Greece travel advice Q&A: Tourists urged to bring cash not cards on holiday

Same would presumptively be true of students abroad in Greece for the summer.**DB

“Greece travel advice Q&A: Tourists urged to bring cash not cards on holiday”

by Kiran Moodley via “Independent.co.uk”

The Foreign Office has advised British tourists travelling to Greece to avoid relying on cards and that cash will be the best form of currency as the country enters a week of political and economic uncertainty.

Greece is close to a financial collapse with the stock exchange closed and banks shut all week after the European Central Bank (ECB) said that further credit to the nation was being refused after the eurozone rejected the latest bailout extension pleas from Greek politicians.

With new proposals put forward by creditors, the Greek people will go to the polls on Sunday to have their say on whether they agree with the latest round of austerity proposals. Having already overwhelmingly backed the anti-austerity, ultra left party Syriza in January, the future of Greece’s place in the eurozone looks uncertain.

The Foreign Office has advised British tourists travelling to Greece to avoid relying on cards and that cash will be the best form of currency as the country enters a week of political and economic uncertainty.

Greece is close to a financial collapse with the stock exchange closed and banks shut all week after the European Central Bank (ECB) said that further credit to the nation was being refused after the eurozone rejected the latest bailout extension pleas from Greek politicians.

With new proposals put forward by creditors, the Greek people will go to the polls on Sunday to have their say on whether they agree with the latest round of austerity proposals. Having already overwhelmingly backed the anti-austerity, ultra left party Syriza in January, the future of Greece’s place in the eurozone looks uncertain.

The ECB has said it will not extend emergency funding to Greece, thus forcing all banks to close this week with the government saying it needing to protect their liquidity. Currently, people can only withdraw up to €60 (£42) a day this week. The administration of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras must pay €1.6bn to the IMF on Tuesday. That is also the day when the country’s current bailout package expires, with the new austerity proposal offered by the eurozone yet to be agreed upon by Greece, after the government said it had to take the matter to the people in a referendum on 5 July.

What has the Foreign Office said?

The latest advice reads: “Visitors to Greece should be aware of the possibility that banking services – including credit card processing and servicing of ATMs – throughout Greece could potentially become limited at short notice. Make sure you have enough Euros in cash to cover emergencies, unforeseen circumstances and any unexpected delays.”

What does this mean for holidaymakers?

The €60 restriction on withdrawals does not apply to people who hold bank cards from outside of Greece, but still, the main warning is that it may be difficult to find a reliable, working ATM. . . .

What’s the problem?

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More Vietnamese high school graduates now prefer studying abroad

“More Vietnamese high school graduates now prefer studying abroad”

by Le Phuong via “Xinua News

 

HO CHI MINH CITY, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) – While most Vietnamese high school students are busy preparing for the country’s tough college entrance examinations, quite a few of their classmates are also in the thick of preparations for their coming trips abroad to study in foreign colleges.

Just a couple of weeks ahead of the new academic school year starting September, 18-year-old Lan Anh, who just graduated from a famous high school in capital Hanoi, has already packed her luggage and attended farewell parties with relatives and friends before her coming trip to the United States to pursue her college studies.

“Going abroad to study was my dream since I was in the primary grades and I have strived hard to realize my dream. Of course, without the financial support of my family, I would not be able to do that,” Anh told Xinhua recently .

Anh said that with a diploma from an American college, she would find it easy to get a good job in Vietnam or in the United States if she would be allowed to stay there after graduation.

Nguyen Quoc Hung, a native in Hoai Duc District here, chose to take medicine in a college in China for his post-graduate study.

“Members of three generations in my family have practiced traditional medicine. My father is now running a clinic selling herbal medicines and treating patients with physical therapy such as acupuncture. I want to follow his footsteps,” Hung said.

He said he decided to study at a medical college in China because as far as he knows China is where Oriental medicine has been practiced since ancient times– the cradle of traditional medicine.

In recent years, the number of Vietnamese high school graduates going abroad for college has been on the rise.

Statistics from the Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) showed that as of the end of 2013, there were more than 115,000 Vietnamese students studying in 47 countries and territories, a ten-fold increase from the previous ten years. Among them, 90 percent have paid for their own foreign studies.

