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Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Volume 9, Issue 42; December 1, 2010

Let’s Go Canada

Same goal. Different approaches.

Abroad Perspectives

Indian campus in KL, enhances Malaysia as education hub.

Over The Counter

Foreign students (aka, foreign investment)

Globe Tipping

Getting the inside, “local” scoop

1) LETS GO CANADA – Same goal. Different approaches.

In recent months, both Ontario and Quebec governments have announced new schemes, aimed at attracting some of the world’s most talented PhD students. The two provincial approaches to attract top scholars are quite different.

In Quebec, the bait is a fast-track to permanent residency. Under a deal with Ottawa, immigrants planning to start their Canadian lives in Quebec need to apply for a “selection certificate” from the provincial government. This new program allows all international students – regardless of their level in university or college, so long as they speak French (an intermediate French class at a Quebec university being sufficient) – an essentially guaranteed approval.

The program aims to help the Province meet its growing need for skilled workers. With an increasingly aging population (as is the case across the country), the Quebec government hopes to fill the spots of its retiring citizens by encouraging those international scholars who have already settled in and studied in Canada (receiving immediately recognizable credentials during that time) to stay and begin their careers in Quebec.

By most accounts, the scheme looks to be a win-win scenario – one with few obvious drawbacks, and benefitting large numbers of international students, as well as Canada in general.

In Ontario, the route being taken is a more traditional one – with the government offering a handful of scholarships (75 to be exact), specifically tagged for foreign PhD students. Dubbed as the new “Trillium Scholarships”, the award-organizers hope they will help to attract more of the world’s brightest graduate scholars.

But unlike the scenario in Quebec, the public’s response to this new ‘Trillium’ initiative, announced only a few weeks ago, has been mixed – with critics specifically pointing out a lack of PhD scholarship schemes reserved for students hailing from Canada itself. Although a number of prestigious scholarships are indeed available to Canadian candidates, including the Ontario Graduate Scholarships and Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships, these same awards are also already open to international scholars – now in addition to the tailored Trillium opportunities.

Sources: “Forget about scholarships, Quebec offers international students a fast-track to citizenship”. Macleans OnCampus, November 18, 2010.
“Ontario wins by attracting the best international students”.
The, November 16, 2010.–ontario-wins-by-attracting-the-best-international-students
“Open scholarships to Canadians”.
The, November 17, 2010.–open-scholarships-to-canadians

2) ABROAD PERSPECTIVES – Indian campus in KL, enhances Malaysia as education hub.

Within the coming year, the Indian state Karnataka-based Manipal Education is set to open classes in Malaysia at its new, $180-million multi-disciplinary institution – The Manipal International University, or MIU.

Gearing up to offer both undergraduate and post-graduate programs, the university plans to work together with various industries in order to develop its students into some of the most sought-after young professionals in such fields as engineering, management, business and commerce, law, animation and design, and hospitality.

Located in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, the goal is for MIU to cater to both local as well as international students – particularly those coming from other regions of Asia. With a projected enrollment of between 15,000 to 20,000 students over the next seven years, the expectation is that, over time, nearly 50% of all MIU students will originate from outside of Malaysia.

MIU is not alone in its push to internationalize. According to Malaysia’s Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, the nation as a whole is strongly behind the new institution – supporting, as it does, the country’s overall vision to become a regional hub for higher education. With around 85,000 international students already studying in Malaysia, Nordin says their “aim is to take it to 150,000 by 2015”.

Source: “Manipal Education to set up $180 mn varsity in Malaysia.” Business Standard, November 19, 2010.

