Monthly Archives: March 2018

News The Changing Face of International Students in the United States

Last year, nearly 1 million international students studied in the US.  Long considered the land of opportunity, the US has always attracted a significant percentage of the world’s international scholars.  In recent years, the numbers of international students have skyrocketed; they’re a lot younger, and while they’re from all over the globe, they’re likely from only a couple of places in the world.  They also receive significant funding from their home country.  International students coming to study in the US are changing the face of universities across the country.  Let’s take a look at what’s happening—and why.

1. They’re younger

A recent report published by the Institute of International Education (IIE) found that more international students who pursue higher education in the US come from US high schools. IIE’s Deputy Vice President for Research and Evaluation, Rajika Badhari says, “While secondary students from around the world have been coming to the United States on high school exchange programs for many years, IIE’s new analysis shows that the number of students who enroll directly in US schools to earn a US high school diploma now significantly outnumbers those who are here on exchanges.  This is a remarkable finding, and one which has implications for US higher education.”  What does this mean?  Students are coming to the US earlier and then following the direct pipeline from secondary school to higher education.

Even the ones who don’t study at US high schools before enrolling in a university program are historically younger.  International students are not just coming for graduate school anymore; they’re starting their university education in the US as undergraduates—and freshmen, more often than not

This uptick in younger international students on US campuses has forced many universities to strengthen their foreign-student services programs.  Younger international need the same academic, social, and emotional supports as domestic students, if not more so.  In addition to changing freshmen orientation to meet international needs, universities are addressing issues related language barriers, cultural and religious differences, and a new kind of homesick—typically from thousands of miles away, not to mention every college student’s need: time management skills.  Many universities started mentorship programs for international undergraduates in the US, pairing students with older international students, or even graduate students who typically have fewer emotional support needs, mostly because they’re older.

2. There are more of them

According to the Wall Street Journal, international students comprised nearly 5 percent of all undergraduate and graduate enrollment in the US in 2015, up from about 3 percent in 2005.   The 2015 Open Doors Report on International Education Exchange, an annual survey of study abroad trends published by the IIE in partnership with the US Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, confirmed that the number of international students at US universities experienced its highest growth rate in 35 years.  The IIE’s conclusion?  The US continues to be the destination of choice for international students.  According to the IIE 2015 Open Doors press release, IIE President Dr. Allan E. Goodman said, “International experience is one of the most important components of a 21st-century education.  Studying abroad is one of the best ways undergraduate and graduate students gain the international experience necessary to succeed in today’s global workforce.  And studying in another country prepares students to be real contributors to working across borders to address key issues in the world we share.”  Stay tuned for the 2016 Open Doors Report, to be released later this month.

3. Likely from Asia

51 percent of all international students who studied abroad in the US last year were from Asia. China contributed 31 percent of the total.  Of the 974, 926 students, 304,040 thousand hailed from China, 132,888 from India, and 63, 710 from South Korea. 20 percent of those students studied business and management, and another 20 percent study engineering.  Where are they going?  All over the country.  According to the 2015 IIE Open Doors Fast Facts, in 2015, the top five US institutions hosting the largest numbers of international students are: New York University, the University of Southern California, Columbia University, Arizona State University, and the University of Illinois—Urbana.

4. They pay their own way

As undergraduate numbers bulge, so do pocketbooks.  Many of the US’s international students—roughly 60 percent—report that their family covers their tuition.  A growing number also study on scholarships sponsored by their governments.  Studying in the US no longer means you have to be from a well-traveled, well-heeled elite class.  The surging middle classes from places like Shanghai and Seoul, Riyadh, Delhi, and Taipei now compete with their once elite classmates.

The US maintains its global edge in international education.  Superior universities coupled with a diversity of study options continue to make it one of the top study destinations in the world.

Survive an Enduring Career

1. Changing Life Cycles

According to a recent Financial Times article, life used to be measured in three stages: education, work, and retirement, all with fairly equal amounts of time.  That cycle looks different now, with a significantly longer working life.  While an MBA used to be the catalyst for the job that would get you to your final burst of highly successful employment, it’s now somewhere in the middle.  When your working life begins in your 20s, you need to begin to think of this cycle lasting for fifty—or even sixty—years.  How should you prepare?  What do you want it to look like?  Consider what it would take to sustain your spending habits—and extrapolate those costs over the next half-century plus.

2. Transition and Change

Recognize that transitions—even positive ones—are always difficult.  They rattle your sense of self, and often your sense of place. They are always a time for growth, whether you want it or not.  The keys to your success? Flexibility and adaptability.  It’s unlikely that you’ll have the same job for 50 or 60 years. Keep your networks broad and varied—reach out to people of different ages, genders, and occupations.  As you build your portfolio, consider the trends that potential employers will invariably seek—and see.  With perseverance, your career portfolio will tell your story of resilience—and a willingness to try new things.

3. A Few Paces Ahead

Plan your career like you’re a chess master: think strategic steps.  Always.  Sitting still gets you nowhere.  Learn a new skill.  Try a new language.  Add some people to that fantastic network of yours (see #2).  Learn some new technology.  Reach out.  Look out.  Do what you enjoy.  Keep yourself relevant, happy, and think about how you can apply what you know and love to what you want to do—recognize that those things will probably change over time.

