Wednesday, September 24th, 2003
Arab Interest in Universities
Switzerland Popular With English Studying Japanese
Dealing with Student Visa Fraud
International Driving Permit(IDP)
LET’S GO CANADA – Arab Interest in Universities
At last May’s NAFSA conference in Salt Lake City, the largest annual global get-together for international educators (5,500 people came to Utah), attendees heard representatives from U.S. educational offices for Arab nations in the Gulf area lament that interest in higher studies in the United States has dropped severely. In the “post 9/11 era,” a report authored by Dr. Al-Wotaid of Kuwait and Dr. Al-Salmi of Oman presented a stark and strong message to American educators stating, “it is imperative that we increase American awareness that Bin Laden does not represent true Islam.” The report expressed in bold type that “true Moslems are not terrorists”. Dr. Al-Wotaid told a packed hall of several hundred delegates that given increasingly higher hurdles to obtain visas and the anxiety of Arabs to go to the U.S., Kuwaiti government money is now targeting Canada (instead of the USA) for sponsored post-secondary education opportunities. No doubt for Canadians, the region presents dynamic opportunities for institutions looking to diversify international student populations with more Arabs, as well as the large ex-patriot South Asian communities which are also present. Several Canadian institutions led by a Dalhousie University initiative, will be travelling to the UAE for a series of school visits and public information sessions from October 18 to 27 in the UAE.
ABROAD PERSPECTIVE – Switzerland Popular With English Studying Japanese
Switzerland, in broadening the global aspect of its education system, is becoming a popular destination for young Japanese students to study English. While still the place for learning hospitality, this traditionally safe and comfortable country is now offering intensive English study programs. Institutions such as the Kumon Leysin Academy of Switzerland (KLAS) provide students the opportunity to not only learn English but also exposes them to a wider array of cultures from around the world. KLAS offers smaller classes designed to foster a “practical education in English” for students, while parents benefit from the knowledge that more avenues are opened up for tertiary education. For colleges and universities looking to diversify their campus populations, students from Switzerland can offer a greater appreciation of education on a global scale. Hiroshi Watanabe, principal of KLAS notes that “About 40 percent of our graduates enter colleges in the United States, Canada and Britain.”
Source: “Yoko Mizui, Want to learn English? Head for Switzerland.” http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/info/database/, Daily Yomuiri, August 5 2003
OVER THE COUNTER – Dealing with Student Visa Fraud
As stated in last week’s report in O&O on the arrest and detention of student visa violators in Toronto, the front pages of Canadian newspapers never addressed the issues Canadian schools face in regards to being targets of visa scams.
Coverage of this growing problem/issue could consider whether Canadian institutions verify or screen international applicants? Do schools follow up to see if individuals who are granted admission, ever show up at classes? If individuals do not show up, what does the school do next? Do institutions issue tuition refunds to individuals who arrive on campus only to claim their funds? If a student becomes academically ineligible, who is responsible to ensure the student returns home?
These are a handful of a potential myriad of critical questions, with even more critical answers, which require responses if one is serious about tackling student visa fraud.
Higher-Edge CIO Dani Zaretsky speaks on student visa abuse, how to detect and prevent it, at the Canadian Bureau of International Education (CBIS) annual conference in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island from October 24-27.
GLOBE TIPPING – International Driving Permit(IDP)
If one plans on renting an automobile while overseas, it is wise to purchase an International Driving Permit, or IDP (not to be confused with the International Drivers Licenses). Valid for one year from the date of purchase, the IDP is useful even if one does not plan to drive as it provides proof of one’s identity in 10 different languages. In addition, certain car rental companies will require one to possess an IDP.
The IDP is available for purchase through the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA). For more details:
Tip – Bring a headset for your cellphone if you plan on using it in the car – driving in a foreign place will usually require one’s full attention.