Follow this link to read my latest article, which is about a phenomenon I’ve observed over the years, namely, how some young Vietnamese who study in the USA become what I refer to as honorary US nationalists. (If you’re not sure what nationalism means, have a look at this 2016 essay. Hint: It’s quite different from patriotism.)
Here’s an excerpt:
Overseas study is a unique opportunity to learn about the good, the bad, and the ugly of the host country, all the colors of its social, political, and economic rainbow, as it were, a sentiment echoed by Senator J. William Fulbright, whose name is synonymous with international educational exchange in the country of his birth: There is nothing obscure about the objectives of educational exchange. Its purpose is to acquaint Americans with the world as it is and to acquaint students and scholars from many lands with America as it is–not as we wish it were or as we might wish foreigners to see it, but exactly as it is… [From the Forward of The Fulbright Program: A History]
My advice to these three young Vietnamese, whose stories I have shared, and others like them, regardless of nationality, is as follows: Learn more about your country’s history, the sacrifices made by previous generations, and the role of foreign powers in domestic affairs. Learn about other countries as they are, not as some people wish you to see them. Preserve your intellectual and spiritual independence and, by doing so, retain your integrity. Finally, never allow yourselves to be used by people whose primary concern is their own country, especially when those interests run contrary to those of your country, and other nations and peoples. Be true to yourselves and to historical truth.
689,063 international students in the US in 2017/18, or 63% of the total, studied in 10 states, according to Open Doors 2018 data. You can see a list of 50 states and some US territories by following this link, or click on each state below to see its fact sheet (PDF download). Each fact sheet lists the top 5 places of origin for international students by percentage and the top five host institutions in that state, in addition to the percentage change from the previous academic year and the estimated international student expenditure in that state.
You’ll notice that most have large urban centers, which is where most US Americans lives. Below is a composite image of the continental US at night in 2016. (Credits: NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Suomi NPP VIIRS data from Miguel Román, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)
Now here are the top 25 leading host institutions, which enrolled 251,972 international students last year, or 23% of the total, followed by a map of the US that indicates clusters of high international enrollment.
One conclusion to be drawn from the above is that if your institution is not located in one of the top 10 states, the challenge of recruiting international students, in addition to everything else that is currently on our collective plate, is more daunting. You simply have to be more proactive and, to use an old tagline, try harder. There are many individual success stories and concrete reasons for institutions’ success in international student recruitment.
The Internet is chock-full of ironies. Tragically, Celia Barquin Arozamena, an international student from Puente San Miguel, Spain, was brutally raped and murdered earlier this week in the US heartland. Sadly, that, too, is part of America’s Story. Click on the image to read this VOA report.
Below are a couple of excerpts from a blog post I wrote at the invitation of NAFSA’s International Enrollment Management (IEM) Knowledge Community.
While there are some indications that growing numbers of students, who are better informed and more empowered than ever, are applying directly to foreign educational institutions – a trend that we should all encourage because it enables colleagues from admitting institutions to exercise more control over the application process – Vietnam, like most sending countries, is still very much an agent-driven market.
Given this reality and the fact that competition is fiercer than ever, colleagues need to develop a long-term and diversified strategy that includes a variety of non-commission-based recruitment tools and techniques, both digital and offline, in addition to developing a quality and ethical agent network. Working with education agents should be just one of many tools in an institution’s recruitment toolbox. If it’s the only one, your recruitment efforts are doomed to fail in competitive markets.
Here’s a link to the original post, if would like to read it in its entirety on the NAFSA website.
The scandal concerning students from Nepal should prompt a long-overdue conversation about institutional priorities surrounding international students in higher education, write Laura A. Kaub and James Linville.
A number of questions came to mind after reading this 16 July 2018 Inside Higher Edarticle written by well-intentioned colleagues. Below are the questions and my responses.
What is the precise definition of “high achieving, low income” (HALI) students? This would be helpful in thinking about the type of student the authors are discussing in Nepal, the African countries that their organization serves, and elsewhere.
Do the authors know how many of the 60 Nepali students offered scholarships by UT Tyler fall into this category? Young people are one of Nepal’s major exports in the form of adopted children and students. Needless to say, many from the latter category are drawn from that country’s upper classes.
How do institutions verify need? Even if you trust, for whatever reason, you must always verify. I know of a number of cases in which children from families of considerable means gamed the system and received need-based need. I know one US colleague who wanted to give all Vietnamese applicants need-based aid, as if all Vietnamese students are poor. Moral of the story: even rich people want need-based aid. It’s up to those who run the system to close any existing loopholes and not open any new ones.
