Fall 2017 EducationUSA Community College Fairs

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This fall, EducationUSA, i.e., US Mission-Viet Nam through its Embassy in Hanoi and Consulate in HCMC, is organizing a community college fair series in three cities in southern and central Viet Nam.  According to the official description,

The series will offer opportunities to meet students in three major cities where demand for this sector of U.S. higher education is growing. Vietnam is now the 2nd leading country of origin for students at community colleges in the United States and the 6th leading country of origin for international students overall. Registration is open now to all accredited U.S. community colleges.

(As of June 2017, Viet Nam ranks 5th among all sending countries, having displaced Canada in March.  Read this 25 June 2017 VNExpress International article and this 7 July 2017 University World News article for up-to-date information.)

The cities and dates are as follows:

  • HCMC on 3 October
  • Can Tho on 4 October
  • Hue on 6 October

While it has been decreasing in recent years, demand for community colleges (CC) as a pathway to four-year institutions and a Bachelor’s degree remains strong among Vietnamese parents and students, especially in these regions of the country.  According to the latest (June 2017) SEVIS by the Numbers update, 30% of all Vietnamese students in the US are enrolled in a CC while 29.7% are studying at a four-year college or university.  (In 2009/10, 90% of all Vietnamese undergrads started out at a CC.)

may 2017 ed level breakdown VN
June 2017 SEVIS by the Numbers Update

Clearly, the most promising location among the three is HCMC, which is where the majority of CC students are coming from.  There are far fewer students coming from the other two cities because of less ability to pay and a higher visa denial rate.  This fair series is an example of a probable mismatch between US State Department and US community college goals.  The former are focused on outreach as a manifestation of the exercise of soft power while the latter are here to recruit students for their institutions.

MAA 

 

 

Trump is not deterring Vietnamese from studying in US

Here are the introduction and conclusion to my latest (7.7.17) University World News article about the possible impact of political changes in the US, in particular, on young Vietnamese studying overseas.  It includes links to recent articles.  If these excerpts whet your appetite for more, follow this link to read the article in its entirety. 

MAA

INTRODUCTION

photo_4856Vietnam remains a hot country for United States colleges, universities, boarding and day schools interested in international student recruitment. Just as its economy has managed to weather the global storm of the past few years, Vietnamese young people continue to study abroad in large numbers, undeterred by Brexit, the 2016 US presidential election and other cataclysmic, potentially game-changing socio-political events.

In fact, the US is the world’s second-leading host of Vietnamese students – after Japan – with over 30,000 at all levels, mainly in higher education, according to the latest (June 2017) SEVIS by the Numbers quarterly update. However, Japan and the US are an apples and oranges comparison since the latter offers mostly short-term, vocational programmes.

Vietnam displaced Canada as the fifth-leading sending country to the US in March 2017, a position it continues to hold in the latest update.

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

Vietnam is defying the odds, as it has in so many respects in the recent past and throughout its long, tumultuous and inspirational history.

The articles above show why US institutions should make Vietnam a priority country for international student recruitment and why they should develop or fine-tune an ethical recruitment strategy in what has become a fiercely competitive market, not only among US institutions but with those coming from countries that have recently discovered Vietnam as a potentially promising recruitment market.

While the recruiting wave will eventually break because of demographic and development-related factors, such as aging of the population and an improvement in the quality of the domestic higher education system for example, demand for overseas study will continue to gain momentum for now, barring unforeseen political and economic factors.

In Viet Nam, Good Parenting Equals A Straight-A Kid, Plus an American Degree

Call it love, ambition or obsession, but the only thing most Vietnamese care about is a well-educated child.

good parenting
Photo by Thanh Nguyen, VNExpress International

It’s probably a bit of each.  Parents generally want the best for their children and overseas study, especially in the US, which is the world’s second leading host of Vietnamese students, is seen as one means to that end. 

Of course, there are other stories waiting to be told, for example, about growing numbers of young Vietnamese returning home after studying and, in many cases, working overseas. Many of them are making significant contributions in their fields, sectors, and to Vietnamese society.  There are also the many contributions and accomplishments of those who either choose not, or cannot afford, to study overseas, i.e., the vast majority of Vietnamese.

Follow this link to read the entire 25 June VNExpress International article

 

MAA

Viet Nam Enrollment Up 6%, According to SEVIS Biannual Report

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For some reason, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), decided to issue an update on international student enrollment as of May 2017.  There are currently 1.18 million international students with F (academic) or M (vocational) status studying at 8,774 schools in the US, according to the latest SEVIS by the Numbers update (PDF), of whom 77% are from Asia. 

Based on data extracted from SEVIS May 5, the international student population increased 2% compared to May 2016, with 76% of students enrolled in higher education programs of study.  Based on past increases, or taking a glass is half-empty look at that increase, it’s very modest at best, and a harbinger of a downward trend at worst. 

