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Dispatches from Association of International Recruitment Council (AIRC), Miami, FL

December 1st, 2016

I’m here in Miami, FL, at the annual AIRC Conference. International student recruiters, credential evaluators and admissions professionals are looking at the new President-Elect’s nationalist platform with caution wondering whether the new administration will have an adverse affect on the flow of international students to the U.S. Already we are hearing that the recent Brexit vote which led to the United Kingdom exiting the European Union has deterred international students from applying to universities in England. According to the annual Open Doors report of the Institute of International Education, “the number of international students at U.S. colleges and universities grew by 7.1%, to top one million in the 2015-16 academic year.” The report records 10 straight years of growth in the number of international students studying at U.S. campuses, however with the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, concern of the possible negative impact on future enrollments from abroad is on everyone’s mind.

We are already hearing the chatter that international students, fearing the new administration’s hard-right, nationalist, anti-globalist and xenophobic policies are looking to countries such as Australia and Canada to continue their studies. This collective cautiousness on the part of the international students and international education professionals is mainly because we know virtually nothing about the Trump Administration’s higher education policies as he has not articulated any specific initiatives or policies during his presidential campaign or even now in the days leading to his inauguration. The new administration will most likely be more friendly toward to the for-profit higher education industry and less interested in diversity and affirmative action. In fact, there is talk about monitoring university faculty whose teachings may have a “liberal” bias.  What is inevitable is that many of the initiatives of the Obama Administration will be scrapped.

Education on the international front will most likely take a hit. The image of the United States as a “welcoming country” for international students and scholars will be tarnished and it will take a long time to rebuild and restore it. Even though, Trump has singled out his ire toward Muslims and Mexicans, the sentiment is felt by all foreigners who see themselves as being targeted by this viewpoint.

The immediate future of U.S. higher education and international students may be bleak but one factor that will keep the American higher education system in the positive light is that it is still a strong and attractive option in the global perspective. Most of the top universities are located in blue states which embrace a friendlier and more hospitable outlook toward international students and scholars.

Here at AIRC and in meeting with international recruiters from the world and the U.S., it is evident that education agents are preparing themselves by ramping up their marketing efforts to keep the international students’ interest from waning and encouraging them to study in the U.S.  Attracting international students whose impression of the U.S. as an unwelcoming country under Donald Trump will be a challenging task for international recruiters. These are unchartered waters we are entering into as we see a wave of anti-globalism, nationalism and xenophobia appearing in not just the UK, US, but also in France, Spain, Austria, Germany, and Poland. The question is how we will navigate this unwelcoming and somewhat hostile environment in order to protect the integrity of U.S. higher education as the preferred destination for international students.

Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert

jasmin_2015
Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert is the President and CEO of the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI).

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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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ARGAV©: ACEI’s 5-Step Practical Guide in Helping Refugees and Displaced People without or limited Documentation

November 5th, 2016

argav_logo

The displacement of people because of conflict/war and/or caused by environmental/political/economic crisis means that many may arrive at refugee camps or their adopted countries with little or no documents supporting their academic achievements.  At the recent NAFSA Region XII Conference in Palm Spring, CA, ACEI President & CEO, Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert presented a session on this topic with focus on “Syria: Education in Crisis and Providing Pathways for Refugees.” In her presentation, Jasmin introduced ACEI’s five-step process, known as ARGAV©, which serves as a practical guide when assisting refugees and displaced people.

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Let’s take a look at each of the five steps recommended in this model:

Step 1. Assess the overall situation

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Assess the overall situation to determine if the claim for lack of documentation is legitimate (that is, is the source country at war or devastated by natural/environmental crisis that prevents the individual in securing his/her academic documents?). You may look at a variety of sources to obtain confirmation, such as:

  • Check the US Department of State website
  • Search Internet on recent news from official news sources
  • Email the institution and/or Ministry of Education in the source country
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in the source country
  • Contact the Embassy or Consulate of the country
  • Telephone the institution (seek the help of a native speak or someone fluent in the language)

Step 2. Reconstruct the individual’s academic history

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One way to obtain an understanding of your applicant’s predicament and academic achievement is by reconstruct their academic history.

