Category Archives: Travel

Rhythm Planet’s Favorite World Music Releases of 2017

January 18th, 2018

PlanetMusic_1

Now that we have 2017 behind us, we’d like to take a look at the countries in the African continent, in Latin America and India and learn a little more about some of them. We realize traveling to these destinations may not be possible, but we can agree that one way of appreciating their cultures is through their music. To guide us on this musical journey, we’ve invited our guest blogger and music aficionado, Tom Schnabel, to share with us a list of his favorites.

Rhythm Planet wrapped up 2017 by revisiting some of the best of world music from the past year. Five wonderful African albums made the list, beginning with the powerful female collective Les Amazones d’Afrique in a track featuring Angelique Kidjo (video at bottom), plus Senegal’s soulful Orchestra Baobab, and Mali’s Trio da Kali’s brilliant pairing with the Kronos Quartet. Then it’s the vocal artistry of Toto Bona Lokua, aka Frenchman Gérard Toto, Cameroun’s Richard Bona, and Congolese singer Lokua Kanza, and lastly the trio 3MA featuring Mali’s Ballaké Sissoko, Moroccan oud virtuoso Driss El Maloumi, and Madagascar’s valiha player Rajery.

We turn next to a good example of musical cross-pollination with India’s master sitar player Shujaat Khan and Iranian vocalist Katayoun Goudarzi, together exploring the Persian-Indian music connection that formed centuries ago along the spice route. After that, let’s check out a tribute to G.F. Handel from L’Arpeggiata with some crazy twists—it’s “crossover classical” at its best.

We switch gears and close the 2017 highlights show with the hot Latin band La Mambanegra from Cali, Colombia, followed by a young Cape Verdean star named Elida Almeida, who just released her third successful album.

PlanetMusic2

I hope you like these picks as much as I do. They represent, however, only a fraction of all the terrific world music I’ve enjoyed over the past twelve months. You can revisit, on demand, all the Rhythm Planet shows from 2017 (and earlier) on the KCRW website or on the KCRW app to hear more of the great world music from the past year.

Tom Schnabel, M.A.

toms

Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
Blogs for Rhythm Planet
Author & Music educator, UCLA, SCIARC, currently doing music salons
www.tomschnabel.com

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Multilingualism and its impression on the world

December 1st 2017

Gugulethu

It is estimated that there are over 190 distinct languages in existence, it is near impossible to say exactly how many languages are actually spoken in the world. Language is the basis and one of the main pillars of a culture, for every language there is a correspondingly unique culture hence if anyone wishes to truly understand a culture a great place to start is with the language.

We are currently living in a world littered with hate, war and struggle, day by day people fight against one another for different reasons but I am of the opinion that an unfortunate but dominant cause of all this strife is misunderstanding. Our lack of understanding of others’ cultures results in misconceptions which ultimately lead to attitudes of selfishness and self-preservation with a clear disregard of the wellbeing and quality of life of others. I will go as far as to say, for peace’s sake we should all strive to learn and understand cultures other than our own especially the ones we assume we already understand.

There are places in the world where here are at least 15 languages spoken , some variations and versions of one another and others complete standalones and for each language there exists variations in culture and in some cases completely different cultures, yet people have found a way to peacefully coexist .In a lot of instances you will find people who can speak multiple languages and therefore relate to multiple cultures , I myself am an example of such a situation I was born to parents raised in two different cultures speaking different languages. As a result of my parentage and upbringing, I learnt from a young age that every single language and culture deserves a healthy level of respect.

I will not deny the fact that there are difficulties that may arise when learning a new language or being in the midst of a culture you do not understand or come from. When I was in kindergarten we moved to a city where a language I did not speak was the dominant one and as a result I struggled to communicate with my peers, frustrated I cried to my mother begging not to go to kindergarten but as I began to learn the language and became good friends with those I had struggled to relate to before for the first time I learnt the lesson of perseverance.

