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Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Volume 9, Issue 41; November 24, 2010

Let’s Go Canada

Indians choose Canada, at an unprecedented rate.

Abroad Perspectives

Nigerian students flock stateside – but to whose loss?

Over The Counter

Cutbacks spur student protests in Iceland

Globe Tipping

Missed your flight… What next?

1) LETS GO CANADA – Indians choose Canada, at an unprecedented rate.

Student visa numbers from India to Canada are going to be up by more than three hundred percent! True?

The former Manager of the Canadian Education Centre Network (CECN) in India, Maria Mathai, reports on the November 15th issue of her Blog that Canadian High Commissioner designate Stewart Beck made the proclamation this month at a recent reception at his residence for Canadian university presidents. It means the number of Indians who went to Canada for studies this year will exceed 10,000 – considering the most recent CIC statistics show approximately 3,250 visas issued in 2008. It’s a shocking number, once thought beyond the realm of possibility.

Ms. Mathai reports that when this astounding figure was announced, it was greeted by “a scattered round of applause” at the High Commissioner’s home. She went on to say that it may be that the senior Canadian academic administrators “did not realise the significance of this announcement.”

However it may be that the university presidents have not seen the jump in their own Indian numbers on their own campuses. Despite their busiest student visa season ever, Canadian visa officers have lamented they are seeing reduced numbers of applications to universities. When you add in the findings of the widely respected and distributed IIE Open Doors report, which states undergraduate interest from India to America is down, it makes one wonder – so are they going north of the border to Canada?

Not likely. Much more plausible is what’s driving student visas to Canada is the combination of the drastic drop in Indians going to vocational colleges in Australia, and the new ease of obtaining visas to Canadian colleges.

Source: “A new decade – Canadian visas from India climb up”. Maria Mathai’s Blog, November 15, 2010.

2) ABROAD PERSPECTIVES – Nigerian students flock stateside – but to whose loss?

According to a statement by the US embassy in Abuja last week, Nigeria still leads other Sub-Saharan African countries in the number of citizens studying in the United States.

As stated in the Institute for International Education (IIE)’s annual Open Doors report, a total of 6,568 Nigerian students were enrolled in regionally accredited US educational institutions for the 2009-10 academic year – helping to contribute to the US overall 2.9% increase in international scholars last year.

Some Nigerians are concerned by this growing trend. Reacting to an online article highlighting the new findings, dozens of readers weighed in on the pros and cons of their youths’ scholarly migration to the States.

One reader, identified as “Hako”, was particularly concerned with what the westward move results in – as well as reflects.
“6,658 students,” Hako writes. “Another loss of Nigeria’s best and brightest to a brain drain pipeline. These young men and women are never likely to settle in Nigeria again – not if the cruelly selfish visionless leadership in Nigeria persists.”

Another reader, “priest”, supported Hako’s thoughts.
“I agree with you. I left Nigeria 7 months ago for my masters in the US. I really pray that things get better for my people especially the young Nigerian men and women. [But] I know it will take the power of God to make me change my mind to return.”

Other readers took a slightly different approach to the issue – stating that these students are not necessarily the ‘best and brightest’, but merely the most privileged. As a number of posts suggested, the majority of these students are likely to be sons and daughters of wealthy politicians, businessmen, and, according to Henry Ehirimnwaebo, who posted from the Midlands, UK, corrupt “looters of our land”.

Calls for reform to the current education system in Nigeria, as well as hopes for future scholarship opportunities for less privileged students, were among other hot topics within the discussion.

Source: “Nigeria tops in school enrolment in US”. Next, November 19, 2010.

3) OVER THE COUNTER – Cutbacks spur student protests in Iceland

This month’s International Students Day saw scholars of various ages gather outside the parliamentary building in Reykjavik, Iceland – all banning together to protest planned cutbacks to the country’s educational system.

Organized by the Association of Icelandic High School Students and the University of Iceland Student Council, the protesters raised placards with such slogans as “Education is power” and “Don’t cut us”. Student Council representatives from the university also opened a donation box, soliciting contributions from passers-by.

Icelandic Minister of Education Katrín Jakobsdóttir spoke with students at the event, and later described the protest as a positive initiative. Stating that schools had not been pampered before the cutbacks, she felt the protest was an understandable reaction.

Although Jakobsdóttir says she’s optimistic over the outcome of a second set of discussions covering the budget bill, she’s says she’s still hoping there won’t be further cutbacks to the nation’s education – particularly in the area of high schools, where students are already complaining of overcrowded classrooms and lack of subject choices.

Other sectors in Iceland also face potentially drastic funding cutbacks in the near future, including various divisions of the nation’s health care system.

Source: “Students Protest Cutbacks in School System”. Iceland Review Online, November 18, 2010.

4) GLOBE TIPPING – Missed your flight… What’s next?

Few travel scenarios are more frustrating than missing an important flight – except for perhaps missing that important flight and losing all your checked luggage along with it. For those unfortunate enough to face either of these scenarios, however, here are a few ways to help manage the damage.

First thing’s first – head to your airline’s reservation desk. Tell the clerk that you’ve missed your flight, and don’t leave until you have an alternative plan – preferably in writing. If missing your flight was your own fault, or the fault of another non-partner airline, you may have to pay (if not the full price, then at least a penalty). However, if you missed a connection due to a late arrival on the same airline, then they are obliged to help you find a solution (and cover it’s cost) as soon as possible. Alternatively, if you know you’re going to miss your flight before you reach the desk, and you used a travel agent to book your ticket, you might want to give them a ring. They can often help you rebook and/or sort through your options before you even arrive at the desk (and can be particularly useful for those times when hotel accommodations or limited seating on alternative flights are up for grabs).

Regardless of the reason for your missed flight – whether it be due to mechanical difficulties, turbulent weather, a delayed connection, or your own human error – just make sure you don’t leave the desk (or the area) until you have a new flight booked, and know from where and when it departs. And also, before you…

Locate your luggage. Although you may have missed a flight or connection, your luggage may not have. If your arriving flight was delayed long enough that your connecting flight left before your incoming one arrived, you may be able to retrieve your luggage at the carousel designated to the flight – or, if it doesn’t turn up, by visiting the airline’s customer service desk and getting them to phone down to their baggage department (note that it may be already tagged to be put on the next available flight to your destination – though also note that it may not be, so this is something you want to be sure to find out). If they say the bags have gone on ahead, then they should be waiting for you once you arrive at your destination – and should hopefully be found by enquiring at the airport baggage desk upon arrival. All considered, yet another good reason to be sure to carry any necessary medication, valuables, and a basic change of clothes with you on-board.

Minimize your chance of missing a flight. The best way to do this is to allow plenty of time between connecting flights. Particularly when flying into larger airports, or those with multiple terminals, you should try to allow more time. Though you can’t control weather or plane mechanics, you can make misses less likely by allowing a little buffer more time during your layovers.

Source: “What to Do if You Miss Your Flight”., September 16, 2008.



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