Foreign Festivals! – Dragon Boat Festival

Happy Dragon Boat Festival!  Today in #China we are celebrating the Duanwu #端午 festival!  It’s been a Holiday here for more than 2000 years!

It celebrates the Famous #poet #quyuan. Devoted to #China 🇨🇳, he wrote beautiful poems about its history, nature, and people. When the invading Qin armies approached, he chose to drown himself rather than see his beloved country fall.  Although they sent out many #dragon boats to look for him, they could not save him in time. 
 So to commemorate his memory, every year they eat  #粽子 (aka Zongzi), a sticky #rice #treat wrapped in banana leaves. And the big cities send out Dragon #boats for big battles and races on the lakes and rivers! Cool!
WHAT HOLIDAYS HAVE YOU ENCOUNTERED?!?

46 Study Abroad Statistics: Convincing Facts and Figures

“46 Study Abroad Statistics: Convincing Facts and Figures”

by Ruth Kinloch via “Study.Smart”

Are you thinking about studying abroad, but are not sure if it’s worth your time? Or are you ready to participate in a study abroad program, but need some extra talking points to convince your parents that you’ve made a smart decision?

The number of American students who go abroad has more than tripled in the past two decades (304,467 students in the 2013-2014 academic year), and this increase is likely to continue. International education is on the rise, and for good reason: research has shown that students who study abroad have better career prospects and are more socially aware. Read on to discover more study abroad statistics, facts, and figures that reflect the latest trends in international education.

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Benefits of studying abroad

For many years, the benefits of studying abroad have been described in words like these: “It will completely change your life!” and “You will come back a new person.” But the exact long-term benefits were unknown. Now, though, the positive impact of study abroad experiences can be proven with study abroad statistics.

The Institute for International Education of Students (IES) conducted a survey to explore the long-term impact of study abroad on the personal, professional, and academic lives of students. Here are some interesting findings:

  1. 95% of the students who were surveyed admitted that studying abroad served as a catalyst for increased maturity, 96% reported increased self-confidence, and 95% said it had a lasting impact on their worldview.
  2. More than 50% of the respondents are still in contact with U.S. friends they met when studying abroad.

One of the goals of study abroad programs is to train future global leaders who will respect other cultures and political and economic systems and care about the world’s welfare. The survey reveals that study abroad is succeeding in this mission:

  1. 98% of the students stated that study abroad helped them better understand their own cultural values and biases, and 82% said that it helped them develop a more sophisticated way of looking at the world.
  2. 94% stated that their study abroad experience continues to influence interactions with people from different cultures.
  3. 87% of the students said that study abroad influenced their subsequent educational experiences. Nearly half of all respondents took part in international work and/or volunteerism since studying abroad.
  4. Three-quarters of the respondents said that they acquired skill sets that influenced their future career paths.

The survey results proved that studying abroad can greatly influence a student’s life. The results of the survey show that study abroad had a positive influence on the personal development, academic commitment, and career paths of the students who took part in IES study abroad programs.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the results show that the longer students study abroad, the more significant the academic, cultural, and personal development benefits are. But the survey also suggests that study abroad programs lasting at least six weeks can also produce good academic, personal, career, and intercultural development outcomes.

The Erasmus Impact Study (2013) analyzed the effects of mobility on the skills and employability of students and on the internationalization of higher education institutions. The results of the study proved the benefits of studying abroad for the career development of mobile students. The study highlighted that mobile students are more likely to get managerial positions in their future careers and are less likely to experience long-term unemployment.

Here are some key findings.

  1. More than 85% of Erasmus students study abroad to enhance their employability abroad.
  2. More than 90% of mobile students reported that they improved their soft skills, including their knowledge of other countries, the ability to interact and work with people from different cultures, adaptability, foreign language proficiency, and communication skills. . . . .