I am proud to say my experience with multilingualism and experiences with culture did not end with my childhood and upbringing. I have been incredibly fortunate enough to be able to learn new languages like Mandarin and Russian and not only that but to do so whilst experiencing the cultures and gaining more knowledge on the world around me and the people who live in it. I have learnt a lot, but every day is a new day and as such there is always something new to learn. Many people will tell you about the economic pros of being multilingual which are all true, but it should not be omitted how much of a role learning a new language plays in correcting prejudice and preconceptions about each other’s way of life.

I will be your witness, when I compare who I was and who I am becoming day by day I see so much more respect for others and less bias against what I do not know. My hope is that my story and my sharing can influence many others to the path leading to being more understanding and responsible human beings. In the words of Ludwig Wittgenstein “The limits of my language are the limits of my world”, and we could all gain from a less limited world.

Photojournal

Gugulethu Jemaine Nyathi is a 20-year old Zimbabwean student currently studying towards her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at Jiangsu University in China. Gugulethu is an avid reader, enthusiastic writer and multilingualism is one of her passions. Her ultimate goal is to be a change maker and a force for good.

For information and assistance with the evaluation of international academic credentials, please visit our website at www.acei-global.org or call us at 1-310-275-3530.

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Africa: Higher Education Interrupted

October 27th, 2017

Africa

In the past few months, government crackdowns on students and faculty protests at many African countries have disrupted and temporary halted classes and in some cases led to the indefinite closures of universities affecting thousands of students.

Here’s a look at some of the countries affected:

Cameroon

Cameroon

In the wake of demands by staff and students for greater independence for their English-speaking region, the two main public universities in Anglophone Cameroon, after months of partial closures, have been shut down indefinitely by the country’s president.  For more on the university closures in Anglophone Cameroon, click here

Democratic Republic of Congo

DRC

In August 2017, the teaching staff at the University of Kinshasa voted to continue their strike to express their unhappiness in solidarity with academic staff of several other institutions in the country over non-payment of salaries and the failure of reaching a resolution with the government. For more on this topic, click here

Guinea

Guinea

In June 2017, a number of private universities in Guinea suspended instruction complaining about delays in payment of student grants from the government and the signing of contracts for teaching bachelor-equivalent courses. For more on the suspension of instruction at universities in Guinea, click here.

Kenya

kenya

Students at the University of Nairobi are finding themselves in the crosshairs of politics brought on by the country’s elections and strike by lecturers. As a result, on October 3rd, following a rash of student unrest, the University of Nairobi Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Mbithi announced the indefinite closure of the country’s second largest institution. Earlier, the students had protested against police use of excessive force and sexual harassment at the universities of Nairobi and Maseno.  On October 8th, Mount Kenya University shut its doors due to continued student protests and strikes by professors. For more on the university closures in Kenya, click here.

Rwanda

rwanda

Since March 10th, thousands of students have found their studies suspended because of partial or total closure of the private universities which failed to meet satisfactory standards of teaching. According to a report in UniversityWorldNews, 10 universities were given until September 2017 to raise their standards, or risk being closed permanently. An update of their status is not available.  For more on the university closures in Rwanda, click here.

Awareness of these events is key for international credential evaluators and institutions of higher education whose students may be from the countries cited above. These students may not be able to procure their transcripts because of the problems back home. With universities temporarily or indefinitely closed, students from the affected institutions will have a difficult time in requesting official transcripts and those who have been able to obtain their records may show gaps in their studies due to the temporary halt in their studies.

For further information on the world education systems and credential evaluations, visit our website at www.acei-global.org or contact ACEI at acei@acei-global.org

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Facts on Puerto Rico

October 10th, 2017

BLOG_-_PUERTO_RICO
  San Juan, PR (before Hurricane Maria)                San Juan, PR (after) Source: YouTube 

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and the devastation it has wreaked on the island of Puerto Rico and displacing more than 3.3 million of its inhabitants, we are dedicating this week’s blog to Puerto Rico and its people.

Timeline of Hurricane Maria: For a timeline of Hurricane Maria and its aftermath click here

Status Updates: You can get the latest status report from the Government of Puerto Rico by going to its website and FEMA posts up-to-date resources and information on the federal response to Hurricane Maria on its website.

