Third culture kids: the blended identity of an international education

“International schools provide a comprehensive cross-cultural education that gives students access to a global, mobile community that is defined by its internationalism”

Emily Buchanan, a professional writer living in Norwich, UK, who’s passionate about education, the environment, and human rights, writes on the value of an international education and the ‘third culture’ identity of students at international schools.

For a young family which is given the opportunity to relocate abroad for a new job or promotion, there are going to be a number of things to consider. From accommodation to healthcare, planning before you go is paramount to a successful move. One of the most important things to come to terms with is education. As a newcomer, what can you expect from an international school and how will it change the way your child defines themselves?

International schools are ideal for expat families in that they cater to students who are not nationals of the host country. This can include children of international business owners, international organisations and companies, foreign embassies, NGOs, charities or missionary programs.

On first glance, this may concern some parents. After all, how will your child mix with their peers if their school is populated by students from other countries? However, many local children attend international schools to learn English and to obtain qualifications that they might not have access to in other schools – such as the International Baccalaureate, Edexcel or Cambridge International Examinations.

These certificates of education are highly regarded and for this reason, demand for an international education is high. The market has grown exponentially in recent years, with statistics from the International School Consultancy Group (ISC) predicting that by the end of the year, there will be 7,200 international schools teaching over 3.7 million students in English.

“Rather than identifying with any one country or culture, many internationally-educated children and adults will consider themselves global citizens”

This market growth can partially be attributed to the advance of globalisation but also to the growth of the middle classes in emerging markets. This new population of working, well-off families has meant that in some markets, 80% of enrolment demand is from local parents who want to prepare their children for foreign university degrees. When you consider that 20 years ago, most international schools were dominated by expat students, it just goes to show how well integrated international schools have become within their local communities.

International schools provide a rigorous and comprehensive cross-cultural education that immerses students in multiple languages and gives them access to a global, mobile community that is defined by its internationalism. Anyone who has been to international school or knows someone who has will appreciate the unique cultural identity this gives you.

Firstly, if you are always on the move, your children will have spent very little time in their country of origin. Therefore, rather than identifying with any one country or culture, many internationally-educated children and adults will consider themselves “global citizens” or “Third Culture Kids”.

At an international school, where you’re from is less about birthplace and more about cultural identity. “As an expat student your cultural identity ends up being difficult to categorise,” Hannah Smith, a 16-year-old British-Taiwanese student currently living in Beijing, writes in the Guardian. “This lack of definition means that I’ve ended up in a murky haze of different cultures, with bits and pieces from everywhere I’ve lived and everyone I’ve met.”

“International students’ culture can be spotted in their tell-tale ‘international school accent’ which is a kind of transatlantic timbre that’s difficult to place”

International students relate to each other through this hybrid identification process and eventually settle on a culture that is typified by their education. This can be spotted in their tell-tale “international school accent” which is a kind of transatlantic timbre that’s difficult to place. The result of an English-speaking education that encourages bilingual conversations and cross-cultural lessons, international school accents give their students a sense of belonging and a root in an otherwise culturally disparate environment.

One of the many great advantages of international school is that students are more open to people from all walks of life. In the very fabric of their education, students are exposed to a multitude of cultures, languages, religions and values. They learn how to adapt quickly to change and how to form and nourish fast friendships. This promotes a broad-minded spirit and a multicultural attitude of acceptance. Indeed, with multiculturalism and International Baccalaureate qualifications increasingly transforming state schools, international schools might not be traditional, but they certainly reflect the future of education in a truly globalised world.

I contented myself with speculation about rankings…

“The questions in my mind: what do the three main global university ranking compilers do it for? And surely just one small Mojito would be OK?”

Peter Brady, Associate Dean, International at Edinburgh Napier University in the UK, writes on the motives behind the ever-growing number of academic rankings and the temptation to sneak off for cocktails during conferences.

Sitting at a conference around the launch of the THE 100 under 50 in Miami, I wondered if anyone would notice if I slipped out to the poolside and had a Mojito – or two. It wasn’t that it wasn’t riveting. But it was 30 degrees outside with blue skies and azure seas, and OK – it wasn’t riveting.

However, one look at the rather efficient young woman beside me, taking notes, photos and earnestly tweeting made me feel ashamed of such a lack of commitment.

