Wednesday, October 23rd, 2002
LET’S GO CANADA
Australia continues to be the undisputed leader in effective marketing and recruitment of international students. Recognizing the vital role that higher education plays in Australia’s ambitions to grow a sophisticated and competitive work force for the 21st century, Australia has implemented new and more “friendly” criteria for graduate and post-graduate students at the Master’s and PhD level. Grad students applying for Australian student visas now only need to show one year’s expenses and bank statements for only three months. Furthermore, financial sponsorship is open to anyone wishing to pay the fees. This strategy will position Australia as a “choice destination” for educated young men and women looking to build their futures. Next week’s O&O will have more on Australia’s bold forecast for what’s on the horizon in global education.
Ghana, Kenya, Egypt, China, and Korea. These are only a sample of the less traditional destinations students attending Ball State University, IN have an opportunity to discover through study abroad. And according to Ms. Yuki Kurosawa, Study Abroad Program Coordinator at Ball State University’s Center for International Programs (CIP), “the more unknown the locale, the more satisfying the experience”.
Of course, such destinations are not always an easy sell for students, and therefore, “the less familiar students are with a country, the more difficult it is to recruit participants”, says Ms. Kurosawa. With most of its student body consisting of first generation college students who have not been exposed to outside cultures, the main challenge is thus to dissipate the fears and anxieties associated with travelling to “less developed” parts of the world. Part of this fear often stems from the (erroneous) notion that personal safety and health will be at risk in these parts of the globe. Ms. Kurosawa’s philosophy on this mater is that “anything can happen anywhere”. “A big part of my job in promoting these types of programs is to minimize fears, both students’ and parents”, she adds.
To make these destinations more palatable to prospective participants, Ball State University offers students the chance to take part in 6-weeks educational tours in China and Korea, among others. This allows those students who might be reluctant to embark for a full semester abroad journey to “test the waters” and decide whether or not they want to go back. In addition, the CIP organizes week-long events which focus on different parts of the world, and in which it seeks the collaboration of Ball State’s large pool of international and internationally-oriented faculty to give talks and conferences on relevant topics.
Although the numbers of students embarking on study abroad in less traditional locales remain small in comparison to traditional destinations, Ms. Kurosawa is confident that an increasing number of students are looking at and appreciating the “added value” of such experiences. And more than ever, understanding of and knowledge about otherwise unfamiliar cultures and societies remains critical to ensuring a safer and more secure world.
Higher-Edge will be presenting on this very topic at the upcoming Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) conference, November 1-4 in Ottawa. The session, entitled “Exploring barriers and potentialities to establishing exchange agreements with developing countries”, will address issues relating to the logistical realities of negotiating and implementing exchange agreements in developing countries, particularly South Asia.
OVER THE COUNTER
Sixteen universities and nine colleges and institutions gathered in the Egyptian capital last week for the first Canadian Education Fair organized by the Canadian Embassy in Cairo.
As part of the fair’s program, a session entitled “Welcome to Canada: student permits” was given by Mr. Timothy Gorham, Visa officer at the Canadian Embassy in Egypt. Mr. Gorham provided the participating institutions with the following insights.
The refusal rate for student permits for Egyptian applicants ranges between 10 and 12%; the number one cause for refusal is insufficient funds. In terms of time frames, Mr. Gorham indicated that the absolute minimum delay for processing student applications from Egypt was one month, three months being a more realistic waiting period. Ideally however, students should apply 6 months in advance. The required medical examination is the most time-consuming element to process (4 weeks on average and a longer period if there is a medical problem). Generally speaking, if applications are complete and adequate proof of funds is provided, the visa and study permit will be issued without the applicant having to undergo an interview.
Mr. Gorham also mentioned that under the new Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, visa offices no longer require original letters of acceptance from institutions. Also under the new act, provisional letters of acceptance suffice to issue study permits. Finally, unlike some other countries, Canada has not modified its visitor security provisions for Egypt post-September 11.
All and all, the event was a great success. The organizers are already thinking about next year’s fair and hope that word of mouth will spread so that an increasing number of Canadian institutions will answer the call for the second edition of Educ-Canada.
Reconfirming flights has never been more important.
International Air Transport Association (AITA) regulations have always stipulated that all flights except those within North America should be reconfirmed at least 72 hours prior to departure.
Post-September 11, however, a new set of requirements has also come into effect. All airlines flying from the Middle and Far East over American air space are now required to provide U.S. authorities with the passport information of all passengers at least three days prior to departure. Pakistan International Airline’s direct flights from Islamabad, Karachi, and Lahore to Toronto must also provide the same information to Canadian authorities. Failure to due so will result in the cancellation of the passenger’s seat.