  • Follow your general procedures (as you would all prospective applicants)
  • Require completion of an application
  • Require submission of official academic documents
  • Conduct an interview

Step 3. Gather Documents

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In the absence of complete academic documents, there are other types of documentation an individual may have in his/her possession that may include any of the following:

  • Gather any available academic and/supporting documents
  • Student IDs
  • Registration cards/enrollment slips
  • Any transcripts, certificates/diplomas even if incomplete
  • Copies of licenses
  • Certificates of professional standing/membership
  • State examinations certification
  • Proof of tuition payments/receipts from institution’s bursary
  • Sworn statements/affidavits from exiled faculty/school administration
  • Newspaper clippings/articles/announcements or printed lists of graduated students

Step 4. Assess Course Competency

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Assessment of an individual’s competency in a course or series of courses may be achieved through the following methods:

  • Interview by member of faculty
  • Assignment of special project
  • Challenge/placement examination

Step 5. Verify

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Finally, we need to verify and check everything that has been presented and collected to prepare a portfolio/dossier on the individual.

  • Confirm again the crisis situation in the country and institution with official sources (e.g. U.S. Department of State, Embassy of the country from which the individual originates)
  • Ensure that you have in-house expertise on the country/region in question and its education system
  • Compare and verify any document gathered against samples from the same country and institutions in your archives
  • Use social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter for your applicant and LinkendIn and Academic.edu for scholars from the conflict area
  • When in doubt consult with and seek advice of colleagues in your profession and/or reach out to external sources such as independent evaluation services (members of AICE-Association of International Credential Evaluators)

ARGAV is a dynamic guide and we welcome your comments and suggestions. Please share with us your experiences and any tips you may have on this subject so that we consider adding them to the guide.

Thank you.

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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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What’s Your Type? Making Online Education Work

May 26th, 2016

OnlineEducation

Originally posted at http://www.affordable-online-colleges.net/online-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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Tijuana’s Youth Orchestra: Bach, Not Banda, Mahler, Not Mariachi

April, 7th 2016

Tijuana_1

I know about El Sistema and the Simón Bolivar Youth Orchestra, where Gustavo Dudamel got his training. I also know about his work with YOLA, the Youth Orchestra of LA, something Dudamel was behind creating. Both El Sistema and YOLA give inner city kids a way off the streets into the world of classical music.

With Venezuela in turmoil,  the future of El Sistema, funded by oil revenue, may be jeopardized. It seems, however, that like a lesser-known youth orchestra in Tijuana may have a bright future. You don’t typically associate classical music with Tijuana, but the Tijuana Youth Orchestra gives the lie to that assumption.

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The story begins in January 1991, when the Soviet Union was breaking up. Eduardo Garcia Barrios was studying conducting in Moscow at the time. Barrios and his musician colleagues wanted to start a youth orchestra somewhere; that somewhere turned out to be a world away, in sunny Baja, Mexico. Barrios, along with a Russian harpist, Elena Mashkovtseva, moved across the globe from icy Russia to Baja, and founded the Baja California Orchestra for adults. The enterprising Barrios also founded REDES 2025, a program to train at-risk young people to become classical performers. In a Independent Producer’s Project feature, he told journalist Sam Quinones, “Music has this power. To play music you need discipline, to understand your body. It’s 120 kids doing one thing at the same time…it would be cheaper to make football teams, but music provides something different, spiritual order.”

Those words could have come from the much more famous Gustavo Dudamel. Both men, however, are doing the same thing: transforming young lives with the power of music.

Listen here to the NPR / KCRW feature. And watch a clip of the Tijuana Youth Orchestra — it’s a big orchestra, not as big as the Simón Bolivar, but big nevertheless. Have a look:

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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Brussels: Impact of Terror Threats on Studying Abroad

March, 24th 2016

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Recent news of the terrorist bombings at the airport and subway in Brussels have justifiably raised safety and security concerns in American parents and their children studying abroad. Reading the news headlines and listening to reports on the radio and television with minute by minute updates do accelerate anxiety and a sense of vulnerability in anyone who travels, has loved ones traveling and studying overseas. We even sense the level of anxiety increasing here in our own towns and cities, yet we must never lose sight of our own inner strength and resolve to not cower and succumb to fear but to continue with our lives.

