Wednesday, October 16th, 2002
LET’S GO CANADA
With the growing ubiquity of English language usage has come in- creasing competition for international students from countries that traditionally did not offer higher education instruction in English. Japan, Holland, France, and Germany are four prominent examples of countries which increasingly offer university programs in English. In the case of Germany, the increasing volume of programs available in English is an important plank in its recent push to attract international students. Germany has coalesced its energies in a major marketing campaign known as German Academic Training and Education or GATE. GATE’s objective is to make the country better known and more accessible to students abroad, particularly in countries such as India where the efforts of competitor countries has created very crowded fields. GATE is intended to address real and imagined prob- lems with the German education system such as excessive bureaucratic hassles and a difficult to navigate hodge-podge of diplomas and degrees (“Germany Tries to Make Itself Foreigner-Friendly”, The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 5, 2002).
Canada, however, remains without a concerted strategy to assert a significant role in this internationally competitive field. “Advancing the Canadian Agenda for International Education” canvasses various efforts, programs and proposals that have attempted to advance such a strategy. (Report of the Millennium Consultation on International Education, Robin H. Farquhar, Canadian Bureau for International Edu- cation, June 2001, see in particular the section “No Dearth of Information and Ideas” at pages 7-9).
Dani Zaretsky of Higher-Edge met with Secretary of State, David Kilgour this past August during which time Kilgour expressed plenty of enthusiasm for addressing the problem. Kilgour was vigorously interested in new ideas, and our reports of competitors’ activities. Nonetheless, he was far from optimistic that the federal government would be able to navigate a focussed future for a country in which provinces maintain legal control over the various arenas that would be touched by GATE-like initiatives. The federal government has not been without creativity and initiative as demonstrated by the Depart- ment of Foreign Affairs and International Trade’s recent education exhibitions in North Africa/Middle East and Bangladesh. But, as com- mendable as such an initiative is, it represents a minor contribution in a field in which an increasing number of significant countries are mustering powerful campaigns to ensure strong future positions in the arena of higher education international student recruitment.
In his article “Foreign study and higher education: Reaching outside and growing inside” (http://www.bsu.edu/web/ur/cipnews/2002Spring/ sinclair_article.htm), Brian R. Sinclair, Chair of the Department of Architecture at Ball State University, IN highlights the merits of study abroad as a tremendous learning and growing experience. According to Sinclair, “the more ‘foreign’ the experience the better the potential for real personal development.”
Sinclair speaks from experience. He has helped put together exchange programs with institutions in India, Thailand, China, and Nepal, and has led groups of students to these countries. Higher-Edge Research Analyst Isabelle Faucher spoke to Professor Sinclair on the topic of educational exchanges with developing countries.
According to Sinclair, going to these places forces students to deal with a level of discomfort and unfamiliarity, which are crucial not only to building a better understanding of themselves, but also to constructing an appropriate “world view”. “There needs to be more inroads made in the U.S. and other developed countries to sensitize people to the fact that our view of modernity and progress is but one view, and not necessarily the correct one at that”, says Sinclair. Experiences such as these bring students to question the very notion of “development”, and whether it’s witnessing a cremation in South India, or interacting with a group of lepers who, despite their material poverty, possess great spiritual richness, “students learn to measure modernity and progress in a more humble way”, adds Sinclair. He believes that by opening their eyes, minds and hearts, during study abroad, such students hold promise to grow to become more sensitive people and more engaged citizens.
Although the Institute for International Education’s (IIE) latest report highlights the fact that the number of U.S. students going to less traditional destinations has increased dramatically in the last 15 years, Europe remains by far to be the most popular region for American students pursuing education abroad. At Ball State, staff and faculty have found that students enrolled in target programs, such as architecture, are increasingly more inclined and interested in exploring alternative destinations.
Stay tuned next week as Isabelle speaks with Ms. Yuki Kurosawa, Study Abroad Coordinator at Ball State, who comments on the particular logistics and considerations involved in setting up exchange agreements with developing countries.
OVER THE COUNTER
Higher-Edge COO Mel Broitman reports this month from New Delhi that a meeting with the leading advertising agency for education ads in India confirmed abuses that institutions need to watch for. Not surprisingly, Mel tells us that some education agents propose arrangements with advertisers to artificially hike ad costs and submit bogus bills to universities and colleges for reimbursement. Typically, inflated prices are pegged at an additional 10% above the actual invoice. With Indian advertising costs already among the most expensive in the world, detecting such fraud is difficult for unsuspecting officials at universities and colleges. As a special free service for this month, Higher-Edge will examine an Indian ad bill if you’d like to send it to us. If interested, contact Mel Broitman (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Canadian Institute of Travel Counselors provides the following tips on airline check-In.
Travellers that do not ask for a seat assignment will probably end up with the airlines’ pick, starting at the back of the aircraft. It is best to decide in advance where one wants to sit. On a long overnight flight, an aisle may be best, so one can get up and stretch ones’ legs. On the other hand, one may want a window, to be able to lean on the wall and sleep. To avoid a long wait while everyone disembarks, once arrived at destination, a forward seat is ideal.
To get a better idea of where to sit, ask your travel agent or phone the airline to check on what type of aircraft you will be flying. To view seating plans available on different types of aircraft, visit the following sites: