Viet Nam Moves Up to 5th Place Among Sending Countries

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In my latest University World News article I write about the increase in the number of Vietnamese students studying in the US from November 2016 to March 2017, and the fact that Viet Nam was the only country to move up in the ranking of sending countries, displacing Canada in fifth place, as I predicted last year.

Follow this link to the read the article in its entirety.

A note to colleagues who will be attending the NAFSA annual conference and who have an interested in Viet Nam:  I’ll be participating in the following events.

Riding the Wave Viet Nam Student Recruitment Seminar: Monday, 29 May (unofficial)  Online registration is required.

Keys to Successful Non-Commission-Based Recruitment in Vietnam:  Friday, 2 June (general session)

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Keys to Successful Non-Commission-Based Recruitment in Viet Nam

AC17_presenter_badgeTo international education colleagues with an interest in Viet Nam:  Join me, Diana Sampson, Associate Vice President, International Education, Shoreline Community College, & Stephanie Sieggreen, Executive Director, International Enrollment Management, Western Kentucky University at our NAFSA general session entitled Keys to Successful Non-Commission-Based Recruitment in Vietnam

AbstractVietnam now ranks sixth among all sending countries, according to the latest SEVIS update, with most of that enrollment in higher education. While the pool of potential students is expanding, so, too, is the competition. This session provides recruitment strategies that do not involve the use of education agents.

Follow this link for more session-related information, including a brief bio for each presenter. 

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Viet Nam Briefing & Discussion with US Study Abroad Students

ssa-logoI spent part of last Monday morning speaking and listening to a group of 17 US students who are in Viet Nam for the spring semester under the auspices of a School for International Training’s (SIT) program entitled Vietnam: Culture, Social Change, and Development.

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They started out in HCMC (Saigon) on 1 February and will now spend the remainder of their time in Hanoi.  Most are female (12 out of 17, or about 70%) and come from a variety of mostly private colleges and universities from 11 states.  These include – in A-Z order – Bates College, Emory University, Hamilton College, Ithaca College, Maryland Institute College of Art, Skidmore College, University of Mississippi, Siena College, University of Vermont, Vanderbilt University, University of Virginia, Vassar College, Washington University in St. Louis, Whitman College, and Williams College

Thei majors represented include Anthropology, Economics, Finance, Gender Studies, History, Human Development, Illustration/Design, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Public Policy, Social Work, and Sociology.

In addition to their coursework and program-related activities, the students are either working on an independent study project or doing an internship.

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We discussed a wide range of issues related to Viet Nam, its development, and its recent history, as well as about concepts such nationalism, patriotism, and global citizenship.  They were engaged, curious, and well-informed. 

Thanks to SIT for the opportunity to talk about one of my favorite topics – Viet Nam!

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You Don’t Have to Study Business to Do Business

book-45Forbes Vietnam published an article by me with the above title in its February 2017 (#45) issue.  An expanded English version, which focuses more on the value and advantages of a liberal arts education and includes more examples, will be published this spring.  Here’s a brief introduction:

Viet Nam currently ranks 6th among all countries sending students to the United States – with over 30,000 at all levels, mostly in higher education.  According to the 2016 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, 29.3% of all Vietnamese undergraduates in the US were studying business/management.  This was the second highest percentage of any sending country – after Indonesia.  (The popularity of business is not limited to these two countries.  Almost one in five bachelor’s degrees earned in the US is in business, per the US Department of Education.) 

maa-forbes-2-17-issue-45Why are so many young Vietnamese studying business in the US, among other countries?  Because parents – as the key decision-makers – have bought into the seemingly logical notion that their children have to major in business in order to work in the private sector.  In other words, they believe that their sons and daughters have to study business in order to do business.  This is in part because most Vietnamese are not yet familiar with the concept of a liberal arts education and its many benefits, both intrinsic and tangible.

Viet Nam has consistently ranked #1 in recent years in the percentage of its students who choose business/management as an undergraduate major.  (It was displaced in the 2015/16 academic year by Indonesia.  Still, nearly a third of all Vietnamese undergraduates are studying business.)  Meanwhile, there are many young Vietnamese who were liberal arts majors, and are now pursuing successful careers in the private, nonprofit, and public sectors in Viet Nam and elsewhere.

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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)

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Riding the Wave: An Update on Student Recruitment in Vietnam

Below is an announcement about an unofficial pre-NAFSA 2017 annual conference seminar that I’ll be leading in Los Angeles. 

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Riding the Wave: An Update on Student Recruitment in Vietnam

A Pre-NAFSA Annual Conference Seminar

Co-Sponsored by Cal State, Long Beach, Cal State, Los Angeles, & Study in the USA

Date:  Monday, May 29, 2017                                                      Time: 10 a.m.- 12 noon

Seminar Leader:  Dr. Mark Ashwill, Managing Director, Capstone Vietnam

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Content:  A comprehensive overview of current market conditions, recruitment tools and techniques and different types of recruitment strategies.

Location:  California State University, Los Angeles, Downtown Center (Address will be provided to participants.)  Refreshments will be served.

Free of charge

Follow this link for online registration

Eligibility:  Only regionally accredited institutions may participate, in accordance with Capstone’s policy.

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US Mission Viet Nam Response to Open Letter to Vietnamese Parents & Students

Below is a response I received from Molly Stephenson, Counselor for Public Affairs, US Embassy, and Matthew Wall, Public Affairs Officer, US Consulate General, in response to an “open letter” I wrote last December to Vietnamese parents and students who may be concerned about the outcome of the US presidential election.  Reprinted with permission.

This takes on added importance in light of Trump’s immigration ban that targets seven (7) predominantly Muslim countries.  My article was written for Vietnamese parents and students with an interest in study in the USA but my sentiments apply to all current and prospective US-bound international students.

Follow this link to read the English and Vietnamese versions, published by University World News and Hotcourses Vietnam, respectively.

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Dear Dr. Ashwill,

The U.S. Ambassador and the U.S. Consul General asked us to respond on their behalf.

We appreciate your efforts to reassure Vietnamese families that the doors to U.S. higher education remain wide open.  This is an important message, and your post compliments and amplifies U.S. Mission Vietnam’s messaging on this topic.  We also note that the specific themes you raise in your University World News posting echo the views of the many American university leaders who have met with us since our presidential election.

We sincerely hope that the Open Doors data from Vietnam continues to climb.  We agree, as you state, that U.S. higher education institutions “strive to create and maintain an inclusive, nurturing and diverse environment in which international and U.S. students can learn, work and play together with lasting mutual benefits.”

Thanks again for your contribution to deepening people-to-people ties between Vietnam and the United States — one student at a time.

Molly L. Stephenson
Counselor for Public Affairs
U.S. Embassy Hanoi

and

Matthew E. Wall
Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Consulate General, Ho Chi Minh City