Here are some facts on Puerto Rico we would like to share with you in this blog:

1.  Formal Name: The formal name of Puerto Rico is Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, which translates to mean Free Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

2.  Origin of State Name: The U.S. changed its name to Porto Rico (Rich Port) in 1898. It was changed again to Puerto Rico in 1931.

3.  Nickname: Island of Enchantment (Source: Encyclopedia.com)

4.  Original Name: The original name of the island given by the Taino natives was Borikén. Today the name Borinquen is widely used.  Puerto Ricans proudly call themselves boricuas which carries pride and love for their island. (Source: IslandsofPuertoRico.com)

5. Population: 3,351,827 (July 2017 est.) (Source: US Central Intelligence Agency)

6. Capital: San Juan

7. History/Origins: Puerto Rico was populated for centuries by aboriginal peoples before 1493 when it was claimed by the Spanish Crown following Christopher Columbus’s second voyage to the Americas. In 1898, after 400 years of colonial rule that saw the indigenous population nearly exterminated and African slave labor introduced, Puerto Rico was ceded to the US as a results of the Spanish-American War. Puerto Ricans were granted US citizenship in 1917. Popularly elected governors have served since 1948. In 1952, a constitution was enacted providing for internal self-government. In plebiscites held in 1967, 1993, and 1998, voters chose not to alter the existing political status with the US, but the results of a 2012 vote left open the possibility of American statehood. (Source: US Central Intelligence Agency)

8. Geography: Capital of Puerto Rico is San Juan. Puerto Rico is located in the Caribbean; it is an island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of the Dominican Republic. It has an area of 9,104 sq km and slightly less than three times the size of Rhode Island. (Source: US Central Intelligence Agency)

9. Government: Puerto Rico is an unincorporated, organized territory of the US with commonwealth status; policy relations between Puerto Rico and the US conducted under the jurisdiction of the Office of the President. It is a presidential democracy; a self-governing commonwealth in political association with the US. (Source: US Central Intelligence Agency)

10. US Citizens: As mentioned earlier, residents of Puerto Rico have been considered as US citizens since 1917, when the island was ceded to the United States at the end of the Spanish-American War. However, Puerto Ricans do not pay federal income tax to the Untied States and they do not vote in US presidential elections. (Source: Encyclopedia.com)

11. Language: Spanish and English are the official languages of Puerto Rico, but Spanish remains dominant among the residents. The issue of language has been an ongoing concern between residents and US authorities. A 1902 law established both languages for official use, but US officials pushed for many years to make English the dominant language in school and government use. In 1991, the Puerto Rican legislature issued a bill making Spanish the official language, but this decision was reversed in 1993, restoring both languages to official status. Puerto Rican Spanish contains many Taino influences, which can be found in such place-names as Arecibo, Guayama, and Mayagüez, as well as hamaca (hammock) and coanoa (canoe). Among many African Borrowings are food terms like quimbombó (okra) , guince (banana), and mondongo (a spicy stew). Some English words are incorporate into Spanish in what is commonly referred to as “Spanglish.” (Source: Encyclopedia.com)

12. Economy: The island’s most important industrial products are pharmaceuticals, electronics, apparel, and food products. The sugar industry has gradually lost ground to dairy production and other livestock products in the agricultural sector. Tourism is the backbone of a large service industry, and the government sector has also grown. Tourist revenues and remittances from workers on the US main-land largely counterbalance Puerto Rico’s chronic trade deficit. Federal funds to the government and directly to the people have been important to the Puerto Rican economy. (Source: Encyclopedia.com)

13. Migration: Economic recession on the island has led to a net population loss since about 2005, as large numbers of residents moved to the US mainland. The trend has accelerated since 2010; in 2014, Puerto Rico experienced a net population loss to the mainland of 64,000, more than double the net loss of 26,000 in 2010. (Source: US Central Intelligence Agency)

