“(US) American Ex-Pats Explain Why They Quit the USA”

The work/life balance sucks, there are too many guns, and thanks to a certain someone now in charge, things are likely to get worse.

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Image by Lia Kantrowitz for VICE

This oldie but goodie from 2017 is the tip of the iceberg.  One could write a book about this topic.  There are many other US Americans living outside of the US who did not “quit the USA” but simply chose to live elsewhere for personal and professional reasons.  Most are objective about what the US has to offer, its strengths and its positives, but also realize that it is not the “greatest nation on Earth.”  They see the US is not “an exceptional city on a hill, but as a mortal among other nations,” in the words of Anatol Lieven (2004).  Those who believe that it is either or both are either US nationalists and/or don’t travel overseas very often, if at all.  

Jim Rogers, a US billionaire who lives with his family in Singapore, had this to say about his home country a few years ago in an article in which he sang the praises of…  Singapore:  “I can tell you that when you fly into a New York airport, you are flying into a third world airport.” — Jim Rogers.  (If you’ve ever been to Changi Airport in Singapore, you know exactly what he’s talking about – in spades.)  In a 2015 Wall Street Journal article entitled Expat Investor Jim Rogers on Why He Loves Singapore And Doesn’t Miss the U.S. Rogers also referred to “third world” taxis driving on “third world” roads.   

Peace, MAA

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Lessons From the UT Tyler Scandal

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.

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Photo courtesy of IHE

A number of questions came to mind after reading this 16 July 2018 Inside Higher Ed article 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.  

Peace, MAA

The Red, White, & Blue Pot Calling the Kettle Black

Nearly two dozen members of the U.S. Congress have written to the heads of Facebook and Google urging them not to comply with a new cybersecurity law in Vietnam, saying the legislation is in violation of international human rights standards and raises concerns under the country’s trade obligations.

google logoThis is rich, coming from the greatest human rights violator in the world, bar none, and a country that regularly and extensively monitors the online activities of its own law-abiding citizens and anyone else they can sink their claws into via Google, Facebook, and other companies, regardless of nationality.   (Long live Edward Snowden!)  

Here’s a dictionary definition of HYPOCRISY:  the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense.  If the shoe fits, wear it, and it certainly does in this case.  (Long live the Tor Project and encrypted email and chat!)  

Radio_Free_Asia_(logo)Follow this link to read this article in its entirety:  US Lawmakers Urge Facebook, Google Not to Comply With Vietnam Cybersecurity Law.  As always, consider the source.  RFA is a propaganda organ of the US government.  It broadcasts and publishes online news, information, and commentary to listeners in East Asia while “advancing the goals of U.S. foreign policy.”  Even if the truth doesn’t set you free, it will make you a more well-informed national and global citizen.    

Bonus!  

Read these 2010 and 2013 articles and weep (and/or get angry): EXCLUSIVE: GOOGLE, CIA INVEST IN ‘FUTURE’ OF WEB MONITORING

Secret program gives NSA, FBI backdoor access to Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft data

Peace, MAA

Postscript:  Cybermemo to those two dozen hypocrites in the US Congress and their fellow travelers:  Rome is burning!  Instead of throwing stones from your rather large and crumbling glass house and wasting precious time talking out of both sides of your sanctimonious maw, why not try putting out some of the fires?  HintUse water not gasoline.  

“Hyderabad techie shot in Kansas restaurant, dies”

Very sad incident. We should avoid USA for study and employment. -Sanjoy Pandey

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Sharath Koppu, 25, was shot and killed inside J’s Fish and Chicken Market Friday, July 6, 2018, according to Kansas City police.
Courtesy of Kansas City Police

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.  

While this shooting apparently received minimal coverage in the US media, with the exception of Kansas City, it was all over the Indian media. (Here is a 9 July editorial from The Kansas City Star editorial board:  Fatal shooting of UMKC student from India tells the world KC is dangerous.)  

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.

R.I.P. Sharath Koppu

Peace, MAA

 

 

Viet Nam Ranks 5th in International Enrollment in 3 Countries

…including Australia, Canada, and the USA!  Those countries also happen to be the world’s leading hosts of international students, albeit in this order:  1)  USA; 2) Australia; and 3) Canada, followed by the UK and Germany.  