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The Study Abroad Experience: Full of Goodbyes

“The Study Abroad Experience: Full of Goodbyes”

by Emma Buchman via “The Elm

It’s obvious that saying goodbye to those that you have become close to at home and abroad is difficult. I made that very clear in my article last semester about saying goodbye to Washington College. This sentiment has a unique meaning when it comes to studying abroad.
There are a lot of emotions going on, and it can be difficult to process them, especially if you get into the wrong mindset. Processing your feelings for someone is a necessary evil for getting the most out of your relationships.
I’d like to begin by saying that none of this is set in stone and that it is based solely on my experience.
There are two categories of relationships that can be made abroad: friendship and romance. Friendship is usually easier to handle than a romance, though it can still take a toll on you.
When I was in London, I made some of the best friends and couldn’t help but wish that I could just live my life with those awesome friendships.
Everything seemed like it had fallen into place, but that is not the way life works, and sometimes the only thing you can do is accept that.
Sometimes you have to accept that even though your life seems perfect in this set-up, it may just be a set-up that’s meant to work in the short term. I know that that doesn’t sound like an answer, but it’s true for me.
If you can, make an effort to stay in contact with them, acknowledge their birthday, grab a coffee when you get the chance, even it’s once every five years.
Next, we move on to romantic relationships. Long-distance relationships are always said to be doomed to fail, so a lot of times you’ll just try to avoid getting in that relationship in the first place.
Really though, isn’t getting into a relationship the same as getting into a friendship except that there may be sex? True, sex complicates things, but that just makes coming to terms with your leaving even more important.
I have seen a lot of people start romantic relationships while abroad. In some cases, it’s just a friends with benefits type of scenario, and in other cases it’s a steady, committed relationship.
From my observations, it actually seems like the friends-with-benefits structure was more stable than the steady relationship.
The couple that I knew last semester weren’t exclusive, and while I could tell that they cared about each other and would miss each other when they left, they also established what they were and who they would be when they returned home. They live so far away from each other I think it was impossible for them to avoid the topic.
Committed relationships, on the other hand, are more complicated. In a committed relationship, you are essentially saying that this person, and no other person, is who you want to be romantically involved with. That generally means that you want to continue this exclusive relationship after you leave, and while this is not impossible, it takes a lot of communication and a lot of times ends up in heartbreak.
This may seem like an article that would be better suited for the end of the year, but that is my whole point: you shouldn’t wait until the end of the year to think about leaving.
In a study abroad situation, feelings of friendship or even romance can grow so quickly that it becomes that much more difficult to say goodbye later.

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Student studies abroad three semesters, makes lifetime of memories

“Student studies abroad three semesters, makes lifetime of memories”

by Matthew McClure via “The Lamron”

Coming to Geneseo, I knew I wanted to study abroad for at least a year. I knew I wanted to go beyond my past linguistic and travel experience in Europe. This semester, I am returning from three semesters of studying abroad in Vietnam, Canada and Haiti. Study abroad has been an incredibly formative part of my undergraduate career—and my future plans—in both expected and unexpected ways.

The Global Service Learning Program in Borgne, Haiti proved to be a turning point for me. Through this program, I applied my interests in foreign language, intercultural competence and international education to connecting communities in Borgne and Geneseo. My experience in spring 2013 not only focused my academic interests, study abroad plans and career goals, but also had a lasting impact beyond that one semester. My service learning project became the design and organization of a Haitian Creole language preparation component for the course.

Immediately after the Global Service Learning Program, I knew I wanted to learn Haitian Creole and return to Borgne to help develop our program and relationship with the community. I traveled to Boston to attend the Haitian Creole Language and Culture Summer Institute, working with leading Haitian Creole scholars and collecting resources and teaching methods in order to help improve our Haitian Creole crash-course at Geneseo. As a result, I was selected to the Clinton Global Initiative University in 2015 to help support the first public library in Borgne.

