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Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Volume 10, Issue 2; January 19, 2011

Let’s Go Canada

At Queens, raised reactions over raised fees

Abroad Perspectives

More growth in China

Over The Counter

UK proposes tighter visa regulations. Minister says what few want to hear

Globe Tipping

Protecting your travel valuables

1) LET’S GO CANADA – At Queens, raised reactions over raised fees

At Ontario’s Queen’s University, a recent decision made by administration to raise international student tuitions by 10% next year has left a number of student leaders (both international and not) highly upset.

Currently home to Ontario’s third highest international student tuition rates, Queen’s international tuition fees currently are $17,030 – almost two and a half times its domestic rate. Next year’s planned hikes will see incoming foreign undergraduate students pay an extra $1,873 to $2,312 on top of that in September alone – with further raises likely in following years.

Under the university’s ‘Predictable Tuition Framework’, adopted in 2008, after a maximum 10% increase in a student’s first year, tuitions can then be raised an additional 5% every year after. So although this raise is well in line with the university’s policy, it still has many students up in arms, and all three student representatives on the Board of Trustees voted against the fee hikes.

Proposed in order to help alleviate financial strain on the school, Queens Provost Bob Silverman stated the tuition increases were chosen carefully, and, along with government grants, would allow the university to continue to run its programs.

Queens is one of several Canadian universities increasing international student fees. All feel the pinch of tight budgets and see visa-fees as a chance to raise additional revenues. The problem many universities will face (and some already facing) is competing for those funds in the international marketplace, where a once decidedly Canadian education cost advantage has steadily been eroded by higher tuition fees and a significantly more expensive Canadian dollar.

Source: “The price of internationalization”. Queen’s Journal, January 14, 2011.

2) ABROAD PERSPECTIVES – More Growth in China
Already the world’s second largest economy, it seems China is quickly turning into one of the most popular MBA destinations for international students as well.

A special Bloomberg Businessweek magazine highlighted seven different Chinese business schools and programs, which are being considered leaders of the country’s B-school boom. These included the China Europe International Business School (or CEIBS), Fudan University, Tsinghua University, and the Beijing International MBA at Peking University, among others.

With MBA programs ranging between 18 and 24 months, and focusing on such specialized areas as manufacturing, supply chain logistics, and heavy industry (major strengths in the actual Chinese domestic economy as well), the programs attract top applicants – many with significant work experience from 5 to 7 years. The international student component of most of these MBAs lie somewhere between 30 to 40% – with international B-school partnerships and a large number of international faculty (including both visiting and internationally educated Chinese faculty members) creating an even stronger draw.

As the emphasis of global business increasingly trends eastward, it’s no wonder that many applicants are realizing the value of gaining first-hand experience with China’s distinct business culture. With more and more attractive job opportunities opening up for MBA graduates within the country itself (the CEIBS Career Report for the Class of 2010 shows that half of last year’s international graduates opted to stay in China post graduation), it likely that the nation’s MBA programs will continue to gain strength in the international arena.

Source: “China MBA programs abuzz with international students”. International Business Times, December 17, 2010.

3) OVER THE COUNTER – UK proposes tighter visa regulations. Minister says what few want to hear.
The United Kingdom Home Office has tabled recent proposals calling for tighter regulations regarding international student visas.

While announcing the new proposals, UK immigration minister Damian Green expressed the need he sees to be more selective of student applicants and voiced a fact of student recruiting to the UK for years.

“People imagine students to be those who come here for a few years to study at university and then go home,” he said. “That is not always the case. Too many students coming here to study below degree level have been coming here to live and work rather than studying…. We need to stop this abuse.”

According to the government, 41% of those who enter the UK with student visas (a group that makes up two-thirds of the country’s overall migrant population every year), are currently studying below degree level.

Representatives for one of the UK’s most prestigious schools, St Andrews University (also host to the largest number of international students in all of Scotland) voiced their own concerns. According to the school’s director of representation, Siena Parker, the proposal particularly worries a school with such a “very diverse community” as St Andrews.

“We recruit from all over the world and this will inherently put students off coming here if they don’t have the opportunity to work for a year or two after graduation,” she explains. “We are handing over a massive gift to our competitors in other countries by making these changes. They will inevitably mean more international students will go elsewhere in Europe and the US.”

The proposed changes, which include the introduction of tougher English requirements, also call for further limitations to international students’ abilities to bring dependents and/or work in country.

Reacting to this last proposal, Ms Parker says: “Although our international student fees are high, making it so that students can’t work in a cafe or a bar, for example, after their studies or at the weekends means we are discriminating against people from difficult backgrounds who can’t support themselves.”

Source: “St Andrews University fears visa reforms could deter students”. The Courier, January 13, 2011.

4) GLOBE TIPPING – Protecting your travel valuables.
If you’re hitting the road, especially for business, then chances are you’ll be carrying a number of pricey items with you – laptop, mobile phones, passport, extra cash, etc. In other words, items you’ll clearly want to have with you when you get back home. So beyond the basics of ‘keeping an eye on them’, here are some extra tips for limiting your chances of losing your valuables while abroad.

  • Particularly in an age when identity theft is common, it’s extra important to be extra protective of your information, as well as your actual physical belongings. Beyond putting a password-lock on your computer, phone, and/or other information-carrying electronics, it’s also a good idea to be careful of using any public Wi-Fi points – particularly those that are ‘open’ at airports, hotels, or cafes, where large numbers of other people are connecting at the same time. Basically, if it’s not a secure network – one that requires a password to login – then you might want to pass on using it.
  • There’s nothing like advertising your pricey items or ‘tourist’ status while away from home – especially when you find yourself in less than wealthy areas – to attract the attention of would-be thieves. Flashing around the latest technology, extra thick wads of cash, or your passport is for some a glimpse too tempting to ignore. And as always, visitors who are less aware of their surroundings or local ‘norms’ make easier targets to pickpocket, con, or rob.
  • As airlines carry limited liability for lost, stolen, or damaged items, always be sure to read the fine lines of their coverage policies, and pack accordingly. Also, it might be worthwhile to check your travel insurance, homeowners or renters policies carefully, as many do cover some losses of personal belongings as well. A few airlines will also increase their coverage amount if passengers are willing to pay for the extra insurance when booking or checking in their bags.
  • Just because an item is ‘locked’ in your hotel room doesn’t mean it’s totally safe. In order to ensure that items don’t get swiped while you’re out, you might want to consider using the actual in-room safes or leaving any particularly valuable items (such as jewellery or passports) with the hotel reception or security desk. Even keeping the items out of obvious sight can help
  • putting your laptop in the middle of a bag of dirty clothes, for example, or hiding the items elsewhere in your room while you’re not there. Some travelers even say they leave the ‘Do not disturb sign’ up on their door, bed sheets rumpled, TV on, and their bathroom light on (with the bathroom door only slightly ajar) to make it appear as though someone is in the room – in the hopes of leaving any intruder less tempted to snoop around.
  • And finally, the golden rule – if you don’t absolutely need something, and you really can’t stand the thought of losing it, then it’s always best to leave it at home.

Source: “Frequent travelers share tips for keeping valuables safe”. , December 7, 2010.


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