Had I known that she was from The PIE I could have sneaked off to the pool, had the Mojito and just read the tweets – although, a slight flaw in that plan, is that I don’t know how to tweet. Nor do I know how to twerk, and in both cases the world is most probably better off.

“Had I known that the efficient young woman tweeting beside me was from The PIE I could have sneaked off to the pool”

So I contented myself with speculation about Rankings. Not the usual – ‘are they any use?’ – as the answer is obvious: no if you are lowly ranked; yes if you are highly.

No, looking at the scale of the pre-launch made me wonder what is in it for the companies compiling the rankings. After all, THE was hosting an event in the same Miami Hotel where Lady Gaga held her New Year’s party.

Thankfully THE’s own Phil Baty had refrained from donning a meat suit, but it wasn’t cheap and THE isn’t a charity.

In the cases of some rankings, it is obvious why they do it. The Chinese University Ranking had some reputational issues, as it was widely reported in the press that universities were able to pay to boost their position in the table. I don’t see a problem with that as long as it is transparent. We would just have a list of universities most willing to bribe someone – not sure what use that would be, but then again I am not sure what use many rankings are.

But assuming that this is unusual, the questions in my mind were: what do the three main global university ranking compilers do it for? And surely just one small Mojito would be OK?

For Shanghai Jiao Tong University, it appears to be straightforward. No hidden agenda. The Chinese government wanted to develop research universities and research centres of excellence. They funded nine universities for this and Shanghai Jiao Tong was one of them.

A professor from the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering decided that it would make sense to be able to benchmark progress against world class universities. And from this, the first global rankings, The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), was born.

It is not surprising, then, that it concentrates entirely on research excellence and is considered by many to be the most transparent.

“It includes measures such as international outlook – whatever that is”

The other two main rankers – I don’t mean Jonathon Ross style ‘rankers’ – rather QS and Times Higher, both have less noble motives.

Both wish to attract interest in their publications and from that generate revenue and enhance their brand.

Both have elements that are non-quantifiable and therefore questioned. QS is considered weakest as it makes extensive use of reputational surveys. Where selected professors are asked to rank universities throughout the world, how likely is it that a professor in one country would know of the overall reputation of all the universities in another?

In the case of THE, it includes measures such as international outlook – whatever that is – and teaching.

But now, despite this, both are spawning ranking-ettes. QS publishes university rankings for Asia, Latin America, and BRICS, and rankings by Faculty by Subject, and Top 50 under 50. And in front of my Mojito-starved eyes, the THE was launching the 100 under 50 for 2014. ‘Why, given the effort involved in compiling these lists, are QS and THE creating so many more?’ I mused.

“Universities are only going to mention rankings that they are doing well in”

Someone more charitable than me may suggest that it was a response to the argument that there are many different types of university and to be more useful there should be comparisons of universities which are similar.

But I don’t think so.

It is quite straightforward. Universities are only going to mention rankings that they are doing well in. So if there are a significant group of Universities who do not do as well in the rankings (such as those under 50), there is not going to be any engagement by them with QS or THE – and thence no revenue.

So the answer was obvious – make a new ranking. At one stroke you have 100 universities that can say they are in the top 100 in the world. All of whom will cite the company that produced the rankings in publications and websites giving free advertising.

And just think about how easy it is to sell space on the website/newspaper/magazine which hosts the list which cites your university as world class!

And as I listened, Phil Baty pointed out that THE would strongly resist the urge to change the age from 50 years. It hit me like the first slurp of cold Mojito in the sunlight – pure genius. Unlike the standard rankings, where year on year there is not a huge amount of movement, and certainly few newcomers, this ranking will be refreshed constantly as universities – like myself – find themselves on the wrong side of the hill that is 50 years old and excluded from the club.

Twelve out of the fourteen UK universities cited in THE’s 2014 list will be 50 in the next few years. So they will drop out if the rankings completely, to have their place taken by completely different universities – all of whom will want to spend money to shout to the world that they are best.

And that is just the UK universities.

So given this, it is unlikely that these companies will stop there. There are so many universities who still haven’t made a top 100 in anything yet – think of the money to be made by the publishers if each and every university could get its place in the sunlight!

So the question I pose to you, dear readers, is what do you think the next world university rankings will be? My suggestion is Top 100 Universities for Management Organisation Janitors Interaction and Theoretical Operations – not because it makes sense but purely for the acronym.