Instead of loans, why not guarantee on-campus jobs for these students? Who would make the loans? What would the interest rate be? How would you guarantee repayment, e.g., withhold the diploma until the outstanding balance is paid? What are the visa implications of these loans?
Finally, the notion that scholarships are (or should be) taxed is absurd but something that is beyond the control of the authors.
Very sad incident. We should avoid USA for study and employment. -Sanjoy Pandey
Another international student, Sharath Koppu, who arrived in January in the US to begin his Master’s degree in computer science at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, has fallen victim to the USA’s endemic gun violence. The above headline was the title of an article that appeared in The Times of India on 8 July 2018. The quote, which was the first comment, sums the reaction of many, be it on a short- or long-term basis.
More young Indians will think twice before choosing the USA as an overseas study destination. The shift to Canada and other countries was already taking place and incidents like these only serve to hasten that process.
Last year, two Garmin engineers, also originally from India, were shot by angry white man yelling “Get out of my country!” One succumbed to his injuries. It doesn’t matter that the latter was a hate crime while the former a murder committed during a robbery. The end result is the same: they’re both DEAD.
Sharath Koppu’s cousin, Raghu Chowdavaram, set up a GoFundMe account that raised $50,832 in three (3) days, $25,000 of that within three (3) hours. Here’s part of what he wrote:
Sharath Koppu is an Indian Computer Engineer who came to the USA in the month of Jan 2018. Sharath is known to his family and friends as full of dreams, cheerful, energetic and athletic. In the pursuit of his dreams, he moved to USA to do his Masters. He had the same dreams like everyone else to make it BIG in the land of opportunity. He had a great sense of humor, and always made people laugh and was always eager to lend a helping hand.
Little did anybody know that life is about to take a big unfortunate turn on a fateful day of July 6th 2018.
The story has been told time and time again. As of two years ago, approximately half of U.S. private companies valued at $1 billion or more (so-called “unicorns”) had founders who came to the U.S. as international students.
Yes, it’s true and I agree 100% BUT my guess is that this and similar arguments fall on deaf ears among the current powers that be because ideologues generally don’t care about logic and facts. The anti-immigrant, nativist crowd only cares about its narrowly-focused agenda, the long-term well-being of their country be damned.
This is a sad reality that the author points out when he mentions the obvious: …this Administration doesn’t seem to care. What’s really scary is that the worst is yet to come. The Administration’s recent actions have led to awful images of immigrant children in cages that have gone viral and global. Before Trump was elected, I predicted that his administration would hasten the decline of the US, as did other much more astute observers of the US political scene. (One important bit of silver lining in all of this – knock on wood – is that the US has yet to invade, occupy, or destroy any other country, aside from the bomb that is dropped every 12 minutes.)
NAFSA: Association of International Educators, which bills itself as “the world’s largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education and exchange, working to advance policies and practices that ensure a more interconnected, peaceful world today and for generations to come,” is fond of trotting out the old economic contribution argument. In addition to all of the other myriad benefits, both tangible and intrinsic, international students contribute $37 billion to the US economy. What’s not to like and support, right? Most of those in the America First crowd simply don’t care. International students are perceived by some as potential national security risks who will be able to steal economic and other secrets – to the strategic disadvantage of the US. Yeah, right.
It doesn’t matter that previous presidents, e.g., Barack Obama, and presidential candidates, including Donald Trump himself, have spoken out in favor of encouraging a certain percentage of international students to remain in the US for the long term and contribute to its economy and society. (For example, Mitt Romney campaigned six years ago on stapling a green card to the diploma of every international students with a degree in math or one of the sciences.)
Follow the link to read this 28 June 2018 Forbes article in its entirety. The concluding paragraph should whet your appetite:
As we celebrate America’s birthday next week, this issue deserves our full attention, starting with all of us in higher education, and everyone who first came to this country as an international student (of which group I’m a proud member). President Trump has already trashed America’s moral leadership, ostensibly in the name of economic gain. But these developments – both rivals pushing ahead and a reckless disregard of the impact of an isolationist approach to immigration on American higher education and talent – demonstrate that he’s also intent on trashing America’s economic leadership.
The United States’ loss is a gain for Australia, Canada, the UK, and other countries, as I upload this post.
Postscript: Forget about US economic leadership. The USA is, after all, a mortal nation among other nations, in the words of Anatol Lieven. What about remaining economically competitive? What about meeting the basic needs of all of its citizens? Obviously, there’s more to all of this than economic growth. Here’s what happens in a society in which three (3) people own more wealth than 50% of the population: Almost half of US families can’t afford basics like rent and food (18.5.18)