[In my opinion, May is not the best time to be analyzing and comparing international enrollment figures in the US because it’s the end of the academic year.  Why not wait until October, after the beginning of the new academic year?]

China and India continue to send the largest number of students to the US with 362,368 students and 206,698 students, respectively.  Saudi Arabia experienced the largest decline at -19% and Nepal the most sizable increase at +18%.

There are some bright spots, however, including one related to Vietnamese enrollment.  Viet Nam was one of a handful of sending countries with a notable increase of 6% from May 2016 to May 2017.  India was in the same range with a 7% increase. 

Fields of Study

There are no surprises here.  Business, including management, marketing and related support services, are the most popular fields of study, followed by engineering, computer science, remedial education and liberal arts.  43% of international students enroll in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs of study. DHS classifies

Regional Trends

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This biannual report includes a new section on regional data trends.  Below are some excerpts from the SEVIS update:

Northeast:  The international student population in the Northeast increased 4% when compared to May 2016, marking the highest proportional growth of the four US regions. Rhode Island was the only state in the region to experience a dip in the number of international students compared to the previous year, while New York and Massachusetts added the largest number of international students during that same period, 4,490 students and 2,770 students, respectively. New Jersey saw an increase of 10% in international students pursuing bachelor’s degrees.

South:  In the South, the international student population grew 3% since May 2016. Florida, Georgia and Texas all saw significant increases in the number of international students studying in those states.  While Louisiana, Tennessee and Oklahoma saw decreases in the number of international students studying there.

Arkansas, Kentucky and Maryland all saw major growth in international students taking part in their higher education system. Maryland saw a 10% increase in the number of students earning a bachelor’s degree. However, the southern region saw the largest growth at the graduate degree level. The number of international students pursuing master’s degrees increased 25% in Arkansas and 35% in Kentucky.

Midwest:  The Midwest saw minimal growth of 1%. Illinois added 1,331 students to its international student population, marking the largest increase in the region, while Nebraska experienced the largest proportional growth of 7%. Missouri experienced the largest decrease in international students, both in terms of student numbers and proportional decline, 763 students and 3%, respectively.

West:  In the western part of the US, international student enrollment stayed relatively static in California, other than an 8% increase in the number of students earning bachelor’s degrees. Idaho saw a 14% drop in the total number of international students studying in the state, with a 16% decrease in the number of students earning a bachelor’s degree. Nevada’s international student population grew by 5%, marking the largest proportional growth in the region.

The top 10 host states for Vietnamese students are as follows: 

  1. California
  2. Texas
  3. Washington
  4. Massachusetts
  5. New York
  6. Florida
  7. Pennsylvania
  8. Illinois
  9. Virginia
  10. Georgia

The top three states enroll 46% of all Vietnamese students, while the top 10 enroll nearly 72% of the total.  Consistent with the regional trends reported above, Florida surpassed Pennsylvania and Georgia displaced Minnesota from November 2016.  

Stay tuned for the next, and much more interesting, update on the number of international students in the US, including from Viet Nam! 

MAA

BREXIT & US Election: No Major Short-Term Effects on VN Student Interest

hcmoblogo-newThis is the latest in a series of Diversification Market Reports produced by Hotcourses, the UK’s leading course search company with more than 6,000 course providers.  (Hotcourses was recently acquired by IDP.)

Below are an overview, executive summary, and list of the key takeaways, the most important of which is this:  BREXIT and the US election have not had any major short-term effects on Vietnamese students interest in the two countries.  The results of this survey were presented at the NAFSA 2017 annual conference in Los Angeles.

hotcourses vn trump

This report captures an overview of demand from students in Vietnam, and an
examination of the destinations they are headed to, the programs they are studying,
level of study and other trends and insights. The data in this report is informed by the
Hotcourses Insights Tool which tracks searches across the global Hotcourses websites,
to which there were over 32 million visitors in the past 12 months. 

The data for this report is drawn from the time period January 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016.  The data was drawn from a sampling of 1,034,085 Vietnamese students researching 11 prospective destination markets over a 12 month period: Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore,
Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States. 

Executive summary

  • Vietnam is a crucial market to engage with for universities looking to diversify
    their recruitment – particularly beyond China and India – gaining increasing
    international attention.
  • Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi are the two Vietnamese cities where the most searches for
    overseas study were performed.
  • Vietnamese students’ top destination countries of interest were the United States
    and Australia, with 33% of Vietnamese researching universities in the United States
    and 27% in Australia.
  • Business and management is the most popular program of interest among
    Vietnamese students for both undergraduate and graduate degree levels.