And as for my Mojito, unfortunately I never got it, as the day became more interesting. We began to discuss how the THE could improve the metrics they use in the rankings to make them more useful and I began to muse that having a commercial motivation isn’t always wrong.

Reimagine Education: how do we measure success in higher education teaching?

“There is little doubt that the main role of higher education is to produce educated people… but its effectiveness is chronically hard to pin down”

Martin Ince, Chair of the QS Global Academic Advisory Board, writes about how we measure success in higher education teaching.

What is higher education for? The answer depends on who you ask. For researchers, universities are the place where new knowledge is generated. For politicians, they are vital sources of innovation and economic growth.

But there is little doubt that the main role of higher education is to produce educated people. Students may leave university with a degree that opens up a lucrative and satisfying profession, or they may have improved their minds rather than their earning power. They may be 21 or 91. But in either case, the key to their university experience is how well they were taught and how much they learned.

The only problem is that it is tricky to see how well this vital function of universities is being carried out. Higher education is still provided largely by “destination” universities using time-honoured teaching methods. But these techniques now exist alongside distance learning, and blended methods that use a mixture of these approaches. But whatever combination is in use, its effectiveness is chronically hard to pin down.

“This issue is especially salient for us because of the impossibility of measuring teaching and learning on a global scale”

I chair the advisory board for the QS World University Rankings, and this issue is especially salient for us because of the impossibility of measuring teaching and learning on a global scale. Even within the UK, it is captured only indirectly, by surrogates such as student satisfaction. This does not work internationally, because a course that satisfies someone in Chicago might not go down well in Seoul. And we are well aware that despite the validity of traditional methods, teaching is being transformed by new approaches and new technology.

This is why QS was delighted to back the suggestion by Professor Jerry Wind, director of the SEI Center at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a member of our advisory board, for a global competition to recognise innovative approaches to teaching in higher education.

The Wharton-QS Stars Awards 2014: Reimagine Education has assembled a distinguished panel of judges from around the world to examine evidence-based claims for innovative approaches to higher education pedagogy. They welcome evidence of distance, presence and blended approaches to teaching, from any type of institution and in any subject. There may also be awards for the top innovations in specific regions or in subject areas.

A specific feature of Reimagine Education is that entrants have to show that students feel the benefit of the innovations they have made. They are encouraged to complete a student survey to prove the claims they make for their improved pedagogy.

We are sure from the response so far that Reimagine Education is timely. Please do spread the word about it, and consider entering yourself. The inaugural awards will be presented at a major conference at Wharton in December, and publicized heavily by QS and Wharton.

There is more about the competition, and our motivation for launching it, at www. reimagine-education.com. The site also has entry details and the timetable.

International education as an industry: “only talent that has truly been educated is an asset to an economy”

“Teaching and learning is not an industrial process; it is a human endeavour with all the triumph and tribulation that comes with it”

Hanneke Teekens, Chair of the Board at AFS Intercultural Programmes in the Netherlands and former member of the board of directors of the Netherlands Organization for International Cooperation in Higher Education (NUFFIC), writes on attitudes towards international education, asking how helpful it is to approach it as an ‘industry’.

Over the years I have resisted the term ‘ the industry’ when referring to the internationalisation of higher education. Perhaps because I am a non-Anglo, coming from a tradition of public and affordable higher education that is seen as a non-commercial good. But ask any person in the street what is meant by ‘the industry’ and nobody would come up with international higher education. In other words, it is an in-crowd term in ‘our circle’ that is best avoided with a wider audience.

Moreover, using this terminology denies the specific context of education. Producing knowledge, to stay with the vocabulary of the market, is built upon a relationship that involves teaching and learning and not one of selling and buying. Education requires personal involvement of both teacher and student. A student must want to learn. The affective part of learning is the first step and requires an attitude of curiosity and engagement. In international education even more so.

Sure, diploma mills can sell a diploma and they do, but that does not mean anything has been taught and learned. Education is an intrinsic cultural and social good, with clearly a strong economic impact. Teaching and learning is not an industrial process; it is a human endeavour with all the triumph and tribulation that comes with it. Universities have a long tradition of imbuing society with critical thinking and innovation. It is essential for our industrial society to acknowledge that autonomous role.

