All Posts Tagged With: "international"
Recent survey of international students might surprise you
In 1916, Bill Boeing went to MIT to hire his first chief engineer. He picked Wong Tsoo, a Chinese guy who had emigrated to England at the age of 16 for undergrad before crossing the Atlantic for graduate school. Wong quickly got to work on Boeing’s first commercially successful plane, the C-Model. Imagine how different the airline industry might have been had another country’s university—Canada’s perhaps—enticed Wong. Both Canada and the U.S. had racist anti-Chinese policies at the time, such as the Head Tax, but if Canada had been less racist than America, might the Wongs of the era have chosen McGill?
We’ve come a long way since then. From 2001 to 2008, the number of international students in Canada increased at a rate of 4.3% per year; between 2008 to 2012 the annual increase was, astonishingly, 12.3%. There were 265,377 in 2012 (74% of them in post-secondary schools). We now get five per cent of all international students worldwide, making Canada the seventh most popular destination after the US, UK, China, France, Germany and Australia, according to Project Atlas.
1 in 3 agree international students hindered learning
Every once in a while, a student newspaper contributor will float the idea that in a time when universities are short on resources (seats in the library, face-time with profs, one-ply toilet paper) we ought to consider cutting or capping international student enrollment. A student at UBC Okanagan recently waded into this argument.
“With the constant increase of international students in order to cover shortfalls, are we displacing seats of domestic students? Any administrator you talk to will argue that this measure does not displace seats, but what about the infrastructure of UBC? Won’t we eventually run out of space in the library?”
History students might recognize the dangers of this discussion. When resources get tight, a minority group is an easy scapegoat. Until now, we didn’t know how domestic students view their international peers, an increasingly important question as international enrollment doubled from six per cent of the total in 1992 to 12 per cent of the total in 2010. A new study by Higher Education Strategy Associates, who surveyed 1,398 domestic students, shows positive and negative feelings.
Fingerprinting in place, landlord checks proposed
In Canada, international students put up with higher tuition, face language and cultural barriers, and often suffer from homesickness.
In the U.K., they now have it even harder. At least two English universities are fingerprinting international students to make sure they attend lectures, reports Times Higher Education.
“The universities of Sunderland and Ulster have installed biometric monitoring systems on satellite campuses not used by British students, a move condemned by the National Union of Students … Ruth Davison, student relations and compliance manager at Sunderland, said the system had been installed because the site was “entirely international” and the Home Office required that all attendance be monitored. … The fingerprint data would be destroyed after students left the university, Ms Davison added. She also said that the students were “really comfortable” about fingerprinting and the London campus’ student council was happy with the system.”
The universities are fingerprinting because the government now requires them to make sure those enrolled are actually studying and not using students visas to work illegally in Britain.
But biometrics is only the beginning. A proposed immigration bill would require landlords to check the immigration status of potential tenants. It’s reasonable to assume that many won’t want to be bothered with the added bureaucracy making it even harder for newcomers to find shelter.
Two Nigerians lived in Regina church since June 2012
REGINA – Two Nigerian students who sought sanctuary in a Regina church to avoid deportation have voluntarily left Canada.
University of Regina president Vianne Timmons says she said goodbye at the airport today to Victoria Ordu and Ihouma Amadi.
The students were told in June 2012 that they had to leave Canada because they had worked illegally for two weeks at a Walmart store.
They said they thought they were allowed to work because they had social insurance numbers.
Timmons says it was sad to see the young women leave and she hopes they can come back to finish their degrees.
The pair had completed three years of study at the university and had the support of fellow students, the provincial government, the Opposition NDP and Liberal MP Ralph Goodale.
Western business schools scramble to set up overseas
For Dezsö Horváth, the dean of York University’s Schulich School of Business, there’s no small amount of irony in India’s recent decision to allow foreign universities to confer degrees in the South Asian country of 1.2 billion. The widely expected but long-delayed ruling came on Sept. 10—one week after Schulich planned to welcome the first wave of students to a brand-new, $100-million campus in Hyderabad. The ambitious project was put on hold last year after it became clear that the foreign universities bill, first proposed in 2010, would not be approved by this fall.
Horváth now predicts it will be mid-2014 before all the details are ironed out, meaning the earliest Schulich could open in Hyderabad would be two years from now. In the meantime, Schulich has forged a partnership with the philanthropic arm of India’s GMR Group, the infrastructure company that has agreed to build Schulich’s Indian campus. Under the temporary arrangement, students will spend a year studying in India before coming to Toronto to complete their degrees.