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Of the estimated 200,000 Vietnamese students studying overseas, 23,000 are in Australia (PDF download), about 15,000 are in Canada, and 31,613 are in the US.   Japan is the world’s leading host of Vietnamese students with 61,671 in 2017.  This means 131,284, or two-thirds, of all Vietnamese studying overseas are in the top four (4) host countries. 

Peace, MAA

 

 

Live from Viet Nam – An E20 Webinar!

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Last week, I had the opportunity to present on one of my favorite topics, Viet Nam, to a virtual audience of over 40 US colleagues, including those from higher and secondary education.   I’m grateful to Syed Jamal from Branta and Renait Stephens from Study in the USA, event co-sponsor, for inviting me and for scheduling the session earlier than usual, i.e., at 10 p.m. Viet Nam time.  (The usual time is 10 a.m. Pacific, which is 1 a.m. my time!) This meant that I still had my wits about me and was relatively coherent after a long day of travel and work. 

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In my approximately 20-minute presentation, I provided a wide-ranging overview of current/recent issues and trends in Viet Nam in order to place interest in overseas study and student recruitment in a broader societal and even historical contact. 

In addition to a country update that included up-to-date statistics about young Vietnamese studying overseas in general and in the US in particular, I talked about some keys to success in a very competitive market, emphasizing how important it is for institution to find what works for them often through a process of trial and error.  I concluded with a brief discussion of the importance of digital marketing in a country with a high Internet and social media penetration rate, especially for one at its stage of development, and the often problematic issue of student visas.  Regarding the latter, it’s important to focus on what is within our control, e.g., embrace visa counseling and reject scripting.

I also shared a link with all participants to a password-protected page I created on this very blog entitled Selected Online Resources About Viet Nam & Student Recruitment.

Peace, MAA

 

Worldwide Caution (?)

worldwideI was looking for some information on the US State Department website a while ago and came across this notice.   Wow, the world is such a scary place, especially outside the borders of the US, a country that has come to be known within its borders since 9/11 as the Homeland, much to my dismay and that of many other thinking people.

Here are some of the places to avoid in a long and growing list of countries: 

  • high-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.)
  • hotels, clubs, and restaurants
  • places of worship
  • schools
  • parks
  • shopping malls and markets
  • tourism infrastructure
  • public transportation systems
  • airports

Did they overlook anything?  Travel abroad, check into your hotel, lock the door, and stay there!  Room service, anyone?  

The Caution notes that In multiple regions, terrorists, guerrilla groups, and criminals seek to kidnap U.S. citizens to finance their operations or for political purposes.  That pretty much reflects the prevailing view that US American life is more valuable than non-US American life but I didn’t realize it was THAT valuable! 

The caution neglects to inform the presumably concerned reader that homicide rates in the US were seven times higher than the average of other high-income countries, due in large part to a gun homicide rate that is about 25 times higher than in other high-income countries.

Having said that, most communities in the US are safe, as are most communities in other countries.  The US, unlike most other countries, especially its peers, has to come to terms with mass shootings as common occurrences, which are related to the availability not just of guns but assault weapons (of mass human death and destruction).  Then there is police brutality not directed against people who look like me but fellow citizens of color. 

On a personal note, I’m happy that I live in one of the safer countries in the world where crime is pretty much limited to “crimes against property,” including the occasional drive-by bag and purse snatching, especially in HCMC/Saigon.  No “cautions” here, just good old-fashioned common sense, e.g., leave your valuables at home (or in the hotel safe, if you’re a tourist) and carry your bag away from the street.

eyes-useless-when-mind-is-blindIn the midst of this “worldwide caution” and rampant fear, here’s a question that practically asks itself:  Why are so many people around the world so pissed off at the USA?  Look at past and present foreign policy, CIA dirty tricks, military interventions and, more recently, Donald Trump’s incendiary comments and actions.  Why do they hate us (US)? The reasons are obvious and plentiful but not to nationalists, whose ideological blinders do not allow for self-reflection and introspection.

Peace, MAA