“Universities have a long tradition of imbuing society with critical thinking and innovation. It is essential for our industrial society to acknowledge that autonomous role”

Education is not for free and neither is it cheap. Some parts of the world have capacity issues and declining enrolment of home students in other countries makes the inflow of foreigners an attractive option – on the one hand to help battered finances, but also to enhance the quality of education.

Moreover, international graduates are considered important ambassadors and increasingly are seen as potential immigrants to strengthen the workforce. Talent is on the move and there is no denial that economic considerations are a top priority. But only talent that has truly been educated is an asset to an economy. Hordes of people with a whole list of impressive degrees, but with no competencies to deal with globalised working and living conditions will feel frustrated and so will business and industry. More research on how to improve the relevance of international education for the international workplace is clearly needed.

“Hordes of people with a whole list of impressive degrees, but with no competencies to deal with globalised working and living conditions will feel frustrated and so will business and industry”

I write these lines high above the clouds from Amsterdam to Brazil, where later this week I will present at the Faubai conference in Joinville. My workshop concerns the impact of international student mobility on the home institution. The main question addresses the curriculum. How do we prepare all graduates, both home and international, to deal with globalised working and living conditions?

I kill time and read a whole stack of papers and journals. One article really catches my attention. The headline is ‘From Communism to Catholic school’ , by Kyle Spencer. (International NY Times, April 8, 2014). The accompanying picture shows us a pensive 18-year-old Di Wang, one of 39 Chinese students at a suburban school in New Jersey. The article informs us that Ms. Wang wants to continue to go to college in the US but will remain an atheist. At the same time the director of the seminar that teaches the basics of Catholicism comes to the conclusion that unless you know about Jesus it is going to be really difficult. Fortunately Di Wang sometimes prays to thank God for a beautiful day and the DePaul Catholic High School receives a wonderful fee.

In the end Ms. Wang sums up her learning experience as ‘do good, avoid evil’. It is an insight that Confucius came up with centuries before the Catholic Church even came to exist. More importantly, or downright worrying, is the fact that Di Wang may never be aware of this.

HE marketing in a digital age: ‘it’s not so much about the channels that you use, it’s about the questions that you ask’

“My favourite case study is about the University of Nottingham in 2010, before the UK general elections… Almost every article about the election in the significant UK media quoted a University of Nottingham Politics department faculty member”

US higher education marketing expert Michael Stoner talks to Gerrit Bruno Blöss about how universities market themselves in an age of digital technology and social media. Michael Stoner is author of ‘Social Works’, a book about social media marketing in higher education.

Your book features more than two dozen case studies of universities employing social media in their marketing. Which one of those examples is your favourite, and why?

My personal favourite is the one about the University of Nottingham. In 2010, before the general elections in the United Kingdom, they saw an opportunity to position the staff of their Politics department as expert commentators. There are three reasons why that case study is so interesting.

First, none of the things that the University of Nottingham did would be far beyond the scope that an expert PR publisher in 1985 would have done, except for the fact that they used a blog, Twitter, e-mail, and YouTube, which of course did not exist in 1985. A lot of the conceptual framework for the campaign was based on sound PR practice. You identify the people that you need to reach out to and how to reach them, and then you work the channels. It’s different today than in 1985 because we are operating in a different timeframe, but the basic PR principles still hold.

Secondly, they were very careful in identifying the outcomes that they were seeking. They were very SMART in setting goals – measurable, achievable and realistic – and they blew all their goals out of the water. They wanted to involve four Politics department faculty members, and they actually involved eight; they wanted 20 pieces of international coverage and they achieved 466… Almost every article about the election in the significant UK media quoted a University of Nottingham Politics department faculty member.

“If you are thoughtful about the way you construct the campaign, the effects can be even more far-reaching than the original goals”

A third reason is that the campaign had significant impact not only because they achieved their goals – but they demonstrated that if you are thoughtful about the way you construct the campaign, the effects can be even more far-reaching than the original goals. You could say that achieving a 15% bump in applications is significant, and it is, but, in a university environment, having other faculty members look to your department as a success is a really significant achievement that is hard to measure.

This case study shows that it’s not so much about the channels that you use, it’s about the questions that you ask, the needs you have. That’s basic marketing 101.

In some of the case studies, the reason for using social media for marketing was to build the brand while keeping expenses low.

