Viet Nam Once Again Ranks 5th in US International Student Enrollment

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According to the August 2018 SEVIS by the Numbers update, Viet Nam once again ranks 5th among places of origin with 29,788 active students at all levels and in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, inching past Canada, which had displaced it in June 2018.  (One always has to take summer statistics with a grain of salt, since there’s always a dip that coincides with the end of the academic year.)  

1) China: 378,003
2) India: 227,199
3) South Korea: 64,022
4) Saudi Arabia: 43,413
5) Viet Nam: 29,788
6) Canada: 29,496
7) Brazil: 26,846
8) Taiwan: 24,429
9) Japan: 23,088
10) Nigeria: 16,042

That’s the good news in these troubled times.  The bad news is that the number of student visas issued in FY18, which ended on 30 September 2018, was down from last year.  (I’ll provide more information in a forthcoming blog post.) 

My ballpark estimate is a 5-6% decrease, which is line with the decrease in overall numbers.  This assumes that the US Mission in Viet Nam (Embassy in Hanoi and Consulate in HCMC) issued the same number of F-1s in September 2018 that it did in the same month last year.  That information will be out soon.  

Keep in mind that there were 31,389 young Vietnamese studying in the US, as of December 2017.  This means that there are now 1,601 fewer students from Viet Nam, a 5.1% decrease.  One obvious reason is the shift to Canada, which hosted nearly 15,000 Vietnamese students last year and recorded an unprecedented one-year increase of 89%.    

Peace, MAA  

Postscript:  There are currently 27,061 young Vietnamese studying in South Korea, which means the top five host countries for Vietnamese students worldwide are 1) Japan (61,671, 2017); 2) the USA (29,788, 8-18); 2) South Korea (27,061, 4-18; 4) Australia (22,565, 7-18); and 5) Canada (14,836, 2017).  This means that there are 155,921 in the top five countries alone, 57% of them in East Asia.  

 

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Happy 9th Birthday, Capstone Vietnam!

birthday cake capstone

This week, Capstone Vietnam, a full-service educational consulting company that I co-founded in 2009 and of which I am managing director, celebrated its 9th birthday.  It has been a helluva ride, one I’ve found to be deeply rewarding on many levels. 

Logo Recruit in vietnam final-01As I mentioned to a colleague the other day, the best situation is when you are able to exploit your own labor rather than have to sell it to someone else and allow them to exploit it (you), to paraphrase Karl Marx.  More about that in this 2017 interview.  

10thLooking forward to celebrating our 10th anniversary and 10 years of Reaching New Heights in September 2019!  

Peace, MAA

“(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

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