Nigerian students shouldn’t be sent back
Victoria Ordu and Ihouma Amadi, two students from Nigeria, have been seeking sanctuary in Regina churches since June 19th, 2012 to avoid deportation for violating their student visas.
Their situation shows how the federal government sees international students in Canada: as injections of money into the economy rather than as human beings worthy of respect.
The two came to study at the University of Regina in 2009 on full scholarships paid for by Nigeria. Ordu, a theatre arts major, and Amadi, an international studies major, were working legally on campus part-time until their problems began in 2011, when they took part-time work at Wal-Mart—Ordu with an agency doing demonstrations in the store, Amadi with the store itself. They were unaware their social insurance numbers allowed them to work only on campus. After two weeks at Wal-Mart, Ordu learned she was not allowed to work off campus and quit. Amadi says she found out when she was led out of the store in handcuffs.
Universities worried about damage to Canada’s reputation
The unprecedented job action Monday by Canada’s striking diplomats sparked recriminations in the tourism sector as an estimated 150 visa officers walked off the job in 15 foreign missions.
The Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers escalated the rotating job action after an attempt to seek binding arbitration with the federal government broke down last week.
Canada’s tourism association blamed the diplomats for walking away from binding arbitration.
“We are disappointed the union has walked away from the mediation process, just as we were profoundly disappointed that they purposefully chose this time of year for their action — when we have the highest volumes of both visitor and student visas,” David Goldstein, president of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, said in an emailed statement.
Workers who issue visas stop work at 15 embassies
Canada’s striking foreign service officers have escalated their job action to 15 major embassies after an attempt to seek binding arbitration with the federal government broke down Friday.
The Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers accused Treasury Board President Tony Clement of negotiating in bad faith for insisting on six preconditions before agreeing to binding arbitration.
The union said Friday it will withdraw services at the 15 largest visa processing centres in Canadian foreign missions, up from the three it had previously been targeting.
Beauty may trump merit in competitive job market
A few years ago, a 21-year-old Chinese woman sought cosmetic surgery to look more like Jessica Alba and made headlines around the world, but the pursuit of altered appearances for pragmatic reasons is much more common in China.
China now ranks third, just behind the United States and Brazil, in the number of cosmetic operations performed annually, according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
The most popular procedures—eyelid surgery, rhinoplasty (nose job), and jaw reshaping—are not meant to fend off the effects of aging, but to give young people an advantage over their peers.
For the nouveau riche in China, getting a more aesthetically pleasing face is the last step in their reinvention. Ever since the country introduced a hybrid state capitalist model in the late 1970s, the economy has grown exponentially and so has the ultra-rich class. Kevin Kwan’s popular new book, Crazy Rich Asians, portrays the emerging Chinese elite as decadent to the point of frivolity. “They are everywhere, buying everything in sight,” he writes. “If there’s a designer label, they want it.”
Just as the Chinese one-percenters seek to purchase status and prestige in the form of custom-made crocodile-skin Hermès Birkin bags, they see beauty as a commodity. For the young, especially, an attractive face offers an edge in both the increasingly competitive job market and the cutthroat dating field where women are considered “leftover” (not marriageable) after age 25.
But what does it mean for this year’s army of seven million new university graduates? It means that getting ahead is not based on merit, but on looks. While it’s true that a world-class education is highly marketable anywhere, job applications in Asia often require a photo of the applicant, giving the genetically blessed and surgically improved an unfair advantage. And there are fewer jobs for new graduates in China than there have been in years, upping the competition to new levels.
The obsession with physical appearance at work may be difficult to understand, but Chinese youth see it as an investment in their futures. For the first time, upward mobility is a possibility, and if it takes a new face to climb the corporate ladder, so be it. They are eager to embrace what modern technology and medicine have to offer, whether it’s an iPhone 5 or a more perfect nose.
Perhaps they will outgrow their new money philosophy of excess. In the meantime, it’s important to note that plastic surgery is not without its risks. Permanent numbness, infection, and even death are all potential side effects. For most people, good hygiene, makeup, and a positive, confident attitude can do wonders, without the need to alter their faces.
Ideally, one day China’s new graduates won’t need to resort to such drastic measures to get ahead.
Vivien Chang recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia.
Why some on campus are calling for more language help
Professors at the University of Regina, which has doubled its international student population from 730 in 2009 to 1,448 in 2013, say students are being admitted without good enough English.