Social media is often about keeping the external spend low. One of my frustrations with higher education and some of our colleagues is that they look at an external spend as a cost, but they don’t view staff time as a cost. To me, as a business person, it’s a huge cost. If I have a developer who is working on an internal project and not working for a client, then that’s a real expense to me, we’re losing income. Just because the higher education institution is booking revenue in a different way than we do it doesn’t mean that staff time shouldn’t be seen as a valuable asset and looked at in the entire picture of costs.

“If I have a developer who is working on an internal project and not working for a client, then that’s a real expense to me”

That’s one of the big challenges when we talk about accounting for these projects: if you’re really using social media effectively, people will be spending time on it. That’s time that they’re not going to be able to do other things. You have to recognise that. If you don’t, the project is not going to be as successful as it otherwise would be. So the advantage of a project like the one at the University of Nottingham is, of course, they had a fixed timeframe; it’s easier to run a project like that because the expenditure of staff time happened in a much shorter timeframe.

How much does a typical US institution spend on marketing?

That’s a very difficult question to answer. I was on a state university’s campus recently and they had a study done that indicated that the institution was spending US$71 million on marketing. But when you looked at the budget that was controlled by the university’s central marketing unit, the spend was about $3 million. What’s the right answer? I can’t really tell you. That institution is having a struggle now how to answer that question. And this kind of fragmented marketing organisation is really typical for universities in the US, but also internationally.

Do you see differences in the approach to social media between Anglo-Saxon countries, where education is expensive for the students, and “cheaper” countries like Germany, where institutions rely more on state funding than tuition fees?

“You want to build buzz around your institution because you want better students… perhaps you want to be the Harvard of Germany”

Many institutions that aren’t very concerned about marketing in terms of recruiting or fundraising are interested in social media because their focus in marketing is to enhance the brand value of the institution, so marketing is focused on the brand. It’s not related to student recruitment or fundraising. That’s something where social media could be very important and an essential tool. You want to build buzz around your institution because you want better students, even though you are as affordable as any other university – but perhaps you want to be the Harvard of Germany.

Gerrit Bruno Blöss is a Valuation & Business Modelling consultant with Ernst & Young in Stockholm. He assists clients in business plans, financing and business valuations, especially in the technology environment.

This interview was first published by CHIP.DE in German – read the original here.

No longer should languages be dismissed as ‘soft skills’

“As business becomes increasingly borderless in years to come, the language skills and cultural competencies of our business leaders will become critical to our economic health”

Gary Muddyman, CEO of Oxford-based translation agency Conversis, discusses the language skills crisis facing the UK and explains why he believes languages should no longer be seen as a ‘soft skill’.

Last month, I was invited to address The All Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages session on behalf of the Globalisation and Localisation Association (GALA), a global trade body representing 27,000 language service providers. I took the opportunity to deliver an important message: the deepening language skills shortage is affecting UK competitiveness abroad. In order for UK businesses to continue to trade successfully in coming years, the nation’s attitude to languages must change.

No longer should languages be dismissed as ‘soft skills’. It is essential that languages are intertwined with the core STEM skills driving the global economy. As business becomes increasingly borderless in years to come, with languages other than English likely to become the lingua franca, the language skills and cultural competencies of our business leaders will become critical to our economic health. Without language the global economy simply can’t function; monolingual cultures will lose out.

It was estimated recently that the language skills deficit costs UK £48bn a year (3.5% of GDP)

The crisis in language education in the UK is well documented: 2013 saw a 40% drop in universities offering language courses and the number of UK students taking language A-Levels hitting an all time low. It was estimated recently that the language skills deficit costs UK £48bn a year (3.5% of GDP).

Whilst the UK is finally making some steps in the right direction (for example, with languages becoming a compulsory part of the curriculum for primary school children aged seven plus from September) I believe this to be too little and too late. It could take between 20 and 40 years in all reality for teachers to be trained, youngsters to be taught and for business people with the right combination of language skills and cultural competencies to emerge to lead our businesses.

At present we simply do not have the linguistic talent in this country to even fill the jobs that currently exist. My business is based in rural Oxfordshire, but only a handful of my staff are British nationals and have come through the British education system. This is for no reason other than we find candidates from Europe generally have stronger skills in the required areas.

However, the point I would like to make is that it is not just the Language Service Industry that has cause for concern here; the language skills deficit is set to affect British competitiveness abroad generally. Considering the seriousness of these consequences it is surprising there is less awareness of the problem or action being taken to address it.

