O Canada! The Vietnamese Student Pivot to the Great White North

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It appears that the bloom is temporarily off the red, white, and blue rose for growing numbers of Vietnamese parents and students. For the first time ever, there are almost 15,000 Vietnamese students in Canada, nearly half as many as in the US. Vietnamese students had the highest percentage increase in 2017 at 89%, making Viet Nam the fastest growing market in the country. What steps can Canadian institutions take to build on this success in the immediate future?

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I recently had the chance to speak to a group of Canadian colleagues at a well-attended general session at the 2018 CBIE (Canadian Bureau for International Education) annual conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada about two of my favorite topics, Viet Nam and Vietnamese student recruitment.

The paragraph above in italics is the abstract.  As I mentioned, my April 2018 University World News article entitled Vietnamese students look at the US and head north (editor’s title) was the inspiration for this session.  The focus was on steps that Canadian institutions can take to build on this tremendous success in the years to come.  We had a lively discussion with lots of questions but, unfortunately, too little time to respond to all of them, as is usually the case at these conferences.  

IMG_6680Thanks for CBIE for giving us the opportunity to speak to Canadian secondary, college, university and ESL colleagues about this important and timely topic.

Shalom (שלום), MAA

Postscript:  At another session I briefly attended, which turned out to be a de facto sponsored one (the reason I left early), based on how many times one presenter mentioned his company and its wonderful products and services, said presenter – in the spirit of Schadenfreude – lobbed the following rhetorical cheap shot at the mostly Canadian audience in the hope of scoring a few brownie points with the home team at the expense of US colleagues:  Our neighbors to the South are dying.  While dramatic, that is hardly the case.  And while the US has seen a decrease in the number of newly enrolled students from abroad and faces many challenges, it remains the world’s leading host of international students.  For its part, Viet Nam ranks 5th among all sending countries with 29,788 students in the US at all levels, according to the latest (8-18) SEVIS numbers

 

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Grow Beyond – SEO-Vietnam Career Conference 2018

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I recently saw this announcement on LinkedIn:

Sponsors for Educational Opportunity – Vietnam is organizing the largest career conference in Vietnam in 2018, aiming at connecting top young professionals and fresh graduates to the top-notch firms in Vietnam. We are still open to more booths at the career fair. If you are interested to boost talent acquisition at our event. please let me know. 

Our partners include top notch firms such as: ABInbev, BCG, SSI, Unilever, Traveloka, McKinsey, British American Tobacco and many more.

Here are my responses and other comments:

Great conference and opportunity with one caveat: I wish organizations would not take sponsorship money from companies that manufacture products that are highly addictive, make their customers sick and, in many cases, ultimately end up killing them. There’s plenty of sponsorship money out there for worthwhile events. Don’t follow the path of least resistance and take what is essentially blood money.  

Hi Mark, thank you for your attentive concern. The morale side of the business is yet controversial, but from our organizing perspective, we try to give a diversified company portfolio, which have prominent career trainings, employees benefits and opportunities for young professionals to make their own choices :). 

It’s not controversial for those who believe that people are more important than profit.  My point is about sponsorship not whether such a company should have a booth at your event. Regarding employment with a company that manufactures products that are highly addictive, make their customers sick and, in many cases, end up killing them, here are two relevant quotes from Thích Nhất Hạnh: 1) “Our vocation can nourish our understanding and compassion, or erode them. We should be awake to the consequences, far and near, of the way we earn our living.” 2) “The way you support yourself can be an expression of your deepest self, or it can be a source of suffering for you and others.” https://english.vov.vn/society/vietnamese-cancer-mortality-rate-higher-than-traffic-accidents-361688.vov 

Thank you for sharing chi!

Peace, MAA

Dealing with the Elephant in the Room: US Nationalism

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I will be participating in a session, along with Ryan Buck, Texas State University, and Lee Lambert, Pima Community College (AZ) on US nationalism as an obstacle to the development of global citizenship at the 2017 AIEA (Association of International Education Administrators) annual conference, which takes places from 19-22 February in Washington, D.C.