14. Pharmaceuticals: Before Hurricane Maria, Pharmaceuticals represented 72% of Puerto Rico’s 2016 exports, valued at $14.5 billion, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The island accounted for 25% of total U.S. pharmaceutical exports. The sector, which grew for years on the strength of tax breaks that were phased out in 2006, employed about 90,000 workers. On Monday, September 23, 2017, the FDA said it is taking active measures to help redirect production and preserve existing treatments to avoid a ballooning health crisis from Maria’s destruction. (Source: USAToday)

15. Island’s Chief Export: More than 70% of rum consumed in the U.S. came from Puerto Rico with Bacardi and Don Q as the largest producers on the Island. (Source: Trip Savvy)

Rum

16. History of Hurricanes: The word “hurricane” derives from hurakán, a term the Spanish learned from Puerto Rico’s Taino Indians. Puerto Rico, has unfortunately, been the victim of several severe hurricanes in the past century. Before Hurricane Maria, there was Hurricane Georges in 1998. On 7 October 1985, torrential rains created a mud slide that devastated the hillside barrio of Mameyes, killing hundreds of people; and considered the single most destructive landslide in US history. On 15-16 September 2004, Hurricane Jeanne, the tenth named storm and the seventh hurricane of the 2004 hurricane season, entered southeast Puerto Rico near Maunabo and traveled west then north across Puerto Rico and exited over the northwest tip of the island near Aguadilla. Following the storm, Puerto Rico was declared a federal disaster area. As the storm approached, the entire power grid of Puerto Rico was shut down by the government, indirectly causing over $100 million in damage and resulting in 600,000 people left without running water. Seven deaths were attributed to Jeanne and there was also landslide damage.(Source: Encyclopedia.com)

17. Energy Dependence: Puerto Rico has been totally dependent on imported crude oil for its energy needs. The island imports and burns oil to generate electricity. Oil has accounted for more than 90% of the island’s total primary energy consumption which means Puerto Ricans have been paying exorbitantly high electric bills for years. Millions of Puerto Ricans are living in the dark at home after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island in September 2017, knocking out its already fragile electric grid. Tesla CEO Elon Musk says his company can rebuild Puerto Rico’s power grid using batteries and solar power, saying the decision to accept his offer would be in the hands of the local government and the island’s residents. (Source: The Guardians of Democracy)

18. Education: U.S. schools are bracing for an influx of students from Puerto Rico because of the damage brought on by Hurricane Maria. Schools were already facing problems of an economic nature. In May 2017, Puerto Rico’s government announced that 179 schools were closing because of the territory’s $70 billion debt. To save $7 million, about 27,000 students were relocated to other schools. Serious damage to the University of Puerto Rico’s 11 campuses have also prompted sector leaders to raise concerns about an impending crisis in higher education for the region – with academics fearing that displaced students will fail to complete courses and that research will fall behind. Within hours of the hurricanes’ hitting, academic communities on both sides of the Atlantic began discussing how to provide relief and how to keep research on track. (Source: The Times Higher Education; NPR.org; InsideHigherEducation)

19. Mascot: Puerto Rico’s unofficial mascot is a tiny tree frog only found on the island known as coqui. The inch-long amphibian has a powerful and melodic voice, and its high-pitched, chirrupy song can be heard for miles. The coquís sing from dusk to dawn, and while the locals find this a lilting lullaby, unsuspecting foreigners aren’t always comforted by their song. But they are a cute, much-loved symbol of Puerto Rico. (Source: Trip Savvy)

frog

20. Damage to Ecology: The storm also flattened farms. Puerto Rico’s Department of Agriculture has said that 80 percent of crops could be lost. (Source: ABC News)

devastation_puertorico
Flattened plantain trees, Yabucoa, PR 9/24/17 (Photo credit: Victor J. Bleu, NYT via Redux)

How You Can Help:

Artists for Puerto Rico Relief Effort: On Friday, October 6, 2017, artists like Lin-Manuel Miranda, Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez, Gina Rodriguez, Gloria Estefan, Luis Fonsi and several more banded together and released the Hurricane Maria relief song “Almost Like Praying” for Puerto Rico. All proceeds for the song will go to the Hispanic Federation’s Unidos Disaster Relief Fund.

