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What is GradTrain?

An American, Norwegian, Israeli, French and Swiss sat on a Middle Eastern beach…

This is not the beginning of a joke. It is the beginning of a journey we started less than one year ago with GradTrain. We invite you to join us on this journey.

We are five friends from five different countries who crossed an ocean or two to study in the United States, in different fields: Computer Science, Engineering , Sociology, and Law. On that Middle Eastern beach, on that hot summer day, we discussed our experiences applying to Graduate school abroad: the challenges we faced and the funny mistakes we made (which were not at all funny at the time!). As our conversation progressed, we saw that we all faced similar challenges (lack of information, spending money unnecessarily in the process, and more). We also came to the conclusion that it should not be so hard - and that we can help - by creating a solution that will make it easier for others who are interested in doing what we did and study abroad.

That moment marked the birth of GradTrain: an online community for ambitious young people who wish to get into graduate school abroad and complete their studies successfully.

GradTrain: the solution for prospective international graduate students
First, we ran a broad international survey, to find out if maybe, after all, we were the only ones who faced such problems. The answer was very clear. After analyzing the results from hundreds of current and past international graduate students from more than 50 countries (and confirming it with external research sources as well) we can say with certainty that most prospective students do not have the guidance they need for applying to graduate school abroad (and in many cases pay huge sums of money to obtain guidance). Surely, many of our readers can confirm this from their personal experience.

We know how to help people fulfill their potential through international graduate studies. International students often wish they knew “then” – i.e., when they applied, what they know “now,” after they are in school or after graduation. This is the concept of GradTrain. GradTrain connects applicants with former international students with a similar background and similar career trajectory who have already completed the process successfully and can provide the right guidance for them to achieve their goals. They will hold the hand of the applicants throughout the process and empower them to maximize their potential.

We combine this guidance with data-based algorithms, which can assist applicants in the process with program selection, scheduling, application enhancement, seeking financial support and more.

We create a community of able, intelligent, curious and ambitious people who understand the value of globalization and are excited by it. We provide them with the tools to help each other in achieving their academic and career goal. Eventually, it is from this community that the future leaders and top researchers – in science, medicine, business, law, engineering, politics, social sciences, humanities and in academia – will emerge.

GradTrain - A Socially Responsible Startup

We want to solve a real problem and help individuals fulfill their potential. But graduate study abroad is not only a benefit for the individual who pursues these studies. GradTrain sees itself as a double-bottom line business. We measure our success not only by business sustainability, but also by the positive impact we have on the world.

We believe that the solution to many global challenges lies in empowering intelligent and ambitious people to study anywhere across the globe; being exposed to other cultures opens one’s mind to see other perspectives and challenges basic assumptions about our own culture. “No kidding, going through this experience can help bring peace. Real, tangible peace.” says Lital Helman (Israel), a GradTrain co-founder. “Some of the best friends I made in America are from countries with which my country has no diplomatic relations. There is no way I would have otherwise met them.” When students graduate and go back home, or integrate into the country where they studied, they are rich with knowledge and experiences learned from the diversity and interaction between cultures that they experienced during their studies.

Studying abroad is also a humbling experience. The people who pursue graduate programs abroad are often the upper-upper class in their own society. For many of them, this will be the first time to experience how it is to be a minority; to have an accent; to feel like an outsider. This experience has the potential to make a person more attentive to the weaker sectors of society later on in life.

“In our vision,” says Sharon Rodner (Norway), a GradTrain co-founder, “everybody in the world deserves to have the opportunity to pursue this experience of international education. Yet, more than 50% of those who try – fail in the process. There are many more who do not even try because of the challenges the process entails. We aim to enable more people to go through this experience successfully.”

Crowdfunding GradTrain

We have encountered some great excitement and enthusiasm about the solution we are introducing for a real problem and feel that we as a team can make GradTrain a success. We are close to launching our Beta platform in a few weeks and are now signing up and training coaches to make a real difference and simplify the challenging process of applying and studying abroad.

Based on our vision, we want our first external funding to be based on the power of the internet to mobilize people across the world, create a community and increase the opportunity of many individuals to participate in a solution to a global issue. We have thus decided to launch a (non-equity) Crowdfunding camapaign, where many people from across the globe can join us and support what we are trying to achieve, and fulfill our business and social goals.

“Crowdfunding is a platform that democratizes start-up investments just as GradTrain aims to democratize the international education process”, says Jacob Bacon, a Former advisor at the United Nations and a GradTrain Co-Founder. “Building a community where people can reach out and get help from people of similar backgrounds, that share interests and goals and have gone through the process of applying  and studying abroad successfully, combined with cutting-edge data to enable informed decisions,  is what GradTrain is all about. Together – we can broaden access to international education and make a positive impact on the world, for generations to come.”

GradTrain will be launching its crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo in a few weeks. We hope you will follow us through the Crowdfunding campaign, and support us in any way you can. If you are in the New York City area, we are planning a launch party for our crowdfunding campaign. Email us if you would like to join us in this campaign and we will be happy to keep you posted and send you additional information on how you can partner with us to make GradTrain a huge success!

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