One thing that threats from terrorism do to our psyche is to react by taking actions that actually end up alienate us from our international partners. When it comes to education, the one thing we should commit to bolster rather than eliminate, is to continue our support and encouragement of study abroad programs. We need our young to travel and see the world beyond ours, expose them to the diverse cultures and peoples which will help them be good ambassadors of our country and return with a broader and better understanding of those living outside our borders. Our institutions of higher education need to be beacons of learning where qualified candidates from different corners of the world can pursue their academic dreams so they too can return to their home countries with a better understanding of the U.S.

We cannot build walls. How high does the wall have to be to keep the Internet out? We are not living in a time of moats and high walls to protect our domains. We cannot, in the 21st century employ primitive techniques of the 13th century. We will not succeed. We will, however, through our steadfast commitment to improving our education systems and programs that foster student exchange be able to overcome bigotry, distrust and xenophobia.

Helpful links:

Quinnipiac Students From Mass. Run To Safety After Brussels Airport Blasts

Following Brussels Attack, U.S. Universities Reach Out To Students Abroad

jasmin_2015
Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert is the President and CEO of the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI).

ACEI Logo with Slogan - FINAL

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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Apollonian v. Dionysian Music Experience

January 28th, 2016

Apollonian_v__Dionysian_Music_Experience___Rhythm_Planet

The other day, while listening to KCRW’s weekday program, Morning Becomes Eclectic, I was listening to a new Coldplay song called “Major Minus”, a big and absorbing musical tapestry that you can get lost in. I also thought about the film premiere of the Electric Daisy Carnival on Hollywood Boulevard the other night, where Kaskade and Jason Bentley were deejaying and the crowd went over the edge.  Several people got hurt but most had a great time.

Then I saw a picture taken the other day at the El Rey performance of the punk rockers Pink Eyes, where the lead singer was handing the microphone over to an ecstatic fan held aloft  in the mosh pit.

It occurred to me that all three musical items, the Coldplay song, the Pink Eyes show, The Electric Daisy Carnival were modern day versions of the Dionysian concept from Greek mythology that was revived by Nietzsche’s book The Birth of Tragedy.

Let me explain: According to Greek mythology, both Dionysus and Apollo are songs of the über god Zeus. Dionysus is the god of wine, ecstasy, and intoxication. Dance.  Body. Music.

Apollo is cerebral: the god of the sun, reason, and dreams. Head music. Music to meditate or levitate by.

I listen to a lot of classical music and jazz. Bach, Beethoven, Ravel, Debussy, Coltrane, Miles Davis. Also tropical latin music by Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez, Celia Cruz, and others. I like dancing to Latin music, but have to remember various steps and combinations moves. And as listeners to my KCRW shows know, I love the Brazilians too: Jobim, Dori Caymmi, Gal Costa, and many others.

I guess my preferences run more to the Apollonian. I sit in my living room, enjoy a glass of wine, and focus my listening on these artists regularly. I sit still in the sweet spot, focus on the music, and absorb the beauty.

The Electric Daisy Carnival, Kaskade, electronic music, the Coldplay song, raves, mosh pits are a collective flight into ecstasy, where people happily leave their normal senses behind and become engulfed in music. Ecstasy, after all, means “out of body”. It can and does get wild. That’s the essence of the Dionysian experience.

Apollonian involves stillness and thinking. Dionysian involves movement, dancing, individual and collective trance and ecstasy. The later sufi works of John Coltrane are a combination of both—works like A Love Supreme and Ascension seek closer union with the Divine. Ditto for works of the late qawwali (qawwali=sufi music from Pakistan) singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

I guess I enjoy both musical experiences, but my musical lifestyle tends to be more Apollonian than Dionysian. Which one defines your musical preference?

toms

Tom Schnabel, M.A.