3) OVER THE COUNTER – Foreign students (aka, foreign investment)

It’s no secret that the more international students a school can attract, the more financial benefits there are in the form of higher overseas tuition fees. It appears that more schools are catching on to the potential financial windfall – particularly those facing hard economic times on their home campuses. With so many universities suddenly strapped for cash, due to considerably reduced budgets, decreased student intakes and increasing pressures of pension payouts – many institutions are much less shy to jump for a life raft in the form of the potentially lucrative trade in foreign students – and boldly proclaiming their plans to that effect.
One of the Scotland’s leading institutions – Glasgow University – recently announced its newest plan: to recruit more than 1,000 additional overseas students over the next few years, in order to stave off the impact of crippling budget cuts.
In a recent letter to staff, Glasgow University itself predicted that it would run out of money by 2013, unless immediate action was taken to raise income, and making savings of up to £20 million.
Since 2000, the number of postgraduates from outside the UK in Scotland has risen from 7,395 to more than 15,000. If Glasgow University succeeds in its plan, those numbers will continue to grow.
Of course Scottish universities are not alone. Schools in the U.S., the country currently hosting the largest number of foreign university students worldwide, continue to hope for increased international recruitment to make up for budget shortfalls.
After having to offset a state funding reduction of $813 million during last year alone, the University of California is just one such system. Faced with considerable controversy over its shift in focus – being accused for putting increased recruiting resources into attracting greater numbers of foreign scholars, rather than in aiming to keep more of the most talented Californian students at home (as was one published critique made by UC San Diego professor, Daniel Widener) – the university looks set to continue on with its plans.
Sources: “University bids to lure more foreign students as cuts bite”. Herald Scotland, November 18, 2010.
“Foreign students to UC’s rescue”. Los Angeles Times, November 18, 2010.

4) GLOBE TIPPING – Getting the inside, “local” scoop

With “community-based tourism” becoming something of a buzz-word for many emerging travel destinations, more and more networks of local guides, homestays, and local ‘greeters’ are popping up around the world. Below, find a list of ideas and trusted sites to help get you started on your search to ‘stay local’. Just remember, as with any travel experience, always exercise basic safety and precaution first; telling friends where you’ll be, meeting any ‘stranger’ in public first, etc. – Almost anywhere in the world, you can now find someone with a spare sofa to put you up. – Or, if you’d prefer a house to a couch, consider swapping your own home with someone else. – Instead of manoeuvring your way through India’s wide range of hotels alone, try touring the country while staying with Indian families. – Instead of the standard guided tour of a new city, get a free show-around from a friendly, knowledgeable local instead. And, as in the case with many such services – if you like the experience, give back by volunteering your own services (as guide, as couch-provider, or whatever) in your own hometown afterward.

Already found your place to stay, but not into the whole “organized tour” scene – local or otherwise? Then try some of these simple tips to find your own version of ‘local life’, wherever you end up:

1. Besides buying yourself an in-depth guidebook, you can also look for insider tips and new ideas by browsing through online forums, such as those hosted by Lonely Planet (, informal reviews from Trip Advisor (, and Wanderlust magazine’s Travelling Local blog (

2. Learn the language. Even just knowing a few basics and pleasantries (hello, thank you, how are you, where is “x”, how much is this, etc) can open up new doors of understanding and interaction – and the extra effort is often greatly appreciated by locals.

3. Use public transportation. Challenge yourself to ‘get around’ as the locals do – and apart from teaching yourself the lay of the land, you may also run into some interesting (and otherwise unfound) ‘gems’ along the way.

4. In order to taste the authentic fare, aim to dine at local, family-run eateries – located away from any main tourist centres. If you don’t trust your own luck in choosing, then ask for recommendations of local favourites – from taxi drivers, shopkeepers, waitresses, or street vendors. Anyone who lives there is likely to have a good opinion on the subject.

5. Finally – get lost. Pick a neighbourhood that you’d like to explore, then put your map and guidebook away. Just wander the streets, taking time to look around, perhaps taking photos or stopping at interesting-looking shops, and concentrate on nothing more than taking in the ‘local life’, as it happens all around you.

Sources: “How To Travel Like a Local”.

& “Meet the locals travel guide”. Wanderlust.


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