Key Takeaways

  • BREXIT and the US election have not had any major short-term effects on
    Vietnamese students interest in the two countries.
  • Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi are the two most important cities to travel to on
    international recruitment tours to Vietnam.
  • Business and Management is the top program of interest for both undergraduate
    and graduate level Vietnamese students.
  • Graduate programs in the UK are of high interest to Vietnamese students,
    particularly business and management.
  • USA’s Health and Medicine programs, especially those focused on
    pharmacology and psychology, are of high interest within the Vietnamese
    market.
  • Vietnam is a prime diversification market for Canada, as Vietnamese student
    interest there has been growing exponentially over the past year.
  • While interest in Australia as a destination market appears to be on a decline, it
    is still the second most popular destination market for Vietnamese students and
    has potential to rebound in the first half of 2017.

There is one caveat to all of the above:  The results are as of the end of 2016.  A lot of water has flowed under the political bridge in the past seven (7) months in both the US and the UK.  

MAA

What is Your Ikigai?

Everyone I know who is happy is working well at something they consider important.  Abraham Maslow

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I had the opportunity to speak to about 150 10th graders at one of the more selective high schools in Hanoi earlier this week.  I chose to speak to them not about overseas study in general or study in the USA or another country in particular but about finding their ikigai, which is related to quality and quantity of life, what to study at university, and which career(s) to pursue after that. 

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A brave student answering the three (3) questions at the bottom – in English!

Ikigai, of course, is a Japanese concept that refers to reason for being, the thing that gets you up in the morning, the passion the drives your life.  While a seemingly simple concept to define and illustrate, it is not always so easy to find.  For students who are 15 or 16 years-old, it is the right time to begin exploring. 

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Another student answering the same questions in English.

I asked them some questions that get at the heart of the matter to help them think more concretely:

  1. What are you good at?
  2. What do you think you might be good at but are not sure yet?
  3. What do you enjoy doing?
  4. What do you have a passion for? 

While I didn’t have a projector because the presentation took place outside, I described ikigai as being at the center of what I like to call an existential sweet spot.

ikigai
The existential sweet spot of ikigai

I also shared some relevant quotes about time (The key question to keep asking is, ‘Are you spending your time on the right things?’ Because time is all you have. Randy Pausch, 1960-2008), how to follow your heart and  live your life (Steve Jobs, Stanford University 2005 Commencement Speech), and how to be happy in life (the “grand essentials of happiness” from George Washington Burnap). 

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Students working on their ungraded pop quiz

To underscore my point about the value of time as the most precious commodity in life, I helped put the finiteness of life in perspective.  “Let’s say you live until the age of 80, which is five years older than Viet Nam’s current life expectancy.  You’ve already lived 19% of your life.  What will you do with the remaining 81%?”

Then  I introduced the concept of psychological flow, which is related to ikigai.  It was developed by the Hungarian psychologist, Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who defined it as a “highly focused mental state” and “effortless concentration and enjoyment”.  He saidThe best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times…  The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.  I also like this definition from the Wikipedia entry about flow:  Flow, also known as the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.

In order to make the abstract concrete, we discussed examples of flow, including writing, composing music, writing code, playing chess, cooking, dancing, painting, solving a difficult math problem, etc. 

I concluded with a quote attributed to Confucius:  We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.  Sadly, some people never come to this realization.  High school is the ideal time for young people to become aware of life possibilities and constraints. 

Finally, I had the students answer the following questions – in English or Vietnamese.  Some shared their answers with the group.

  1. What is your passion?
  2. When do you experience psychological flow?
  3. What do you hope for?

Looking out into the audience, I noticed that quite a few students were actually listening, a sign of interest and curiosity.  As for the others?  Hopefully, they get it sooner rather than later.  Young people naturally think of life as never-ending while those of us who are older and/or experienced death at an early age know that the clock is ticking.

Have you found your ikigai

MAA

“The key question to keep asking is, ‘Are you spending your time on the right things?’ Because time is all you have.”  (Randy Pausch, 1960-2008)

 

Riding the Wave: An Update on Student Recruitment in Viet Nam

capstone vn logocollege scout logo

Riding the Wave: An Update on Student Recruitment in Viet Nam

An Unofficial Pre-NAFSA Annual Conference Seminar

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

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

  Co-Speaker: Phuc Phan, Founder and Instructional Designer, College Scout

maaphuc

 Content by Dr. Mark Ashwill  

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

An analysis of Vietnamese student enrollment at US higher education institutions based on the most up-to-date SEVIS information

Content by Mr. Théodore Phan

Academic and extracurricular challenges for Vietnamese undergraduates

 How to align college preparation of prospective students with the US general education curriculum.  Includes short videos of online 101 prep content.

Location: Will be sent to registered participants

Register here

csulb logocsulastudy in the usa