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Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Volume 9, Issue 35; October 13, 2010

Let’s Go Canada

New overseas placements for UBC students.

Abroad Perspective

In UK, rising international fees could be a precursor to tuition rises for all.

Over The Counter

Economic boom down under, signals student numbers will go up.

Globe Tipping

Staying healthy while away

1) LET’S GO CANADA – New overseas placements for UBC students.

A recent agreement between Qatar University’s College of Pharmacy (CPH) and the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences has set into motion an exciting new student placement program.

Starting this month, students from UBC will travel to Qatar to take part in the newly introduced internships.

Speaking about the program, CPH dean Dr Peter Jewesson explained that although this first set of internships will largely be based upon academic leadership, international program development and accreditation, future rounds will develop to focus on more specialized areas such as drug therapeutics and research.

According to him, the CPH also plans to expand its current placement opportunities to include students from other universities around the world.

“This is a terrific opportunity for Qatar to contribute to the training of Canadian students, to improve their understanding of the culture, life, and pharmacy education and practice in Qatar,” Dr Jewsesson explained, “and to expose students in Qatar to international students while they undertake their own training at Qatar University.”

Dr Jewesson also hopes that, in future, reciprocal arrangements will be found to enable QU PharmD students to travel to established training sites elsewhere in the world, in order to undertake clinical rotations that are not yet offered in their home country.

Source: “QU pharmacy college in deal for internship programme”. Gulf Times, October 5, 2010.

2) ABROAD PERSPECTIVE – In UK, rising international fees could be a precursor to tuition rises for all.

A recent study has suggested that UK students could be forced to pay up to five times as much for their university educations, if the present “cap” on fees is lifted – a change that is currently under consideration.

The study, commissioned by the Sutton Trust, examined the costs that international students are currently required to pay – causing speculation over whether universities, if given the opportunity to set their own price tags, would indeed raise their fees just as high for “home students”. Warning, at the same time, that such a move could mean shutting out the poorer students.

According to the study, international tuition fees have risen by up to 30-40% percent in the past eight years. Although there remains wide variation between different schools and courses, by 2009/10, the average international undergraduate student was paying just under £9,350 for a non-laboratory course (such as humanities), while science or lab-based courses cost around £10,900. At the nation’s more elite institutions, course costs are now up to double those figures.

These numbers, versus the current fees for UK and EU students – which are capped at £3,290 this year. So the question, posed by the report as well as by many concerned Britons, is this – what will happen if this cap is lifted? Will prices for British students triple and quadruple as well? And what will that mean? According to the study, the impact could be substantial:

“Given the patterns for overseas students and postgraduate courses, we would see undergraduate fees or charges rapidly increase, particularly for those universities with the highest academic reputations, and particularly for degree courses with the highest financial returns. There are obvious concerns that such large variations might deter students from less privileged backgrounds from embarking on particular degree courses.”

Source: “Students could face huge fees hike”. The Press Association, October 3, 2010.

3) OVER THE COUNTER – Economic boom down under, signals student numbers will go up.

Australia’s economy is booming. It could mean a big bounce back for foreign students looking to go “down under” after the last two years of dramatically shrinking foreign student intakes for the world’s most aggressive marketing of study-abroad.

This year the Australia dollar has been on a rocket ride. It’s been straddling par with the U.S dollar. Juxtaposed to the U.S. economy and most other Western nations – Australia is actually creating jobs, lots of them. Full-time employment in Australia has jumped 112,500 in the past two months, the biggest back-to-back monthly increase since 1988.

It may be time to take a U-turn for Australian immigration, which dipped 25% in the last year. The ire in Australia of the last two years, which lit a fire against foreign student visitors and drew global attention to dozens of cases of assaults and harassment, was very much driven by economic angst. With the good times appearing to be rolling in big time in Australia, it’ll soon be time to bring back labour, both skilled and cheap – and in Australia, that means foreign students.

“If we want to restrain wage pressures and keep interest rates low then labour supply needs to increase and that means more migrants,” said Craig James, a senior economist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney.
Expect Australian institutions to be campaigning hard in Asia in the next year, as it becomes politically and economically expedient for wide open doors to student visas.

Source: “Australian Job Boom Sends Immigration ‘Wake-Up Call’ Bloomberg News, October 8, 2010.

4) GLOBE TIPPING – Staying health while away

“What are the odds?” may be a common, slightly joking phrase uttered in times when illness strikes while out ‘on the road’. Yet in truth, getting sick while abroad is not all that uncommon of an occurrence. According to, an online travel site, of the 20 million Britons who go abroad each year, around 7 million of them will get sick at some point while they’re away. …And that’s only counting people from the UK! However, luckily for us all, there are ways of lowering one’s chances of falling ill while away. Read on for some helpful tips to keep in mind.

Before you head off

1. Consider Travel Insurance – as the cost of medical attention and treatment for foreigners can be extraordinarily high (especially if one is travelling in the US), with any necessary repatriations costing even more. Also, make sure to identify any areas you will be heading to and/or any pre-existing conditions you might have, as these could affect the validity of your coverage.

2. Check what vaccinations, if any, you might require. Apart from keeping you healthy, in some cases they are mandatory (yellow fever, for example). Also, harking back to point one – your lack of certain vaccinations could affect what illnesses and treatments your insurance plan is liable to cover.

3. If travelling with any prescriptions, make sure to take a copy with you. Also, check whether they’re allowed in the country you’re going to – just because a medication is completely legal in your own country doesn’t mean it’s a restricted drug elsewhere.

4. Pack a decent medical kit, containing rehydration powders in case of stomach upsets, antiseptic, pain killers / fever treatment, and antihistamine. Also, if travelling to really remote places, considering taking a set of sterilized syringes and a transfusion kit.

5. If allergic to anything, you might consider wearing a bracelet that identifies such allergies. Or, barring that, write it on a piece of paper to put in your wallet.

6. If you need them, make sure you take a large enough supply of contact lenses to last you the entirety of your trip. Also difficult to come by in some countries can be actual contact lens solution, so make sure you bring some along as well.

7. If using your mobile phone will abroad, it can also be a good idea to make the first number on your contacts’ list your In Case of Emergency (or ICE) contact – clearly marked as such, to best help out anyone who’s trying to help you!

While you are away

8. Unless you fancy staying awake all night due to burnt body parts, wear sunscreen. Also useful to keep in mind: altitude increases the effects of sun. As can certain antimalarials, antibiotics, and/or other medications.

9. Make sure tap water is safe to drink. If not, use bottled water (or treat water yourself) for all consumption, including brushing your teeth. If local tap water is a problem, you may also want to avoid ice cubes, as well as salads – which are often washed in it.

10. A sudden change in diet (let alone new types of bacteria that your body hasn’t dealt with before) can easily upset your stomach. Introducing new foods gradually can often help your body adjust more comfortably.

11. Make sure that all meat – particularly shellfish – is cooked properly, and thoroughly.

12. Watch out for traffic, as a pedestrian or a driver, as standards for driving and road etiquette often differ greatly between countries. Qatar, South Africa, Botswana, Kazakhstan and Malaysia have the highest road accident death rates.
Once you return home

13. Make sure that you continue to take any medications, such as anti-malarials, for the entire amount of time they have been prescribed for, even after returning home.

14. If you become sick within the weeks or months after returning from travels (particularly to tropical areas), be sure to inform your doctor which country or region(s) you were travelling in.

Source: “Travel health advice: tips for staying healthy on holiday”. , September 30, 2010.



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