The United States, China and Australia are on top the list of countries where Vietnamese students want to study. Overall, about 34 percent of the overseas Vietnamese students are studying in Asian countries and nearly 40 percent in the US and Australia, according to MoET statistics .

Education officials attributed the rising number of overseas Vietnamese students to their parents’ improved living conditions as well as the local education sector’s further global integration.

According to Nguyen Xuan Vang, Head of MoET’s Overseas Training Department, in recent years, Vietnam’s education sector has expanded its relations with foreign counterparts. The sector has also adopted measures that encourage students to study abroad, which is in line with the policies of the Communist Party and the state to promote global integration, the MoET said.

Every year, thousands of students go abroad for study using their own money and many of them, when they returned home, have contributed greatly to the country’s socio-economic development.

Every year, the MoET grants scholarships for deserving Vietnamese high school graduates to study abroad under strict selection process, including the grantees’ pledge to return home to serve the country after their education abroad.

Le Hong Ly, Director of the Tri Thuc (Knowledge) Center for Consultancy of Overseas Study, told Xinhua that over the past five years the number of her clients has risen.

“With improved living conditions, many well-off families in Vietnam are ready to invest in their children’s overseas education with the hope that they would acquire better education from advanced countries and would have a brighter future,” Le Hong Ly said. . . . .

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Why do Indians want to Study Abroad?

“Why do Indians want to Study Abroad?”

by Philip G. Altbach via “The Hindu

GREENER PASTURES: A degree from a top foreign university tends to be valued more in the Indian job market than a local degree, a perception based on facts too. File photo: Nagara Gopal

When bright students look around India for a place to study for an advanced degree, they find few top-quality programmes

Post-graduate students from India are increasingly choosing to study abroad. The U.S. Council of Graduate Schools’ new statistics show that offers of admission to Indian post-graduate students are up 25 per cent for 2013-14 from the previous year, compared to a 9 per cent increase for all countries. Numbers from China showed no increase compared to last year. While these statistics are only for the U.S., India’s most popular destination, it is likely that other countries such as Germany, Canada and the U.K. are also seeing significant increases from India.

Reasons for departure

Why? There are, no doubt, many reasons why Indians are choosing to study abroad. Two of these factors are troubling for India’s universities and for prospects for the high-tech economy. When bright students look around India for a place to study for an advanced degree, they find few top-quality programmes. In the social sciences and humanities, there are a small number of respectable departments, but absolutely none that are considered by international experts as in the top class of academic programmes. In the hard sciences, biotechnology, and related fields, the situation is more favourable with a few institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology, the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and some others, despite limited acknowledgement from abroad, being internationally competitive by most measures. But the numbers of students who can be served by these schools is quite limited.

Thus, if a bright Indian wants to study for a doctorate or even a master’s degree at a top department or university in most fields, he or she is forced to study overseas. Further, a degree from a top foreign university tends to be valued more in the Indian job market than a local degree — a perception based not only on snobbery but also on facts. While master’s degrees can be quite costly in the U.S., the U.K., Australia, and elsewhere, doctorates are in fact quite inexpensive because of the likelihood of securing a research or teaching fellowship or assistantship that pays for most or all of the costs. . . . .

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Israel-Gaza Conflict Impacts American Study Abroad Students

Responses to the question of whether the Study Abroad programs should continue have been diverse . . . Further Resources/Articles on the subject can be found at the following links:

Out of sheer curiosity, what is your opinion?  Should the schools cancel these programs that students have paid for and planned for, and if so, how should the students be reimbursed for the lost time and experience?  Conversely, should the schools be able to assume that students have done their research on the situation and are still interested enough in the program for it to continue?  How do you think the schools should rule in this debate?

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Israel-Gaza Conflict Impacts American Study Abroad Students

by Harmeet Kaur via “USA Today

Smoke rises after an Israeli airstrike in Al Shejaeiya neighbourhood during a military operation in eastern Gaza City, July 22. (Mohammed Saber, epa)

For Rawan Muhanna, the past few weeks were some of the most terrifying times of her life.