English professor Susan Johnston told CBC that some don’t have the listening skills to understand what’s going on in classes and they also appear to be crafting papers in one language and converting them to English, “through some kind of Google Translator or BabelFish program.”
The discussion isn’t limited to Saskatchewan. The international student population grew by 60 per cent nationwide between 2004 and 2012.
While universities are happy to have the extra tuition, funding and diversity that foreign students bring, schools face pressure to make sure these new recruits can read, write and speak well enough to succeed.
Students Nova Scotia, an advocacy group, recently studied international students. After consulting government, professors and students (both foreign and domestic) they concluded that, “language fluency is possibly the most important academic challenge affecting international students.”
British Columbia diploma offered at 41 off-shore schools
It’s a muggy afternoon in June and high school students wearing T-shirts stamped with the image of Terry Fox stride past towering high-rises and scooters with honking horns in this small Chinese city that’s been coated in haze from the local fiberglass factory for several days.
For most, it’s their first time making the fundraising trek that’s annual tradition half-a-world away in a country where they yearn to attend university.
Teachers at Grand Canadian Academy, a private school certified to award British Columbia diplomas, hope the early Terry Fox run will ease cultural integration for students who have perhaps only visited Canada once before.
Yet the teenagers don’t hesitate to draw contrast between how the hero from their prospective new country might have fared in their rapidly-developing homeland.
Eight universities’ departments among top 50 worldwide
The QS World University Subject Rankings 2013 are out now. The London-based company’s report offers a rare peek at how our school’s history, engineering and law programs—30 subjects in all—are viewed internationally.
Unsurprisingly, the top three universities from the Medical Doctoral category of the Maclean’s University Rankings—the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia and McGill University—are also the top Canadian schools on the list. Those three are top five in Canada in 29 of 30 subjects and top 50 worldwide in many.
The highest ranked Canadian subject is geography at the University of British Columbia, which is tenth globally. There are also several subjects in the top 15: environmental science at UBC along with medicine, philosophy, linguistics, mathematics, sociology, geography, education, English and history at University of Toronto.
Internal government study cites budget cuts, winter
Canada is failing to attract high-quality university students from China, India and Brazil, internal research commissioned by the Foreign Affairs Department concludes.
The findings of the focus groups conducted in those countries represent a setback to the Harper government’s ambitious efforts to broaden Canadian trade and investment in the three emerging markets.
Initiatives designed to forge educational links have been a feature of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s strategy to deepen economic ties with Asia during his trips to China and India this year.
Meanwhile, Gov. Gen. David Johnston travelled to Brazil in the spring with 30 university presidents in tow, one of the biggest delegations abroad to push the benefits of Canadian education.
A fake medical student, a fake gun & Dalton McGuinty
1. After nine years as premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty stepped down last night and prorogued the legislature. By 9 p.m., the newspapers had stories suggesting he’ll run for the federal Liberals against Justin Trudeau. Paul Wells writes that he would be astonished by that. “But then, McGuinty has already astonished me once tonight,” he adds. Wells explores the Teflon Premier’s legacy and examines a (possibly) telling recent speech.
2. A man rejected from medical school at New Zealand’s Auckland University decided to go anyway. He spent two years attending classes, labs, and hospital placements and was only caught when a classmate put his name on a group assignment.
3. A 28-year-old woman who was walking to the University of Windsor Monday was told by a man carrying a fake gun to hand over a computer bag. The woman described the gun as “two sticks taped together.” The University of Windsor Campus Police arrested and charged a 21-year-old.
Uncomfortable washrooms, tuition, & angry naked folks
1. Some students at the University of Victoria are uncomfortable with the new “multi-stall gender inclusive washrooms” in the Student Union Building. The student union got rid of the old man-woman divide by renovating urinals and changing the gendered signs to show just a toilet. The goal is to make life more comfortable for transgender students. I guess one person’s comfort is another person’s discomfort sometimes.
2. The new Mattamy Athletic Centre at the Gardens (formerly Maple Leaf Gardens) is sponsored by Molson Coors. There are multiple beer ads and beer is for sale in the concession. While hockey fans are saying “thank God,” other people apparently have a problem with it. Ryerson University President Sheldon Levy, true to form, has a pragmatic response: “you can sneeze and be within 40 paces of the Gardens and have alcohol, so how am I supposed to police things?,” he told The Eyeopener, adding, “I consider the students adults and I trust them to make judgments.”