Relief Efforts: Refer to the list provided in these blog by Consumer Reports  and NPR.

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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20 FACTS ON VIETNAM

August 3rd, 2017

Vietnam

Vietnam is a Southeast Asian country on the South China Sea. It is known for its beaches, rivers, Buddhist pagodas and bustling cities. It’s capital Hanoi, pays homage to the nation’s iconic Communist-era leader, Ho Chi Minh, via a huge marble mausoleum. Vietnam’s recent history has been largely dominated by headlines of war and oppression. The Vietnamese have a saying that they were dominated by the Chinese for 1000 years, the French for 100 years and the Americans for 10 years. The country is, once more, demonstrating its strength and resilience through its growing economy, tourism and promoting study abroad opportunities for its students.

Country Facts

1. Country size: 95,261,021 (July 2016 est.) Vietnam is about three times the size of Tennessee; slightly larger than New Mexico

2. Vietnamese (official), English (increasingly favored as a second language), some French, Chinese, and Khmer, mountain area languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian)

3. In 1887, it became part of French Indochina. Vietnam declared its independence after World War II, but France continued to rule until its 1954 defeat by communist forces under Ho Chi MINH.

Fun Facts

4.  Vietnam is the world’s second largest coffee-producing nation after Brazil, producing 16% of the world’s total coffee (Brazil’s is 40%).   http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-25811724

5. Nguyen is the most popular family name in Vietnam, used by around 40% of the population and is also the birth name of the famous Ho Chi Minh.

6. Vietnam is the largest exporter of cashews and black pepper in the world, and the second largest exporter of rice. http://www.travelingeast.com/asia/vietnam/ten-interesting-facts-about-vietnam/

7. An estimated ten million motor bikes travel on the roads of Vietnam every day

Vietbikes

8. Sepak takraw (A.K.A calameae ball or kick volleyball), is a traditional sport in Vietnam. The sport originated in the 15th-century in Malaysia, with its first mention being from an ancient text in Malacca. Players pass a ball by hitting it with the head and feet. Sepak takraw also is widely played in Laos, Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia. https://www.rickshawtravel.co.uk/blog/5-strange-facts-about-vietnam/

soccer

9. Vietnam’s flag consists of a golden star with five points to represent farmers, workers, intellectuals, youth and soldiers. The red background pays tribute to the bloodshed during the wars.

flag_vietnam

10. Snake wine, which is made by steeping whole snakes in rice wine for their venom or essence, is commonly drunk for health, vitality and restorative purposes.

11. Ong Tao is the Vietnamese God of the Kitchen, advocate of the family and emissary between heaven and earth. http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/top10facts/671594/Top-ten-facts-Vietnam-Ho-Chi-Minh-city

OngTao

Education Facts

12. The country has a literacy level of 94%.

13. Vietnamese students of 15 years of age continue to score high in math on OECD’s latest global education survey, known as PISA. Their score is more on par with Finland and Switzerland than Colombia or Peru.

14. Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) oversees all aspects of education in Vietnam.

15. The education system consists of kindergarten, primary, secondary, upper-secondary (also referred to as high school), and university level, with nationally administered exit and entrance examinations between each.

16. Primary school is five years (6 – 11) and compulsory.

vietnam_classroom

17. Secondary school education is divided into lower secondary (trung học cơ sở) which is four years (grades 6-9, ages 11 – 15) and higher secondary (trung học phổ thông) education which is three years (grades 10-12, ages 15 -18) and neither of them are compulsory. There is an entrance and leaving examination. Students have to choose either the natural or social sciences track.

vietnam_classroom_2

18. Higher education: Institutions of higher education can be universities, senior colleges or research institutes. Furthermore, there are junior colleges, professional secondary schools or vocational schools. The entrance examination is very hard, and according to recent figures, less than one out of three students manage to pass.

vietnam_classroom_3

19. Studying at top tier international universities abroad provides the greatest job security for the future.

20. According to the April 2016 SEVIS report, Vietnam ranks sixth among all sending countries with 28,883 students studying at US institutions, mostly colleges and universities but also boarding and day schools.