4. Identify and Invest in…

Your interests and skills.  Easier said than done.  Why?  You need to know what interests you—without having someone else tell you.  When you’re just starting out, this can be difficult because there are so many people—family members, friends, professors, career advisors—telling you what you should do.  The key is for you to tell yourself what you should do—and then invest the time in learning how to achieve your goals.  Don’t wait for a professional development opportunity to land in your lap.  Make your own.  You’ll be thankful you did.

5. Career as Financial Asset

Your career has the potential to pay off dividends bigger than all of your other financial assets combined—car, house, stock portfolio, 401K.  Manage your career like it’s gold—because it is.  When you maximize the opportunities for your career, you maximize your financial security—and also your lifestyle satisfaction.  Do what moves you, and figure out a way to maximize your returns.  Find a reliable mentor, assess your risks, survey the economic landscape—and most importantly, establish your classy reputation in whatever path you choose.  You won’t regret it.

Your takeaway for the next 50 years?  Find out what makes you tick—and do it.  With resilience, grace, commitment, and a little bit of strategy, you’ll get there with flying colors.

Five Reasons For You to Consider a Degree in Indigenous Studies

1. Indigenous studies offer a more comprehensive and honest representation of history. 

Indigenous people have been marginalized in countries across the globe for many years. In most cases, they’re still being marginalized today.

According to Danielle Lorenz, a PhD candidate in educational policy studies, the best way to remedy ongoing ignorance and stereotypes about indigenous people is through indigenous studies. In addition to fascinating coursework in diverse areas ranging from literature to traditional ecological knowledge, Lorenz points out that there are more general takeaways for students in this field: “They can learn about the accomplishments and contributions Indigenous peoples have made to global society, they can learn that Indigenous peoples in North America survived the world’s worst holocaust, they can learn about the true history of Canada – not as peaceful (or dull) as commonly thought, and they can learn that, today, while challenges exist – Indigenous peoples are more than just their ‘issues.’”

2. Indigenous studies are interdisciplinary.

Indigenous studies comprise a breadth and depth of academic fields the humanities, social sciences and beyond. Not only do students learn how to integrate this information in order to broaden their worldviews, but in doing so they also hone and refine their critical thinking skills.

These skills aren’t just applicable to directly related work in areas like indigenous governance, indigenous literature, and indigenous social work, they’re also transferrable — and highly valued by employers.

3. They are a necessary part of achieving reconciliation.

Many national history curricula overlook the stories of indigenous people. In Australia, for example, while Aboriginal people created a unique and impactful civilization, it is largely disregarded today. Why? Because according to an article in The Conversation, “It does not easily fit with the colonial mythologies around which popular histories of Australia have traditionally been constructed. Indeed the very use of the term ‘civilisation’ in relation to Aboriginal Australia will no doubt confound some readers. Perhaps the most insidious myth perpetuated about Aboriginal society is the idea it was ‘primitive’, ‘stone age’, ‘nomadic’, or ‘unevolved’. This type of thinking feeds racist stereotypes and discriminatory attitudes which continue to marginalize and disassociate Aboriginal Australians from the national identity. The archaeology of our continent directly refutes this type of thinking, but until recently the monuments and achievements of ancient Australia have remained largely invisible to the mainstream public.”

The Conversation goes on to propose that expanding a society’s historical viewpoint not only “offers a path to new understanding,” but to achieving reconciliation.

4. It helps preserve indigenous cultures.

According to a recent New Yorker piece, “On every continent, people are forsaking their ancestral tongues for the dominant language of their region’s majority. Assimilation confers inarguable benefits, especially as Internet use proliferates and rural youth gravitate to cities. But the loss of languages passed down for millennia, along with their unique arts and cosmologies, may have consequences that won’t be understood until it is too late to reverse them.”

The proliferation of indigenous language coursework, in particular, is viewed as paramount. “Without language, we are empty vessels,” indigenous language master’s student Bob Badger told THE. “Within our languages, we have a deep understanding of the world around us. We make connections between the traditional cultural teachings and our place in the world. The language is alive and the language has a spirit.”

It is because of its vital importance that the Canadian government has proposed the Canadian Indigenous Languages Act, which will grant equal rights and privileges to nine indigenous languages in addition to English and France.

5. It promotes better citizenship.

According to The Conversation, “One of the most important skills promoted by historical inquiry is that of empathy, a feeling of sympathy and engagement for other people from different time periods and cultures….If students can develop the knowledge of why cultures are different it will help develop empathy and encourage an appreciation for diversity, and hopefully, undermine growth of racist viewpoints” while simultaneously supporting the development of a “more comprehensive appreciation of our humanity.”

In other words, is there any better way to improve upon our collective citizenship than by improving upon our collective understanding of each other?

Indigenous studies have been deemed so valuable, in fact, that there is a movement to make coursework in this field a mandatory component in university curricula — alongside English, math and other core requirements. By pursuing a degree in this vital field, you won’t just walk away with an enriched (and more accurate) perspective, but you’ll also be positioned to take on a leading role in righting the past towards a more equitable and tolerant future.