“it is not just the Language Service Industry that has cause for concern here; the language skills deficit is set to affect British competitiveness abroad generally”

Whilst it remains an uphill battle, it is good to know that there are several strong initiatives out there currently making headway. These include ‘Languages for All’: a strategic effort, spearheaded by the University of Maryland and supported by the British Academy to widen language learning, resulting in an advanced language proficiency in the workforce. There is also what has been dubbed the ‘Global Talent Program’, spearheaded by GALA and primarily sponsored by Manpower Group. This sets out to create an environment in both the UK and US where business and education work together toward job growth and economic competitiveness.

Should you be interested in reading more about the language skills deficit and the opportunities and challenges facing the Language Services industry, you can download a PDF of my presentation to the APPG here.

The UK does not have a God-given right in the international student recruitment market

“Our bellicose rhetoric and criticism of UK immigration policy is simply picked up and repeated in the press overseas as criticism of the UK and of our universities”

Vincenzo Raimo, director of the international office at The University of Nottingham, writes about how poor lobbying tactics can damage the UK’s reputation abroad, and the complex factors impacting on Indian students’ decision to study in the UK.

Thank goodness the University of East Anglia’s Edward Acton, who said that Home Office rhetoric on immigration was having “a horrible, negative effect” on international student recruitment, is on his way out. But how do we stop other Vice-Chancellors going on about visas as if they’re the only reason numbers are down from India?
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There is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ international strategy

“You can’t assume that your domestic marketing strategy can be applied internationally with the same level of success”

Dan Sommer, Education Marketing Expert and President of Global Education, Zeta Interactive, considers some of the challenges university officials must consider when building effective regional strategies.

Over the past 12 months, universities have experienced declining enrolment numbers for a variety of reasons: demographic shifts; an improving economy; increasing competition from both for-profit institutions and more traditional schools; and the influx of disruptive technologies and learning platforms. University officials are now tasked with looking at creative ways to counterbalance declining domestic enrolment numbers.

In the past, university leaders have been forced to consider things like adjusting discount rates or modifying quality standards to meet financial objectives when tackling declining domestic enrolment. Now, however, increasing international recruitment is a meaningful alternative to consider and one that we see as a top five priority for most university leadership teams.

Going international represents an opportunity for institutions to maintain tuition while counterbalancing declining numbers, but it presents an array of challenges to marketing and admissions teams. You can’t assume that your domestic marketing strategy can be applied internationally with the same level of success.

There Is No Such Thing As A ‘One Size Fits All’ International Strategy

When expanding to international markets, it is important to understand the regional differences that might impact your success. Developing an awareness of how your brand will fit in different regions is key. Further, some regions are more price conscious then others and may require differential pricing or scholarship options to overcome financial barriers. Thus, as you develop an international strategy, the first step is to dive deep into the educational landscape of the country you are entering.

“As you develop an international strategy, the first step is to dive deep into the educational landscape of the country you are entering”

Finding the Right Product Market Fit

A number of factors should be considered when launching particular programmes. For example, there are regions that have truly embraced online programmes (the UK), while others take a more mixed position (Canada). Yet others do not currently recognise or support online learning (certain regions in Asia). In developing your strategy, understanding both consumer and government acceptance of online learning is key. Based upon what you uncover, you might consider a strategy that focuses on a hybrid model with some classroom learning and some online, or a or periodic campus immersion experience with the majority of learning online, with limited face to face campus time. I have seen the latter be highly effective for South American recruitment.

Institutions should also consider whether additional contact hours or local student support is needed to enhance the learning experience. If your programmes are taught in English and you are in regions where English is secondary, you may need to deploy additional tutors to offset the potential learning gap.

“It’s important to consider whether your programmes are fully relevant to local conditions and economies”

Finally, it’s important to consider whether your programmes are fully relevant to local conditions and economies. While the MBA is currently the most popular programme internationally, each region may have preferences regarding specialisations (e.g. entrepreneurship vs. Islamic Finance). It is dangerous to assume that the programme that works so well in the US will work equally as well in every region.

Selecting The Right Marketing And Recruitment Partners

In an ideal scenario, it would be possible to generate all of your international inquiries within your marketing department or with your existing partners. The reality is there are many nuances to local student recruitment. For example, if you plan to recruit students in Russia and CIS, selecting a partner with Yandex experience is key. If you are utilising email marketing services, does your partner understand local privacy regulations? There are thousands of new media outlets to consider, from local, SEO-driven education directories to highly targeted regional publications that the right partners can introduce into your marketing mix.

