UK.) In Estonia and Latvia, 4 years u/g and 2 years masters is standard. In Sweden it's 3+2, but they leave high school at 19 (a year later than most countries). Russia: 4+2+3 (for u/g, masters and PhD respectively). Bologna agreement is for 3+2+4 in Europe according to Helger. Which of the following will come first to Britain?

  • The euro

  • driving on the right-hand side of the road

  • the Bologna process

...answers on a postcard please. Not sure if the following is true, sounds too good to be true: a UK student can go and take a 2 years Masters degree in Sweden, without paying tuition fees (just personal expenses), and the teaching is in English! A year or 2 ago, I heard a similar claim concerining undergrad study in Denmark. It gives me some new ideas about where to send my kids to university, anyway.


Edith said...

In general, it's pretty safe to walk on ice this time of the year; in Finland and Sweden, they drive over it! Hope you are enjoying the school.

Helger said...

I think people in the UK will *never* change anything - even if it collapses. :)

For me, the best aspect of the UK was the weather. Seriously.