3. Two University of Regina students are seeking sanctuary in a church after the Canada Border Services Agency decided to deport them to Nigeria because they illegally worked for two weeks at Walmart. U of R President Vianne Timmons is lobbying the government to allow them to stay.
A “white pride” club, Turkey Syndrome and dead dogs
1. Fourteen lifeguards in El Monte, Calif. were fired for a spoof video featuring Korean pop singer PSY’s signature horse-riding dance moves. Their “Lifeguard Style” video was an homage to the viral hit “Gangnam Style.” Officials say they were fired for using city property improperly, but one of the fired lifeguards says she was told by the city that they found the video “disgusting.”
2. An American student at Towson University is planning a “white-pride organization.” Matthew Heimbach, a U.S. history major, sparked controversy last year when his Youth for Western Civilization group criticized Islam and same-sex marriage. Heimbach says whites are discriminated against. Out of respect for free speech, university officials say the group will be tolerated.
3. About 2,000 people at the University of Guelph set a world record on Saturday by packaging 315,000 emergency relief meals in a single hour. The food help fight famine in Mauritania.
Kristen Stewart, TIFF, Jimmy Kimmel is mean & bubble tea
1. Maclean’s, headquartered in the city currently known as TIFF, has a team working to bring you the latest news on films and celebrities right here. You thought Kristen Stewart, that famous double-timer, would steal all the attention? Well, she sure did. Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon Levitt, whose sci-fi flick Looper opened the festival, were also popular on the red carpet last night.
2. While we’re on the topic of TIFF, intrepid Maclean’s reporter Jessica Allen is seeing Spring Break today. It’s the movie students everywhere are talking about—and I can see why. It has a classic plot: Selena Gomez and friends rob a restaurant so that they can party in Florida, but get busted for drugs and then have to rely on James Franco to bail them out of prison.
3. Comedian Jimmy Kimmel launched a segment on his show called “Hey Jimmy Kimmel, I Got My Kid a Horrible Back-to-School Outfit.” Not everyone thinks it’s funny. Parents taped the horrified reactions of kids given embarrassing back-to-school clothes. The segment included more than a few homophobic stereotypes, including one t-shirt that says “I’m So Gay I Sh*t Rainbows.”
Helena Guergis, student housing, Obama and Occupy
1. The University of Alberta’s class of first-year law students will include Helena Guergis, a former junior cabinet minister who had a very public spat with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Perhaps she’s studying up for her appeal after her lawsuit against the PM was dismissed last week.
2. Students in Fredericton, N.B. have their pick of where to live, due to declining local enrollment.
3. Students in booming Saskatchewan have trouble finding anywhere to live. Vianne Timmons, president of the University of Regina, says a student stopped her on the street to ask if she knew any rentals. New residences are coming.
Mexico’s students have upended the presidential race
From Maclean’s magazine. By Gabriela Perdomo.
Just weeks ago, Enrique Peña Nieto seemed to have Mexico’s July 1 election easily in hand. But a series of demonstrations led by students at a posh Mexico City university has shaken the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate’s campaign, putting a significant dent in his lead.
What had been a dull race was turned on its head on May 11, when Peña Nieto was speaking at the private Universidad Iberoamericana, “La Ibero,” as it is known, in Mexico City. Before then, Peña Nieto looked set to crush both Josefina Vázquez Mota, the governing National Action Party (PAN) candidate, and Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the left-wing PRD, the Party of the Democratic Revolution.
A Waterloo start-up provides courses on smartphones
To hear Dean Pacey describe online learning is a lesson in how the Internet—despite its vastness—can actually be a very personal place. In fact, taking courses over a computer, he believes, has the potential to make education more intimate and effective than any typical class-teacher setting, which is often full of distractions.
“When I go to university and I sign up for psych 100, I’m sitting with 1,500 other students with one talking head who I can’t hear and who may or may not speak English well at the front of the room,” he says. “How is that a rich experience?”
By comparison, Pacey imagines a world in which students in any country can pick and choose the courses they’d like to take over the Internet from the best international schools, many of which are in Canada. These courses would feature video lectures, online chats and news feeds related to the content, and would be delivered in whatever language the student preferred. Even more surprising: while the course content could be viewed on a computer screen or tablet, it would be designed, first and foremost, for smartphones—making the “classroom” entirely mobile and available anytime, anywhere.