Studying Abroad: Cultural Preference Tops Academics for Gen Z

A research conducted by AFS Intercultural Programs concluded that Generation Z prefers the cultural aspect of studying abroad over considering the quality of education.

Over 5,000 students were surveyed from 27 countries around the world with ages ranging from 13 to 18 years old between March and December 2016.

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According to the study, 67% of the students have shown high value on the cultural experiences that are bound to come while studying abroad compared to the scholastics and education.

Daniel Obst, the president and CEO of AFS expressed that based on the findings, Generation Z students do not only want to travel overseas for the sake of it but actually want to experience what the local people of foreign countries experience. He adds that they are keen on having a ‘global’ status on their identity when compared to older generations.

Of the 67% of culture-yearning students, there are two groups. ‘Cultural hitchhikers’ or those whose primary focus is on cultural experience that does not have high financial resources make up 36% of the respondents. On the other hand, ‘cultural floaters’ or students with high financial resources and who intends to experience other cultures are 31% of the students.

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When broken down by nationality, three-quarters of the students who prefer culture more than academics are European, followed by 57% from Latin America, 58% from Southeast Asia and 72% from North America.

According to a report, Mapping Generation Z: Attitudes toward International Education Programs, AFS discovered that the top destinations of this generation were Anglophone or English-speaking countries to be most considered, achieving a percentage of 77% of students. The countries most preferred were the US, UK and Australia.

Western European countries like Germany, France and Italy faired 65% as favourable countries and China being the least favourable fairing 38% of the Gen Z students.

“These findings paint a picture of large growth potential for the traditionally popular English destinations and set the tone for increasing competitive pressures among them” the report noted.

Concerning security issues, 36% of students expressed their anxiety but after May 2016, the percentage increased to 52% as the terrorist attacks were publicised globally.

Other issues concerning studying abroad were making no friends, followed by homesickness and school re-entry requirements upon returning home, each shared by 48% of students.

None of the respondents had been on an international exchange before this but 60% has considered the possibility.

Hristo Banov, manager of the management information unit at AFS and the study’s lead researcher said that in order to increase the interest of students to study in foreign countries, it is important for information to travel by word of mouth.

He adds that, in today’s environment, ‘genuine, personal referral’ remains unchanged although students listen to experiences from immediate friends and family but also get to see the experiences of others from their extended social media footprint.

USA now home to 1 million international students

While a future count may be uncertain amongst the Trump presidency debacle, the Institute of International Education (IIE)’s Open Doors report portrays a continuing increase in the number of inbound international students.

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A 7% growth during the 2015/2016 years was put out by the Open Doors report, which drew its results from more than 3,000 prestigious higher education institutions in the USA.

China and India, as previewed in previous reports, hold the bulk of inbound international students, with Chinese students accountable for 31.5% of the entire international student population in the USA, with a 8.1% overall increase to a complete 328,547 students. Meanwhile, 24.9% more Indian students were reported to be coming in to the country as compared to the 2014/2015 numbers. Other countries such as Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Canada, among many others are too home to the highest number of foreign students in the USA, although a notable decrease in students was seen from Saudi Arabia and Canada. The biggest decrease in international students, however, was from Brazil, a decrease of 18.2%, which may be linked to the government’s Scientific Mobility Program freeze.

The total student population in the USA is now inclusive of 5% international students overall, who, according to the US Department of Commerce, contributed more than US$35 billion to the economy.

In terms of academic level, while both undergraduate (7%) and postgraduate (6%) students increased in numbers during 2015/2016, the highest increase, of 23% was seen in Optional Practical Training.

Courses pursued by a large part of the international student population were STEM subjects, which may lead to a possible correlation with the rise in students from India as well, seeing as how, as reported by IIE, more than three-quarters of Indian students tend to go into the STEM field. What was also noticeable of students originating from India was the higher number or graduate students (101,800) studying in the USA as compared to undergraduate students (19,300).

Students

On the opposite end, 313,000 USA students were reported to be studying abroad in 2015, a minute 3% increase, with two-thirds of the number belonging to the female gender, and 27% racial or ethnic minorities.

IIE President Allan Goodman, on the surpassing of the 1 million international students mark commented, “The Open Doors findings show that international students value the quality, diversity and strong reputation of US institutions and recognize that these institutions will give them opportunities that can help them not only in their education but also in their careers.”