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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Facts on the New Philippine K-12 Education System

January 14th, 2016

Until recently, the Philippines primary and secondary education entailed 10 years of schooling, of which the first 6 years covered elementary/primary school and the last four year covered high school.  The Philippine Department of Education, Sport and Culture has announced ending the Grade 10 (6+4 primary and secondary) system and implementing new reforms concerning the country’s primary and secondary education which are as follow:

Using the Philippine Government’s website as a primary resource, below are highlights of the new reforms:

The new K to 12 Program covers 13 years of basic education with the following key stages:

  • Kindergarten to Grade 3
  • Grades 4 to 6
  • Grades 7 to 10 (Junior High School) [compulsory]
  • Grades 11 and 12 (Senior High School)

(Kindergarten + 6 years cover basic / primary education, followed by 4 years of junior high school, and 2 years of senior high school)

philippine

Source: http://www.gov.ph/k-12/

Implementation of the new K to 12 has been accomplished in the following stages:

  • SY 2011-2012: Universal Kindergarten implementation begins
  • SY 2012-2013: Enhanced curriculum for Grades 1-7 implemented
  • 2013: K to 12 enacted into Law
  • 2014: Curriculum for Grades 11-12 finished

a) Transition to the New System in Public Schools

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Source: http://www.gov.ph/k-12/

Note: Program implementation in public schools started in SY 2012–2013 and will be carried out in phases. Grade 1 entrants in SY 2012–2013 are the first batch to fully undergo the program, and current 1st year Junior High School students (or Grade 7) are the first to undergo the enhanced secondary education program. To facilitate the transition from the existing 10-year basic education to 12 years, the Philippine Department of Education is also implementing the Senior High School (SHS) and SHS Modeling.

b) Transition to the New System for Private Schools

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Source: http://www.gov.ph/k-12/

Note: Private schools design their transition plans based on: (1) current/previous entry ages for Grade 1 and final year of Kinder, (2) duration of program , and most importantly, (3) content of curriculum offered.

Below is an overview of the curriculum and subjects for each stage in the New System:

philippine_4 Kindergarten

The Kindergarten Curriculum Framework (KCF) adopts the general principles of the       National Early Learning Framework (NELF) with the intent to ensure Kindergarten        learners have a smooth transition to the content-based curriculum of Grades 1 to 12.

philippine_5Elementary/Primary & Junior High School (Grades 1-10)

The curriculum for Grades 1 to 10 includes the following subjects:
• Mother Tongue
• Filipino
• English
• Mathematics
• Science
• Araling Panlipunan
• Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao (EsP)
• Music
• Arts
• Physical Education
• Health
• Edukasyong Pantahanan at Pangkabuhayan (EPP)
• Technology and Livelihood Education (TLE)

philippine_6Senior High School (Grades 11-12)

Senior High School is two years of specialized upper secondary education; students may choose a specialization based on aptitude, interests, and school capacity. The choice of career track will define the content of the subjects a student will take in Grades 11 and 12.

Each student in Senior High School can choose among 3 tracks:

Academic
Business, Accountancy, Management
Humanities, Education, Social Sciences
Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM)
• Technical-Vocational-Livelihood
• Sports and Arts

Core Curriculum Subjects:

(There are seven Learning Areas under the Core Curriculum: Languages, Literature, Communication, Mathematics, Philosophy, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences)

• Oral communication
• Reading and writing
• Komunikasyon at pananaliksik sa wika at kulturang Filipino
• 21st century literature from the Philippines and the world
• Contemporary Philippine arts from the regions
• Media and information literacy
• General mathematics
• Statistics and probability
• Earth and life science
• Physical science
• Introduction to philosophy of the human person/Pambungad sa pilosopiya ng tao
• Physical education and health
• Personal development/pansariling kaunlaran
• Earth science (instead of Earth and life science for those in the STEM strand)
• Disaster readiness and risk reduction (taken instead of Physical science for those in the STEM strand)

Applied track subjects:
• English for academic and professional purposes
• Practical research 1
• Practical research 2
• Filipino sa piling larangan
Akademik
• Isports
• Sining
Tech-vocational
• Empowerment technologies (for the strand)
• Entrepreneurship
• Inquiries, investigations, and immersion

Specialized Subjects:
• Accountancy, business, and management strand
• Humanities and social sciences strand
• Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics strand
• General academic strand

philippine_7Awards

Elementary Education: Students who complete 6 years of elementary education receive the Certificate of Graduation.