For further information on the education system of Vietnam and credential evaluations, visit our website at www.acei-global.org or contact ACEI at acei@acei-global.org.

SOURCES:

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-25811724

http://www.travelingeast.com/asia/vietnam/ten-interesting-facts-about-vietnam/

https://www.rickshawtravel.co.uk/blog/5-strange-facts-about-vietnam/

https://nomadicboys.com/10-interesting-facts-about-vietnam/

http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/top10facts/602241/Vietnam-top-facts

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/vm.html

http://thefactfile.org/vietnam-facts/

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-33047924

http://www.businessinsider.com/vietnams-students-test-well-and-a-new-paper-has-figured-out-why-2016-7

http://www.nafsa.org/Content.aspx?id=50572

http://www.chronicle.com/academicDestination/Vietnam/61/

http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=2016011313585113

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/ice-releases-quarterly-international-student-data

http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/top10facts/671594/Top-ten-facts-Vietnam-Ho-Chi-Minh-city

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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7 Reasons why International Students are good for the U.S.?

July 27th, 2017

world

According to the latest analysis from NAFSA, during the 2015-2016 academic year, 1,043,839 international students were studying at U.S. colleges and universities. In January 2017, President Donald Trump issued an executive order temporarily blocking entry to the U.S. by visa holders from seven countries in the Middle East and North Africa and indefinitely suspending the entry of Syrian refugees. In his article “Beyond Justification,” for NAFSA’s International Educator July/August 2017 edition, David Tobenkin provides a strong case on the importance of international education and the contributions of international students to the U.S. He also lays out a road map for international education professionals to use in order to convey and deliver the importance of this message.

Using Tobenkin’s report, here are 7 reasons why international students are important for the U.S.:

  1. Amount contributed to U.S. economic 2015-2016: nearly $33 billion
  2. Number of jobs created and supported: more than 400,000 U.S. jobs (this means that for every 7 internationals students, 3 jobs were created)
  3. They help drive scientific innovation which help advance technological improvement maintaining U.S. productivity and its competitive edge in the global economy
  4. ¼ of the founders of the $1billion U.S. startup companies first came to the U.S. as international students
  5. 40% of the Nobel Prizes won by Americans in medicine, physics, and chemistry since 2000 were awarded to immigrants.
  6. Out of the 6 American winners of the Nobel Prizes in economics and scientific files in 2016, all were immigrants.
  7. International students make significant contributions to our communities both economically and culturally.

It the travel ban becomes permanent, it will perpetuate the anti-immigrant sentiment that will drive international students away from the U.S. and to other more immigrant friendly countries, such as Canada and Australia. The ban is also a deterrent to students who are not from the list of countries blacklisted but may still see it as unwelcoming. A report from College Factual, a higher education research firm, which Tobenkin cites in this article, states that a permanent travel ban means “the loss of nearly 16,000 students annually from the seven countries” which “translate into U.S. colleges and universities losing as much as $700 million in revenue per year.” This is a significant loss and it will not only impact the institutions with a historic track record of receiving international students, hurt the communities benefiting from them but tarnish the reputation of the U.S. as a leading force in scientific and technological innovation.

At ACEI, we see the importance of international students as the hallmark of America’s greatness and we strive to maintain this reputation by assisting U.S. colleges and universities with our research and credential evaluation services that help enhance their reputation and competitive recruiting effectiveness. To learn more about ACEI and its services such as Credential Evaluation, Translation, Webinars and Training, and how we can assist you with your credential evaluation and recruitment needs, please visit www.acei-global.org or call us at 310.275.3530.