Nationalism stands in the way of creating global citizens, but it is the subject few involved in international education in the United States want to speak about.  This session focuses on an essential yet neglected facet of international education, as it applies to both US American and international students: a mindset that transcends competencies and skill sets, how to overcome nationalism in pursuit of global citizenship.

Lee has been Chancellor of Pima Community College since July 1, 2013. Before coming to PCC, Lee was President of Shoreline Community College in Shoreline, WA. He also has served as Vice President for Human Resources and Legal Affairs at Centralia College in Centralia, Wash., and as Special Assistant to the President for Civil Rights and Legal Affairs at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA.

Ryan is Assistant Vice President for International Affairs at Texas State University.  Before joining Texas State University, he served as the Executive Director of International Student Affairs at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. His portfolio included International Student and Scholar Services, International Education and Global Engagement (study abroad), international marketing and outreach, international admissions, the American Language Academy, and international partnerships, agreements and programs.

The 2017 AIEA Annual Conference focuses on the interplay between boundaries and connections in internationalization. International education leaders must negotiate boundaries due to cultural differences, wide-ranging institutional structures, divergent motivations and meanings, and distinct resource allocations – all of which vary from institution to institution, and nation to nation.

Boundaries create silos which, as Gillian Tett explains (in The Silo Effect: The Peril of Expertise and the Promise of Breaking Down Barriers, 2015, Simon & Schuster), present both problems and possibilities for advancement. Silos can create blinders and tunnel vision, discourage progressive thinking, reinforce status hierarchies, and foster skill sets that are epistemologically static and difficult to expand.

On the other hand, utilizing and sometimes repositioning silos can be productive by encouraging strategic thinking and avoiding inward looking approaches and proprietary impasses. (Source:  AIEA website)

MAA

 

Capstone Vietnam is 2015 VietAbroader Conference Event Sponsor

My employer, Capstone Vietnam is the event sponsor of the 2015 VietAbroader Conferences, which will be held – for the first time ever – in seven (7) cities representing all three regions of Vietnam.  These include Can Tho, Danang, Haiphong, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Hue and Nghe An.

vac 2015While VietAbroader (VA), Vietnam’s premier student-run organization focusing on overseas study and study in the USA, in particular, celebrated its 10th anniversary last year, this summer is the 10th year that VA has organized study abroad conferences that offer a select group of students and parents the opportunity to learn more about study in the US from the best sources of information, current students, alumni and US higher education colleagues, and then attend afternoon US higher education fairs that are free and open to the public.

Capstone Vietnam will send staff to events in all seven (7) cities this month.  We’re grateful for the opportunity to support one of Vietnam’s top student organizations doing great work in the field of international educational exchange and are excited about the chance to meet students and parents from all over the country who are interested in StudyUSA.

empower vietnamese youthI’ve been a strong supporter of VietAbroader since its founding in 2004, and have served as a adviser ever since.  I’m proud of VietAbroader’s movers and shakers, including those who have long since graduated and become successful entrepreneurs and exemplary role models in a variety of fields here in Vietnam and elsewhere.

MAA

International Recruitment Tools and Techniques: One Size Doesn’t Fit All

ac15_homepagehighlight_224x116I’m looking forward to participating in a general session of interest to colleagues involved in international student recruitment entitled International Recruitment Tools and Techniques: One Size Doesn’t Fit All. This session is part of the Practitioner Toolbox Track.

Session Description With the demographic downturn in the United States and increased competition for international students, growing numbers of institutions are recruiting internationally. This session, rooted in the realization that each school is different in terms of staffing and budget, provides an overview of best practices related to international recruitment.

Chair & Presenter(s):

Judy Irwin

Managing Director, Connect Globally, Rockville, Maryland

Presenter(s):

Mark A. Ashwill, PhD

Managing Director, Capstone Vietnam, Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam

Mark Hallett, M.S.

