Wednesday, January 29th, 2003
The Next Best Thing
Bangladesh on the Terrorist List
Fake Document Mill in Pakistan
Taxis in Vietnam
LET’S GO CANADA – The Next Best Thing
Where approval can be granted in as little time as a matter of weeks, applying for a Canadian visa is a relative dream com- pared to what international students have been going through to obtain U.S.visas.There have been instances in which appli- cants are made to wait for months for any notification, then declined with no reason given. As a result, international appli- cants have found themselves drifting to other education desti- nations such as Canada and Australia.
Max Yiew, a Malaysian student, was forced to decline offers of admission to two U.S. universities because he was unable to obtain a student visa in time. After speaking with a University of Windsor representative who “painted a beautiful mental picture of Windsor”, Max decided to apply for admission to an institution in a country that was not on his radar screen not so many weeks earlier.
If Canadian institutions are to bank on the number of students desperate to study abroad, they will have to do more than recruit from the pool of students who are looking for the next best thing to a U.S. education.
ABROAD PERSPECTIVE – Bangladesh on the Terrorist List
Higher-Edge COO Mel Broitman reports this week from Dhaka where Bangladeshis are extremely upset at having their country placed on the“terror list”by the United States government. The listing means that Bangladeshis will face tougher immi- gration restrictions, and those already in the U.S. must reg- ister with authorities and subject themselves to finger printing.
While there are many Bangladeshis in the United States with- out proper authorization, Bangladeshis point to the fact that they have no history of being a threat to the U.S. and have taken offense at being one of the first countries singled out by U.S. authorities.This past weekend,Bangladesh Foreign Minister M. Morshed Khan complained in person to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. On Monday, U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh Mary Ann Peters told business leaders in Dhaka that if Bangladeshis are concerned about their image abroad, they must address the problems of governance in their own country.
In Bangladesh, where rumour and perceptions are often taken as reality and national identity and pride are very sensitive, the U.S. is currently not the glistening goal it once was for Bangladeshi students.Considering the growing difficulty in obtaining U.S. student visas for visitors and the present tension with American policies and statements, Bangladeshis increasingly believe that study in the United States is not a realistic option in this “climate”. The U.S. had been the first choice for Bangladeshi students going abroad (approximately 4,000 study in the States) but presently the U.K., Australia and Canada are seen as more attractive destinations.
OVER THE COUNTER – Fake Document Mill in Pakistan
Forged documents are rife in Pakistan where Pakistani authorities uncovered 400 cases in 2002, and are still dealing with a backlog of more than 450 cases from 2000. Two cities, Gujranwala and Gujrat, are said to generate approximately 70% of all fake documents. Often equipped with state-of-the-art cameras and printers, forgers still commonly resort to “PC” or “picture change”, which involves the replacement of one original passport photo with another.
Higher-Edge is among the most experienced education strategy consultants working in Pakistan, and the company’s COO Mel Broitman, who is in the country three to four times a year, concurs with the report.“Without a doubt in our scrutiny of documents and interrogation of motivation, we have discovered that Gujranwala is a leading source of misrepresentation,” Mel says. Mel is back in Pakistan from February 18-27 and will be coordinating efforts to verify documents on behalf of client institutions. For assistance, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
GLOBE TIPPING – Taxis in Vietnam
Although the streets of Vietnam are filled with motorbikes and cycles (bicycle rickshaws), taxis are the best option if one aims to commute in comfort. Still, there are a few tips to bear in mind:
As some taxis are not metered, always agree on a price before setting off. Because the use of English is not widespread in the cities, it is advisable to obtain directions in Vietnamese from your hotel. Most hotels will have taxis waiting outside their doors, or will book them in advance for you. For security rea- sons, it might be a good idea to make a note of the driver’s registration number (displayed on the rear of the taxi)
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