Sources:

NAFSA International Student Economic Value

NAFSA International Educator “Beyond Justification, How to Convey the Importance of International Higher Education” 

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Fulbright: A Two Year Photographic Journey

May 26th, 2017

During my two years in the Fulbright Program, I have taken thousands of photographs. I seem to have just as many stories about my students, the community I live in, and the nation I call home. In writing this, I wanted to give a diverse glimpse into the life of a Fulbrighter in South Korea and the development of my relationship with my students over the past two years. Living abroad is full of many complicated feelings: joy, depression, homesickness, excitement – there is no short story that can encapsulate the experience, but I hope through this photographic essay I can share life in the Land of the Morning Calm.

~*~*~
First, Let Me Take A Selfie, 2015
After three months, my first selfie with my students.
Until this moment, we had not reached the friendship point of pictures. I entered my school with a strong dedication to teach the English language as a professional. And part of this came with me creating distance between the students and I, not fully comprehending the culture of touch (hand holding is appropriate with teachers) or engaging with students outside of the classroom. In short, I had a lot to learn about being a good teacher. After a month, I began to change my approach and opened myself up to the students, which in turn lead to this moment on October 2, 2015 when I asked a few girls for a picture.

fulbright

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An Artist At Work, Work Being My Classroom, 2015
I caught a student drawing in class. Usually, I would take away the drawings and talk with the student after about paying attention. When I walked up to this particular student she was so engrossed in her work she didn’t see me. Instead of taking the papers I stood and watched. After all, who am I to disturb an artist in the midst of a masterpiece?

fulbright_2

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Special Snowflakes, 2016
The project was supposed to be simple. We had ended class early and I wanted to decorate the classroom with snowflakes. Some of my students listened to the directions. Others decided they knew how to make a snowflake.
Most of these students were wrong:

fulbright_3

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The Battle of Sungsim, 2016
The first snowfall of the year brought with it the usual festivities. My students have a tradition of using dustpans as shovels and tossing the snow at each other. Just a word of advice to anyone reading this – if a group of teenagers have dustpans and you have a lone snowball, always remember you are older and will be the automatic enemy if you engage them in battle.

fulbright_4

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Hanji, 2016
Hanji is Korean paper and has a long history on the peninsula. It can be used to make art and clothing. During my first year in Korea, I began taking lessons from a woman who has been making hanji art for 20 years! My teacher is an amazing woman who speaks 5 languages and is one of the happiest people I have met. Pictured is one of my projects, but don’t be fooled! My teacher saved it multiple times from my butterfingers!

 

fulbright_5

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Closet, 2017
This past week we did a lesson on secrets, many of which broke my heart. In Korea, same-sex marriage is not legal, although being with someone of the same gender is not criminalized (military code exempt). You can be fired for your sexuality and support groups for LGBT rights are still growing. It has been painful watching students who have come out to me struggle with their identity, unable to share it with their peers. I have no clear answers – many expats simply say “its another culture” and brush aside the issue. But working with students who are in the closet changes the entire experience. And the worst part is not having answers or a fix for the situation.

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Do You Hear The People Sing?, 2017
Earlier this year President Guen-Hye Park was ousted after a money scandal. Millions filled the streets of Seoul demanding she be impeached. When the court ruling came down impeaching Park, the country erupted into celebration. On May 9, 2017, Jae-In Moon was elected president. Watching the whole process was intense. In my city there were nightly protests and my students covered their classrooms in signs demanding Park resign. The whole nation was against her and there was no way to stop the people. As one of my students said after the election, “Korea is a democracy, today shows our power.”

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Good-byes, 2017
I had to rent a hanbok before I left, pictured here in front of my school. It has been an amazing journey and one I will not forget. Leaving Korea—there are no words to describe how I feel and perhaps that is the best. My students have transformed my life for the better. I am more compassionate, I am more patient, I laugh everyday, and I have found my calling in education. I just don’t know how I will live without them… or the kimchi.
안녕히 계세요.

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Nikki R. Brueggeman

Biography
Nikki Brueggeman is a graduate of the University of Washington s where she earned a master’s degree in 2015. She is originally from the town of Walla Walla, Washington where she was raised around sweet onions and wine barrels. Nikki currently teaches at Jeonju Sungsim Girls High School where she works with the most beautiful, vivacious, and hilarious girls on the Korean peninsula.

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