Further down the ‘funnel’ are call centre partnerships (locally and with regional expertise) that can play an important role in qualifying traffic. US institutions often attempt to call new web leads within 120 seconds, but this may not play well in some regions. Language and tempo may also need to be altered on a regional basis and can be the difference between success and failure in new markets.

The Devil is In the Details

Last, but certainly not least, is the question of whether your institution has the operational infrastructure to qualify and enrol international students. Often, institutions create separate units to manage lead flow and applications from international students. Developing the infrastructure that will allow for the proper vetting of candidates (e.g. understanding whether local credentials meet admissions standards, language qualification, and even consideration of prerequisites) can be highly complex.

In addition, local currencies and exchange rates could present a number of challenges for your finance team. Many institutions consider outsourcing aspects of the enrolment process, which can help to reduce some of the complexities.

Dan Sommer is an education marketing expert. He is the President of Global Education at Zeta Interactive,  a leading digital marketing company that helps global brands to acquire, engage and retain customers. Dan has helped dozens of universities to innovate and achieve success through innovative marketing acquisition, retention, engagement and partnership programs. 

Homestay: the make-or-break part of a student’s study experience

“A school can provide PhD-level teachers, gold-plated desks, a perfect nationality mix, and 100% graduation rates. None of that matters if the student is getting what looks like dog food for dinner”

Cam Harvey, owner of Working With Agents Consulting, writes about the importance of open and honest communication in a strong agent-school partnership – one that always puts the health and strength of their relationship first.

“I’m fascinated by the stories in international education. And there are stories out there. Lots of highly emotional stories.  Each one often has multiple, emotionally charged versions depending on who is telling it – the school, the student, the parent, or the agent.
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Tighter regulation in Canada will act as a seal of quality for international students

“The new act will be a key protector of international students’ rights. It will make all institutions, both private and public, accountable”

The International Education Act was given royal assent Canada’s the Manitoba legislature last month. Susan Deane, college director and principal of the International College Manitoba, a Navitas pathway college, explains how the legislation will help bolster quality by making institutions accountable.

“In 2012, the Canadian International Education Advisory Panel recommended increasing Canada’s international student numbers from 265,000 to more than 400,000 within 10 years.

Though progress has been made in recent years, the size of the Manitoba international student population still lags behind other provinces. British Columbia, for instance, accounted for 25 per cent of Canada’s international student population, while Manitoba claimed only three per cent.

Now, thanks to new legislation, the province of Manitoba has the leverage to attract more students from around the world by demonstrating that international education in Manitoba is of the best quality and is maintained by stringent standards: Bill 44, the International Education Act, was given royal assent in the Manitoba legislature Dec. 5. The legislation will act as a seal of quality to show prospective international students and their families that Manitoba provides education worth investing in.

The International Education Act would establish a code of conduct for institutions that educate international students, creating consistent high standards across the province. This will set requirements on recruitment methods, course quality and student supports, and will aim to prevent misleading or deceptive conduct in relation to international students.

It will also mean that an education provider must be approved to enrol international students. Lists of non-complying providers and recruiters will be made public.

Accountability has always been a top priority for the International College of Manitoba (ICM), and for this reason we welcome the International Education Act. ICM has a recognition agreement with the University of Manitoba whereby it offers the equivalent of first year university on the University of Manitoba campus to international students in a supportive environment. Upon successful completion, students enter second year in regular classes at the University of Manitoba. This soft landing helps students move successfully to a Canadian learning environment.

ICM has more than 850 students, and we’ve educated students from more than 72 countries. A further 825 students have completed the ICM program, 95 per cent of whom have been admitted to the University of Manitoba. These are high-achieving individuals worthy of our support.

“Canada has long lagged behind other top international education destinations in the regulation for international students”

The new act will also be a key protector of international students’ rights. It will make all institutions, both private and public, accountable — something Navitas, ICM’s parent company, has been doing for many years.

Canada has long lagged behind other top international education destinations in the regulation for international students. The International Education Act will start to elevate Manitoba to international standards, building the province’s reputation as a high-quality education destination.

As the flow of international students into Manitoba increases, the creation of an industry benchmark for international education, and the protection of student’s rights, will become ever more important.”