A senior studying chemistry at the University of Texas at Dallas, Muhanna just returned last week from a trip to the Gaza Strip. She says she and her family visit Gaza often to spend time with relatives. This time, her family journeyed to the area for her sister’s wedding. Soon after the joyous celebrations, however, Muhanna says she began hearing F-16 missiles being dropped on surrounding homes.

“‘Unsafe’ doesn’t quite capture how we felt,” she says. “The fear brought me to tears, which I’ve never experienced before.”

Although the Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated areas of the world, Muhanna says the streets were empty when the violence began to escalate. She recalls an incident in which her family had to leave their family’s apartment building to buy groceries.

“We’re literally just praying and speeding through empty streets just to get to the grocery store to buy food,” Muhanna says. “That was one time that I genuinely felt like I might not get home.”

Violence between Israel and Gaza-based militant groups, most notably Hamas, escalated this month after three young Israeli students were kidnapped and murdered in the West Bank on June 10. On July 2, a Palestinian man was killed in retaliation near Jerusalem.

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“Military pressure in Russia not expected to disrupt study abroad program”

Seems to be true of most programs currently going on in Russia, Ukraine, and the Crimea region. However, it isn’t clear yet how many of these programs will continue next year.  ** DB

“Military Pressure in Russia not Expected to Disrupt Study Abroad Program”

by Rebecca Fiedler via “Baylor Lariat

Vladimir Putin

Despite tensions built in the East between Russia and Ukraine over the past few weeks, the Baylor study abroad program in Russia isn’t turning back.

“I have absolutely no worries about sending our students right now,” said Dr. Adrienne Harris, assistant professor of Russian. “I suppose if things got very heated and there was some impact on visas, that of course would change the situation.”

There is only one Baylor student studying abroad in Russia: Highland Village junior Matt Brinzo. Brinzo is studying for the semester at Voronezh State University in southwestern Russia.

“One of the big advantages of studying in a place like Voronezch is that you’re not surrounded by other foreigners, like in St. Petersburg, so there are more opportunities for students to speak Russian and fewer opportunities to speak English,” Harris said.

He said since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Baylor has had no issues sending one to six students per semester to study in Russia. In general, Harris said, she doesn’t think there would be any animosity from Russians towards American students. Russians typically know Americans are interested in Russia and learning about the country, she said.

“Almost always the response is positive,” Harris said. “Maybe the Russian people will want to talk about politics with our students and defend President Vladimir Putin, but as far as animosity towards students, there’d be nothing serious.”

Brinzo said Americans have advised him that it’s potentially dangerous to be in Russia, but he feels safer in Russia than he did living in Waco.

“I haven’t even felt a glimpse of danger,” Brinzo said.

Brinzo said many Russian people talk to him about the Ukrainian issue and America’s involvement, but they are not hostile with him and he feels the same about some political issues as they do.

“I get an earful from every single Russian about how America is ridiculous for our views on the whole Ukraine situation, and on a lot of points I agree with them,” Brinzo said.

He said he sympathizes with the opinion that the U.S. has been inconsistent . . . .

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“VisaMapper Is A Magical Map Where You Can See Which Countries Require Visas To Visit”

You can find a direct link to the VisaMapper app (and other tools) under “Student Resources” on the left side of this blog.

“VisaMapper Is A Magical Map Where You Can See Which Countries Require Visas To Visit”

by Suzy Strutner via “Huffington Post

“This might be the most brilliant thing a Reddit user has done in a while.

To curb the pain of the “do I need a visa?!” research headache, udit99 made a no-frills website called VisaMapper. Visitors select their nationality from a drop-down menu and instantly see, on a color-coded world map, which countries require a visa for them to visit and which don’t.

Tell VisaMapper you’re of Swedish citizenship, for example, and watch loads of nations on the map turn to happy shades of green. This color means you won’t need a visa to visit them. . . . .”

I will say that I can’t tell when the map applies. . . . Sometimes the rules are different for travelers staying longer than 90 days (or a similar length of time) which would often include students.  England I know has different requirements than I think this app shows.