Survey reveals what potential students look for when deciding on an MBA

A step up from previous years, the rise and potential of entrepreneurship is now one of the top reasons, among several others, as to why students wish to pursue an MBA.

Amidst several reports undermining the value of an MBA and its decline comes the Tomorrow’s MBA study, conducted by CarringtonCrisp and constituting of the voices and opinions of more than a 1000 potential MBA students from 82 countries.

One of the survey’s key findings were the reasons behind students wanting to pursue an MBA, of which the rise in earning potential took priority, while other factors such as employability and the want to be internationally recognised made the list as well. The desire to venture into entrepreneurship too topped the list as the fifth most significant reason, up from 10th place in last year’s survey. The sudden push of this specific topic of interest brings to mind the need for an MBA’s content to be tailored differently so as to support and acquire more students’ interests, that “Given this interest, schools should think about what they teach, career services provided and how they align programmes with this growing demand.”

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With the Kauffman Index of Start-up Activity reporting that 550,000 individuals emerge as entrepreneurs each month in America, it’s an easy task at a glimpse of the entrepreneurship boom in recent years. Several reasons, such as the ease with which ideas can now be brought to life, and a changing and more encouraging economy, entrepreneurs often tend to gain success, walking down such a path.

The survey also detailed several other findings, such as the number of women who are actively considering working towards an MBA, making up to a complete 42% of the total candidate number, the highest to be recorded in previous surveys. Andrew Crisp, owner of CarringtonCrisp, highlights the advance in technology as a vital factor in allowing more women to pursue an MBA, with methods such as online distance learning now easily accessible to the overall population, such as for women “who’ve come out of the labour force for a while – maybe they’ve been having children – to do an MBA without having to sit in a classroom of men who are trying to get into a finance career, with everything that goes with the culture of some of the big finance houses,” says Crisp.

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Following up on this, Crisp additionally remarks that it would be the successful schools who realise that it is integral to market to both potential male and female candidates, keeping in mind the difference in each gender’s perceptions and opinions of what they look for in an MBA and the additional services offered to them. A fine example of this is the difference both genders hold in valuing assistance while in search of an internship, with female candidates ranking at 72% while male candidates ranked at a lower 60%.

The essentiality of career services being part of an MBA course too was present in the findings, with 72% of individuals desiring for help in planning a career which would make them more employable in the near future.

On the topic of what can be called an “MBA 2.0,” –which seeks to be more flexible and look into the changing and growing interests of potential candidates –technology’s advance has been quite a game-changer, with the survey reporting that, as it now stands, more than a quarter of potential candidates prefer flexible or online MBAs, instead of the usual one-year, full-time MBA.

As a final note, Crisp advises schools offering MBAs that “It’s not necessarily the longest running programmes that are going to be the best; it’s going to be the ones that are quickest to adapt, that embrace the new technology, that use it to best effect to deliver a really outstanding online experience.”

Education The Gateway For Growth For Indonesia

A recent World Bank report highlighted that Indonesia is currently facing a developmental crossroad. It has now grown to one the world’s 20 largest economies in the world and aims to be the top 10 largest economies globally by 2030; certainly bold and bodacious goals. Looking at growing major trends and developments not only in Indonesia but also the region – particularly a growing middle class, rapid urbanization, strong growth in the region and an opening up of regional markets in Southeast Asia with the Asian Economic Corridor (AEC) – this has resulted in new challenges as well as strong opportunities for Indonesia, especially in the country’s education sector.

Critical to be competitive

Indonesian female students

The World Bank believes that having a skilled labor force would be crucial to leverage on the country’s existing opportunities. The World Bank further adds,

“Without the right skills, opening up to ASEAN may pose a problem more than an opportunity [whereby] without the right skills or urban migrants, urbanization will not bring about the benefits of scale. [If youths don’t possess the right skills,] the growing demand for higher quality products and services may be met by importing them rather than increasing the value added of Indonesian firms.”

It is clear that for Indonesia future’s success, the country will need to have a serious look at improving its state of education – simplifying access to all levels of education and improved parity of graduate skills to its future labor requirements.

While general unemployment rates in Indonesia has been on a downward trend in recent years (ranging from 6-9& over recent years, and 5.9% in 2014), it is increasingly worrying to note that unemployment rate is highest among high school and higher education graduates (aged between 12 – 24 years old). In fact, the unemployment rate for those aged between 15 – 24 is alarmingly far above the national average. Fresh graduates from high schools, colleges and vocational schools are finding it difficult to secure a job in the national workforce. Read more

Study Reveals Most Popular Online Recruiting Strategies Of US Colleges

The always-insightful consulting and research firm Noel-Levitz is out this year with two new studies that nicely add to the current research on online recruiting practices and the motivations and concerns of prospective international students.