Junior High School Education: After completing Grade 10, a student in the vocational technical track of JSH can obtain Certificates of Competency (COC) or the National Certificate Level I (NC I). After completing a Technical-Vocational-Livelihood track in Grade 12, a student may obtain a National Certificate Level II (NC II) on passing the competency-based assessment of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). NC I and NC II improves employability of graduates in fields like Agriculture, Electronics, and Trade.

Senior High School Education: Students who complete Grade 12, received the Diploma (Katibayan) from the school, and the Certificate of Graduation (Katunayan) form the Department of Education. They are also awarded a Permanent Record or Form 137-A what lists all classes taken and grades earned.

The transition period from the old to the new system will end with the 2016-2017 school year.

jasmin_2015

Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert President & CEO

Alan

Alan Saidi  Senior Vice-President & COO

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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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Mad About English: A look at 4 Countries and their Use of the English Language

January 7th, 2016

As a child growing up in Tehran, Iran (circa 1960’s & 70’s), I attended Bonyade-Nov, a private co-ed school that covered kindergarten and grades 1-5. In the mornings, our classes were taught in Farsi and in the afternoons, instruction was switched to English. We were taught English by our Farsi-speaking teachers and with that knowledge at age ten I spent two months during the summer holidays at Stoke Brunswick School in East Grinstead, England. It was sort of a summer camp for non-English speakers. I was lucky to befriend an English girl, Fiona Campbell, whose mother Mrs. Campbell was the housemistress for the girls’ dormitory at the School. Fiona really helped me with my conversational English and in a matter of days I had acquired the perfect British accent.

All others attending the School were mainly from various parts of Europe: Germany, Italy, Yugoslavia, Greece, Holland, Spain, Portugal and varied in age from 13 to 19. At ten, I was the youngest and not wanting to be left out, I immediately told everyone that I was 13. Fortunately, my command of the English language, which was stronger than my European counterparts, helped give me the confidence I needed to support the additional three years I’d sneakily tagged onto myself. I was so comfortable in conversing in English that my teacher, an Oxford University student who was working over the summer by teaching English to a group of privileged children, wrote a letter to my parents praising me as a “marvelous chatterbox.” Fact was that I was the only one who bothered to make an effort and would engage him in conversation on topics as pedantic as pop music, current cinema, to more sophisticated discourse on history, politics, and God while the others stared sleepily ahead waiting for the morning sessions to end before the start of the afternoon fun.

On returning to Tehran, I was so pleased with my short stint at the English summer school that I urged my parents to ship me back to England to continue my studies. My wish came true within weeks after receiving news of the sudden closing of Bonyade-Nov. Soon after, I was back on board a plane with my mother heading to London and settled at Charters Towers School, a private international boarding school in Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex, where I spent the next 5 years completing my secondary education and preparing for the GCE O’levels, one of which was in English Language and Literature. From Charters Towers, it was only natural that I continued heading west, across the Atlantic, to the U.S., to complete my university education. After all, it was George Bernard Shaw who said: “England and America are two countries separated by a common language.” Though, Oscar Wilde would have disagreed having said: “We have really everything in common with America nowadays except of course, language.”

Today, non-native English speakers need not travel to English speaking countries in pursuit of studies taught in the English language. Many universities around the world, where English is not the official tongue, have begun to offer English as a medium of instruction in order to attract international students and even prepare their native students for the global economy.

Below are examples of 4 countries which have embraced English as the medium of instruction or regard it as the primary language of learning after the native mother tongue:

 

1. South Korea: English with an American Accent

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In South Korea, learning English and speaking with an American accent are akin to a national obsession. Though South Korea allows only citizens from select countries such as Canada, the US, the UK, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Ireland to work as ESL instructors in the country’s public school, preference is to hire instructors from North America. Some teachers even fake an American accent to secure the teaching job. For more on this topic, click on this link to PRI: http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-12-18/whats-proper-english-south-korea-it-starts-sounding-american

2. Germany: Popular Destination

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More and more U.S. students are looking at Germany as a destination to pursue their higher education while less German students are seeking university studies in the U.S. By teaching university subjects in English, a report issued by the Institute of International Education, shows the number of US students coming to Germany in 2014 rose by 9% compared to the previous year, peaking at 10,377. The attractiveness of attending a German university has much to do with the rising cost of higher education in the U.S. and cost of living but the idea of studying in Europe is also a key factor. For more on this topic, click here: http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=2015121113254240