Senior Director, International Student & Scholar Services, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, Colorado

Jennifer Falzerano, M.Ed

Director of International Programs, Lane Community College, Eugene, Oregon

Follow these links for more session information and to visit the session blog.

Whether or not you’re planning to attend the NAFSA annual conference and our session, I would like to request your assistance in sharing some information about your international recruitment activities by completing a short 10-question survey.  If we receive enough responses, we’ll share the information at the session and on the session blog.  Thanks!

MAA

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The 7th “Engaging with Vietnam – An Interdisciplinary Dialogue” Conference

 in combination with The First Vietnam-US Higher Education Forum

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I am pleased to share this announcement from the organizers of The 7th “Engaging with Vietnam – An Interdisciplinary Dialogue” Conference in combination with The First Vietnam-US Higher Education Forum. This two-day event will attract Vietnam scholars and other experts from Vietnam and all over the world.  For the first time, there is a one-day pre-conference forum devoted to Vietnam-US higher education and I’m honored to be one of the speakers.

July 7-8, 2015

33A Pham Ngu Lao, Hanoi, Vietnam

Organization partners:

University of Hawaii at Manoa – USA

Hanoi University of Business and Technology- Vietnam

Portland State University – USA

In addition to the partners listed above, the forum and conference will be co-hosted by Monash University, the East-West Center, Thai Nguyen University, the University of Oregon and the US Mission Vietnam.
Sponsors include the Australian Embassy-Vietnam, the Australian Consulate-General in Honolulu, Vietnam Airlines and CJ Travel.

This year the 7th Engaging with Vietnam Conference will join the U.S. Mission and Vietnam partners in commemorating the past, present and future of relations between the two countries. The conference will dedicate day one day to the 1st Vietnam-US Higher Education Forum, which hopefully will be annual from now on. You are invited to this exciting two-day event this July in Hanoi!

Day 1: The 1st Vietnam-US Higher Education Forum

Theme: The Internationalization of Higher Education: Policies and Practices

Organizing Committee: Phan Le Ha (University of Hawaii at Manoa), Dang Van Huan (Portland State University), and Nguyen Ngoc Hung (Hanoi University of Business and Technology)

Presentations on Day 1 are solicited by invitation only. Attendance is open to all via registration on the website.

Day 2: The 7th Engaging with Vietnam Conference

Theme:  Knowledge Journeys and Journeying Knowledge

The Engaging with Vietnam conference series has been, since the time of its inception, interested in the production of knowledge about Vietnam. This interest stems from the realization that the knowledge that people produce about Vietnam depends on many factors, such as where people are located and what they know. Put simply, people inside of Vietnam and people outside of Vietnam approach the study of Vietnam with different ideas, and come to different conclusions. This dichotomy is then complicated by the fact that people inside of Vietnam journey to places outside of the country to study, and people from outside of Vietnam journey to Vietnam to study and conduct research.  These physical journeys lead to intellectual journeys that change people’s ideas, something that we can call “knowledge journeys.”

At the same time, academic theories from around the globe (China, France, Russia, North America, etc.) have journeyed all over the world in recent decades as well and have changed the way people think too. We can call these mobile theories “journeying knowledge.”

The Seventh Engaging With Vietnam – An Interdisciplinary Dialogue Conference seeks to examine both of these phenomena – knowledge journeys and journeying knowledge – in an effort to understand how they influence the way that people produce knowledge about Vietnam.

With this in mind, we would like to invite you to participate in the Seventh Engaging with Vietnam Conference. Please refer to the website for more details.