In the fall of my junior year, I spent my first semester abroad in Vietnam. I went into the semester expecting a wildly new experience; one where I would learn an exotic new language. What I got was a semester where I was not only independent, but also the only native English speaker in my class. After learning Vietnamese, I could communicate with the locals and also speak to the internationals that spoke English. I met an extraordinary variety of people, both in Ho Chi Minh City and on my travels in Southeast Asia.

Perhaps the most surprising group I met in Vietnam was the Saigon Swing Cats. I had fallen in love with swing dance my freshman year, but I did not expect to find a club in Vietnam. It was a fascinating mix of locals and expatriates—mostly young professionals—gathering together to dance a vintage American dance. This is where I saw the overlap between my international interests and my dance interests. . . .

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Can study abroad lead to an ‘enlightened form of nationalism’?

“Can study abroad lead to an ‘enlightened form of nationalism’?”

by Ellie Bothwell via “THE

Group of young people

Higher graduate earnings, better marks and a greater understanding of students from different nations and backgrounds.

The benefits of study-abroad programmes have long been cited, so I was surprised to discover the results of a recent study, which found that students that spent time studying abroad were no more likely to have a feeling of “shared international community” compared with those who had enrolled on a programme but had not yet departed.

In fact, according to the survey of 571 US study-abroad students, those who had already been overseas said that they felt they had significantly fewer values in common with the people in their host country.

However, despite seeming to challenge the theory that overseas study helps improve international relations, the research from Calvert Jones, assistant professor of political science at the University of Maryland, provides a reassuring conclusion.

Professor Jones argues that while students returning from studying abroad are more “nationalistic”, they are also more tolerant and less prone to viewing other countries as threatening. She says that this means theorists of international community “would be right about the main effect, but wrong about the mechanism”. . . . .

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The surprising effects of study abroad

“The surprising effects of study abroad”

by Calvert Jones via “The Washington Post”

Since Kant, liberal scholars of international relations have hypothesized that greater cross-border contact can be a powerful force for good. The idea is that such contact encourages a sense of shared international community, breaking down artificial barriers separating people into different nations and inhibiting their natural human affinities for one another. This intuitively appealing hypothesis has inspired several famous student exchange programs, which among other potential positive effects are expected to quell nationalist fervors and ward off international conflict.

Despite its ubiquity, this hypothesis has rarely been tested in a rigorous way. Does cross-border contact really foster a feeling of community? In a recent study, I used a natural experiment across a sample of American “study abroad” students at 11 colleges in New England, the Midwest and the South to carry out a unique test. The institutional structure of study abroad makes it well-suited for a natural experiment. Students are typically placed in foreign settings for either the fall or spring semester, with the winter break providing a valuable window during which a treatment group of students just returning from a semester abroad can be compared with a control group of students who are about to embark. Since all subjects are predisposed to participate, the design controls for self-selection, and the choice of which semester is a logistical one with no obvious implications. These are significant design improvements over earlier studies that did not control for self-selection or lacked a strong control group.

More than 500 students were surveyed on their feelings of international community, perceptions of foreign threat, and levels of nationalism and patriotism, as well as demographics and study abroad program characteristics. As expected, those returning from a semester abroad (the treatment group) were not significantly different either demographically or in terms of program choices from those about to take their semester abroad (the control group). For instance, they selected the same host countries in which to study abroad, especially Spain, France, Italy and the United Kingdom, and females outnumbered males in both groups. All this mirrors the general population of American study abroad students, who are majority female and tend to study abroad most in Western Europe.

First, I tested the core liberal hypothesis that cross-border contact promotes a sense of shared international community, or what political scientist Karl Deutsch called a “we-feeling” across cultural divides. Theorists define this in terms of warmth, shared understandings and values, and trust. Surprisingly, the hypothesis was not supported: None of the indicators for international community was higher on average for students returning from study abroad than for those yet to travel. In fact, those who had just returned from a semester abroad felt they had significantly fewer values in common and were more likely to say their understandings of key concepts were different from the people of their host country. None of this was sensitive to potential moderators like whether or not students opted to live with a host family. Given the intuitive plausibility of the liberal hypothesis, these results are striking.