3. Indonesia: Mandatory English

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The Indonesian government will make bilingual curriculum mandatory at universities effective at the start of 2016.  The government sees it necessary that students must learn interact in English in order to prepare them to compete in the ASEAN Economic Community. For more on this topic, click here: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/11/30/bilingual-curriculum-be-compulsory-universities-starting-2016.html#sthash.ubI6xKXP.FXnZuUrT.dpuf

4. The Netherlands: Bad English

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In an effort to attract international students and prepare Dutch students for an international career, Dutch universities and colleges have been introducing English as medium of instruction for their degree courses, but there have been some pitfalls. According to research by students’ union LSVB, almost 60% of students polled said the lectures at Dutch universities and HBO colleges which were given in English were so bad that they were incomprhensible and impeded their learning. For more on this, click here: http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2015/12/bad-english-makes-many-university-lecturers-incomprehensible-say-students/

No matter what we think or wish, English (besides soccer) continues to be the language that serves as the common denominator amongst most people from around the world. The learning of the English language or using English as the medium of instruction is rapidly growing in demand around the world. English is here to stay, at least for the long run.

For a little fun on the English language, check out the video clip of Eddie Izzard, the British comedian in this link from PRI’s The World: http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-12-28/laughing-multiple-languages

Share with us your experiences, if any, of studying English abroad.

jasmin_2015
Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert is the President and CEO of the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI).

ACEI Logo with Slogan - FINAL

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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6 Safety Tips for Study and Travel Abroad

December 4th, 2015

travel

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

― Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It

If you are considering to participate in a Study Abroad program, you are preparing yourself for both a rewarding and exciting opportunity in your life as a student. By living and studying in another country, you will have the chance to experience and learn from a new culture through your day-to-day activities. For some students and depending on where you choose as your study abroad destination, you will also have the unique opportunity to travel to other countries and cities near you.

Setting off on your study abroad adventure can be both exciting and stressful and perhaps scary. Given the series of troubling news of recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Kenya, and Istanbul, travel can be viewed with trepidation. It is, therefore, important to observe safety and security concerns while you’re abroad to ensure you will have a positive experience and return home with fond memories.

Here are some tips we’ve gleaned from various sources (cited at the end of this blog) which we hope you’ll find helpful:

1. Prepare for Travel

• Schedule a physical checkup with your family physician
• Have any subscription medication you wish to take with you up-to-date
• Check to see if the country where you’re traveling has restrictions or requirements on vaccinations and medications needed before entry
• Sign up for State Department’s Safe Traveler Enrollment Program
• Book your Trip through a Travel Agent
• Invest in Travel Insurance
• Share your Travel Itinerary with Loved Ones

2. Research and be aware of Your Surroundings

• Study maps so you’re familiar with the area of the where you will be living and going to school
• Have a few alternate routes memorized so you don’t use the same route to school and your residence
• Be street smart and don’t fall prey to street hawkers and scammers wanting to sell you cheap merchandise
• Avoid walking at night alone in areas you are not familiar
• Take fashion cues from locals to blend in and not stand out as a tourist

3. Safety in Numbers

• Traveling in groups, especially at night, is smart
• Let friends, family, roommates know of your whereabouts daily
• If you’re traveling to another town, share your itinerary with your friends, family, and roommate
• Know where your country’s nearest embassy and consulate is and how to contact them in case of an emergency

4. Protect Important Documents and Money

• Scan important documents
• Keep your money in different places
• Lock your passport and valuables
• Use a credit card instead of a debit card
• Keep a record of your credit card information incase they are lost or stolen in order to immediately alert the credit card companies

5. Stay Connected

• Buy a Data Plan or SIM Card
• Have a locally serviced phone number
• Provide your phone number to staff at your school, roommate, friends, and family
• Have you phone properly charged and with you at all times

6. Be Aware of Current Events

• Watch and read the news
• Subscribe to online news media through apps on your smart phone, or other social media such as Twitter and Facebook for up-to-date news
• Avoid protests and demonstrations

We want you to have a safe study and travel abroad experience. These tips are not to deter you but to empower you and prepare you as you venture abroad. After all, awareness and being vigilante are traits of a good global citizen. Traits that we can use even in our own hometowns.

