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Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

Volume 9, Issue 8; March 3, 2010

Let’s Go Canada

Reliance on revenue from international students

Abroad Perspective

Damage in Dubai. Damage-control in Delhi.

Over The Counter

U.S. makes it easier for Chinese student visa application

Globe Tipping

How to be a principled traveler

1) LET’S GO CANADA – Reliance on revenue from international students

Some in the higher education industry are worried that chasing international students for revenue generation might be a ‘band-aid’ solution that could undermine a university’s academic integrity reports an article published in Maclean’s On Campus news last week.

As David Robinson, Associate Executive Director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, notes “If we end up in a situation where we’re going to become more dependent upon the revenue streams international students provide, it does create potentials for conflict of interest where academic values may conflict with commercial values.”

Mr. Robinson’s sentiments are echoed by Katherine Giroux-Bougard, chair of the Canadian Federation of Students, who points out that the steadily rising tuition fees international students are charged limits the diversity of those who can afford to study in Canada and for a university to depend on revenue from international students to offset funding cutbacks is a “band-aid solution to a much greater problem.”

Source: “International students flock to Canada.” Macleans (On Campus), February 26, 2010.

2) ABROAD PERSPECTIVE – Damage in Dubai. Damage-control in Delhi.

Fear of studying in Australia has spread from India across the Gulf to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  Last week, IDP Education, the major Australian international student recruiting company, reported that the number of Australia-bound students from the UAE has decreased by 25 per cent since 2008.

IDP cites the reasons for the decline as the recent series of attacks on Indian students in the region. IDP reports that despite trying to reassure parents and students that the attacks are isolated incidents the message isn’t resonating.
Indians ex-pats are the largest individual nationality which reside in the UAE (about half the population), and there are thousands of wealthy Indian families who send their children abroad for studies. For years the choice destinations were the U.S. and the U.K., but in the last decade as Australia has marketed more aggressively than any nation, it’s attracted thousands of students from the UAE and the Gulf region.

It’s no surprise that IDP can’t convince Indian families that there is little danger. There has been no let up on this matter in India, where the proclamation is that Australia has been in denial. No more. On Wednesday Australia badly needing to do damage control, had their foreign minister make the announcement in New Delhi, that there is indeed a serious problem.

“We know that a number of these assaults are racists and have racial overtones,” said Stephen Smith. “I acknowledge absolutely that this issue has caused considerable damage to Australia’s reputation among Indian people. We have to be open, transparent and up front about that,” said the visiting Australian foreign minister, who reported there are 70 cases under investigation.

In the UAE there has been the added impact of Australia’s move to tighten rules for permanent residence applications. Becoming a citizen elsewhere can be paramount for ex-pat families in the UAE, who’ve lived all their lives in the Gulf but have no citizenship status in that region. Many send their children abroad to collect a degree and a foreign passport. For the moment at least, Australia is losing favour.

Sources: “Students in UAE reconsider schooling in Australia after spate of attacks.” Gulf News (Dubai), February 23, 2010.
“Attacks racist, damaged Australia’s reputation among Indians: Oz minister.” Times of India, March 3, 2010.

3) OVER THE COUNTER – U.S. makes it easier for Chinese student visa application

Taking full advantage of China’s economic growth is irresistible so much so that the United States is putting efforts into improving its visa services to applicants by staffing more counselors and support staff, office facilities and even implementing an online visa application process.

Michael Kirby, U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Consulate Affairs, reported to China Daily, that last year, 596,231 US visa applications were received from China-based applicants, out of which 98,500 were for study permits. The overall visa approval rate is eight out of ten, with applications in Shanghai having a higher approval percentage than other regions in China.

Mr. Kirby told China Daily that he wants to “dispel the myth that it is very difficult to get a U.S. visa in China. Chinese are welcome to study, travel and shop in the U.S. if they confirm that they will not immigrate to the country. We could also regard this as a way to stimulate our economy as a whole.”

Source: “Growing number of Chinese students head to US.” China Daily, February 27, 2010.

4) GLOBE TIPPING – How to be a principled traveler

Gone are the days where avid travelers just booked a trip and went full-out for the experience. These days, given the wider awareness of one’s carbon footprint and its impact on the environment, many people are conscience to tread lightly.  This week’s travel tips will help those who are trying to balance their love for travel and their desire to be mindful of the environment:

1. Try to book direct flights when possible to help reduce your carbon foot print.
2. Try to stay longer in one place instead of hopping from one destinations to another in a single vacation, especially if taking short flights to do so.
3. Consider a homestay instead of a large hotel but if hotel accommodation is your choice or only option than reuse your sheets and towels instead of having to use fresh ones everyday.
4. When possible try to use local public transportation rather than relying on a rented car.
5. Eat locally and avoid foods that you know are imported.
6. Be aware of and sensitive to the local community, don’t just take pictures of locals without permission and pay attention to local customs, like removing shoes before walking into a temple.
7. Everyone likes a bargain but be fair especially when it would just mean few cents to you but a meal for the vendor.

Source: “How to be a mindful traveler.” Cheap


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