How about threat perceptions? I asked students to rate how threatening they would consider their study abroad host country if it were to surpass the United States in terms of material power, such as economic growth or military expansion. In theory, cross-border contact should mitigate . . . .

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SHOULD YOU EARN YOUR COLLEGE DEGREE OVERSEAS?

“SHOULD YOU EARN YOUR COLLEGE DEGREE OVERSEAS?”

by Michael Grothaus via “FastCompany

A growing number of Americans are seeking to study abroad during their college years, according to data from the Institute of International Education. For the 2012/2013 school year (the most recent year for which numbers are available), 289,000 Americans spent part or all of their most recent year in college overseas. That’s a 400% increase from 20 years ago.

There are myriad reasons for this increase, including the skyrocketing cost of a college degree in America. Depending on the country, Americans have a chance of earning their bachelor’s, master’s, or even a PhD for cents on the dollar. In the last year, more than 4,600 American students were enrolled in full degree programs in Germany alone, where college fees for Americans are less than $1,000 a year, compared to $23,410, the average tuition cost per year for a public university in the U.S.

But American students aren’t just taking flight to foreign shores to save money on education. In today’s ever-smaller globalized business world, earning your degree overseas can have huge benefits for your career throughout the course of your life. A QS Global Employer Survey Report found that out of 10,000 companies contacted, more than 80% said they actively sought out graduates who have studied abroad. That’s not to say there aren’t some drawbacks to moving abroad for an international education, however. Homesickness and missing out on life experiences with your family and close friends can be challenging for some. The need to learn and write in another language—depending on the country chosen—and unexpected culture shock can also take their toll. The question is, could a degree earned overseas be the right choice for you? We spoke to three current and former American students to find out the reasons they went abroad to earn a degree, and whether they would recommend you do it.

MATTHEW KRUGMAN, 18, ORIGINALLY FROM BRECKENRIDGE, COLORADO, IS CURRENTLY EARNING HIS BACHELOR’S DEGREE IN LONDON.

In May, Krugman moved to London, where he began his Baking and Pastry degree program at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu culinary school. Krugman is concurrently earning a business and wine management degree as well.

What was the primary reason you decided to earn your degree overseas?

The primary reason for wanting to attend Le Cordon Bleu was the caliber of education it offers. Generally, LCB London, Paris, and Sydney are considered the top universities in the world for culinary school, and the option to attend a university that cooks for the likes of queens and has taught chefs like Julia Child was an offer I could not pass up.

Another smaller reason for wanting to go overseas is my education would take two years; this would include two culinary degrees and a wine and business degree. To receive this in the United States, I was looking at closer to six years in total, which wasn’t realistic, especially for a field where you have to hop in at a young age.

Have there been any unexpected benefits of earning your degree overseas?

I have found some, including slowly learning different languages. As my school is so diverse—the incoming class had around 90 nationalities—I’ve started to pick up little sayings in different languages as well as able to work on my French and Spanish. Another benefit is that until now, I didn’t realize how much more desirable a person who has studied overseas is for a position back in the States, as I’m already receiving many job offers.

Have there been any drawbacks?

Feeling homesick at times.

Do you feel an international degree makes you more attractive to employers?

I think an international degree makes me more attractive to prospective employers. International schools are seen as a “higher standard” in my field since it’s where culinary generally came from. I think as well you learn so much more just from being in a different country, and that helps a lot in the job field.

EMILIE RONALD, 21, ORIGINALLY FROM BUFFALO, NEW YORK, EARNED A BACHELOR’S DEGREE IN PARIS AND A MASTER’S DEGREE IN LONDON.

In 2011, Ronald began the International and Comparative Politics bachelor’s program at the American University of Paris and earned her BA in three years. She followed that degree up with a master’s in international law from the University of London. She earned the master’s in only a year.

What was the primary reason you decided to earn your degree overseas? . . . .

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