Useful links:

https://www.insuremytrip.com/learn/types-of-travel/safety-tips-for-student-travel-abroad.html

http://travel.usnews.com/features/9-things-to-know-to-improve-your-safety-when-traveling-overseas/?src=usn_fb

http://www.studyabroad.com/b/study_abroad_news/archive/2012/01/24/9-travel-safety-tips-that-save-you-money-while-studying-abroad.aspx

http://www.studyabroad.com/pages/sitecontent/parent_guide_saftey.aspx

http://www.ceastudyabroad.com/students/safety/student-tips.html

 
ACEI Logo with Slogan - FINAL

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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Messages of Thanks on this Thanksgiving Holiday

11/26/15

Thanksgiving_2015

Thanksgiving is a special time to be thankful for great families, fortunate events, caring friends, amazing communities, and all the gifts of life we’re all lucky to have. At ACEI, we’re especially thankful for all the wonderful friends, coworkers, customers, clients, and readers like you.

We have invited members of the ACEI team to share with you their personal messages of thanks.

Brian Aguilar (Administrative Assistant): This year (like every year) has been an emotional roller-coaster. I’m thankful for all the changes, which at first seem scary, but always have great outcomes. I’m thankful for all the adventures, the rough patches, the ups and downs — that have contributed to my personal development. I’m thankful for all the new people that have come in to my life, and for those that continue to be a part of it. I’m thankful for all the words of wisdom, the support, and the love I receive from everyone around me each and every day.

Mary Baxton (Senior Credential Evaluator): Now retired (from CSUN), I reflect on my career in higher/ international education and cutting my teeth on credential evaluations.  It is a passion eagerly continued thanks to working with the ACEI team.

Scott Brown (Client Relations Officer): This has been good year and I’m thankful for good health, my friends and family and for being a part of ACEI. It is a joy corresponding with our international applicants and I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving!

Sanjin Gacina (Senior Credential Evaluator): I am thankful to be part of the ACEI family and to be surrounded by a special group of exceptional people. I am also thankful for the good fortune of a peaceful and free existence.

Clayton Johans-Winston (Client Relations Officer): I am so thankful and grateful to have been working for this incredible company, ACEI.

Katherine Kang (Senior Credential Evaluator): I am thankful for having my family with me. My son’s birthday is near Thanksgiving and due to his father’s career, he wasn’t able to celebrate with us every year. This year, all three of us were together!

Nora S. Khachetourians (Director: Evaluation & Translation Departments): There are so many things to be thankful about: a wonderful family, loving grandchildren, good health and keeping busy with work and people I love at ACEI.

Alex Martinez (Client Relations Officer): I am grateful for spending another year with my family, good health and wish for world peace and love.

Yolinisse Moreno (Director of Communications): This year and every year I am very thankful for my wonderful family, friends and colleagues. I feel very blessed to be surrounded by these people and have a roof over my head. Let’s all remember to always be kind to one another. Our kindness can change the world. Happy Thanksgiving!

John Riley (Social Media Marketing): I’m thankful for my beautiful wife, my health and the wonderful friends and family in my life.

Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert (President & CEO): Though the new year started with the loss of a loved one, my father, it goes without saying that I’m thankful for all life’s goodness, my wonderful husband, my family and friends near and far, and my amazing “work family” here at ACEI. I feel very lucky to be in the company of dedicated and talented individuals who each bring with them their unique skills and life experiences.

Alan Saidi (Senior Vice President & COO): I am thankful for all the loved ones in my life, my two beautiful daughters and loving wife and for the beauty which is all around me. My sincere gratitude also goes to my mother and sister and everyone at ACEI.

William Thompson (Administrative Assistant): I’m thankful for this year and for working with ACEI which I view as my second family. Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!

We wish you the happiest of Thanksgivings and hope you enjoy this great holiday season!

Now, it’s your turn, what are you thankful for?

(A shout out to Jennifer Hutnich, one of our senior credential evaluators and Sal Sarhangi, our IT Manager, who were away at the time of this blog’s posting and unable to contribute. We send a big thanks to both Jennifer and Sal!)

ACEI Logo with Slogan - FINAL

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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