Engaging with Vietnam Founder:  Phan Le Ha

Conference Chairs and Convenors:  Phan Le Ha & Liam Kelley (University of Hawaii at Manoa) & Nguyen Ngoc Hung & Pham Sy Tien (Hanoi University of Business and Technology)

The 10th VietAbroader Study Abroad Conferences Are Coming!

sac11-1024x683 (2015)Mark your summer calendar, U.S. higher education colleagues!  I’m pleased to announce that the main 2015 VietAbroader Conferences – Passing of the Torch will be held on Saturday, July 18th in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and Sunday, July 19th in Hanoi.

For the first time ever, there will also be conferences in Hue (7/10), Haiphong and Can Tho (7/11), Nghe An and Danang (7/12). With this change VietAbroader demonstrates its commitment to reaching out to underserved communities, educating aspiring young people across Vietnam about U.S. study opportunities and providing them with accurate information and tools with which to make the best decisions for their future. This change will also enable U.S. institutions and schools reach out to a wider and more diverse pool of Vietnamese applicants in the coming years.

Other new features include the following:

  • Interactive Format: Guest speakers will share inspiring stories from applying to U.S. colleges to overcoming challenges abroad.
  • Comprehensive Information: Participants will be given handbooks with accurate, updated information on U.S. college admissions.

There are five (5) institutional sponsorship packages, including Diamond (5k), Platinum (4k), Gold (3k), Silver (2k) and Bronze (1k). (These costs are for Hanoi and HCMC only.) There is currently one Platinum slot left and the Gold, Silver and Bronze slots are wide open.  The registration deadline is May 15, 2015.

vac 2015Follow this link to download both sponsorship documents: Benefits Information for Institutional Sponsors and the Conference Proposal. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Ms. Thu Pham (anhthu.pham [AT] vietabroader.org), Co-President, or Ms. Thu Diem, Head of Partners & Sponsors, (anhthu.diem [AT] vietabroader.org).

The conferences include morning seminars that provide pre-screened attendees and their parents with information about U.S. education and fairs in the afternoon that are free and open to the public, where students and parents can meet face-to-face with currently enrolled students, alumni and official representatives of more than 100 U.S. institutions. Here is the tentative agenda (as of March 2015):

  • 08:00 –08:40    Check-in
  • 08:45–09:10     Opening Ceremony & Keynote Speech
  • 09:10 –09:30    Presentation: Why Study in the U.S.?
  • 09:30 –10:00    Experience Sharing: Opportunities & Challenges in the U.S.
  • 10:00 –10:30    Experience Sharing: Pursuing Your Dreams
  • 10:30 –10:45    Break
  • 10:45 –11:30    Discussion in Small groups
  • 11:30 –11:45    School Quizzes
  • 11:45 –12:00    Closing Ceremony
  • 12:00 –14:00    Lunch Break & Networking
  • 14:00 –17:00    College Fair with Representatives from Over 100 U.S. Institutions

What is VietAbroader (VA)?

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Then US Ambassador to Vietnam, Michael Michalak, and I after delivering introductory remarks at the 2009 VAC in Hanoi.

VA is Vietnam’s premier student-run nonprofit that provides students with information and guidance to encourage them to study abroad, primarily in the United States. The VA Study Abroad Conference (VAC), the organization’s flagship program, was launched in 2005. I had the honor of speaking at the first Hanoi conference. It is also my honor to serve as one of four VietAbroader advisers, a position I have held since the organization’s founding 11 years ago. When I joined the VA forum in 2004, before it evolved into a full-fledged student organization, there were only a few hundred members. There were over 80,000 when the forum was phased out last August in favor of Facebook and a more interactive website.

Every year, it is my pleasure to help VA’s leadership reach out to potential institutional sponsors. Why should U.S. colleges and universities that welcome Vietnamese students to their campuses consider becoming a VAC sponsor? Because it’s one of the most popular and widely publicized events of its kind, and will help you brand and market your school to a large and targeted audience.  Capstone Vietnam, of which I’m managing director, is a corporate sponsor of the VACs and a long-term VietAbroader partner, along with IDG Ventures Vietnam and EducationUSA.

MAA