[Originally published on ICEF at http://monitor.icef.com/2014/11/study-reveals-popular-online-recruiting-strategies-us-colleges/ ]

The first, 2014 E-Recruiting Practices Report for Four-Year and Two-Year Institutions, draws on a survey of 258 US colleges and universities to provide a summary of the online recruiting strategies most commonly used among US institutions. A second study, 2014 International E-Expectations Report, surveyed more than 2,400 prospective international students (from 164 countries) in order to map the major preferences, concerns, and requirements of students planning to study in the US.

The two papers, while not explicitly companions of one another, nevertheless make interesting reading when placed side by side. They are both heavily oriented to the US market but many of the insights they provide will be useful to those recruiting or referring students outside of the US as well.

Top recruiting practices

Noel-Levitz asked institutional respondents to indicate which of 28 common e-recruiting practices – other than social media – that they used most frequently. The following table summarises the ten top-ranked options, broken down by type of institution.

Most popular e-recruiting practices by institution type. Source: Noel-Levitz Read more

International Students Reveal the Secrets of International Student Recruitment

Initially published on www.intead.com. In a world of fast-paced activity and seemengly never ending responsibilities, it isn’t always easy to find the time to listen. It’s important to take a break from charting progress, developing novel programs and tools, and talking through brochures, websites, social media and face-to-face. Listening is critical. With that in mind we recently conducted a focus group with international students, many of whom are college freshmen, to take the time to listen to what was important to them in the recruitment process. We learned four key takeaway messages which are outlined below.

Rankings are important.

While rankings continue to be viewed with more importance by some students than others, pretty much everyone in the focus group relied on rankings for guiding the search and decision making processes. US News and World Report holds real value to the students and parents, particularly in China, but there were other ranking systems that the students mentioned. A Canadian international student seemed least influenced by rankings and vocalized her skepticism of what she referred to as a contrived number to judge universities. Her voice was in the minority– students continue to be interested in statistics.

This doesn’t mean that if your institution doesn’t rank highly on the main US News and World Report ranking you will have no chance of recruiting international students. There are countless other rankings reported regularly that you can use to highlight your institution. Furthermore there are many ways to positively spin lesser known rankings in your favor.

Universities should develop a special page for international students.

All of the students mentioned that university websites are cumbersome and overwhelming. A dedicated page for international students with pertinent information would be most helpful for students as they move through the funnel from prospects to enrolling students. We need to make the information easily accessible to our prospective international students. They shouldn’t need to spend hours navigating through cumbersome websites, searching for information.

Universities need to better highlight unique facilities and features.

The students mentioned that many of the most impressive features of the universities they researched weren’t learned from the website or from the university directly. They were exposed to exciting aspects of campuses in a more roundabout way (i.e. College Confidential, other message boards, social media). The students want to learn about unique qualities of various universities, what distinguishes one institution from another, campus traditions, etc. International students want to learn about opportunities to get involved, the area surrounding campus, and special student perks (i.e. bus passes, free public transportation, free/discounted tickets to cultural venues). This content should be available on the university website, not strictly from third party sites.

Universities need to monitor their presence on College Confidential and similar sites.

“Listening” to the conversations among prospective and current students as they pertain to your institution are critical. Maintaining a positive presence on College Confidential is important. This means assigning someone on staff to periodically check what is being written about your institution and then, if necessary, turning the conversation into a positive one.

What Should Educators Be Doing to Tap Into the Indian Market?

Recently we have seen quite a few reports being published on the Indian International student market with various findings giving us more insight about their behavior and preferences while choosing a university. We have summarized the key findings and have discussed ways how Universities and governments could modify their marketing communications and product offerings to rightly target this vast market.

Facts About India:

  • India sends out approximately 800,000 students abroad every year making it 2nd largest country for outbound international students, after China.
  • It could become the fastest growing market for undergraduate students studying abroad as early as 2015.
  • Indian Government plans to increase the rate of college going students to 30% in the next decade and the existing 400 universities in India can only accommodate 12% of that.
  • By 2028 half of India’s population will be under 25.

 

Key Findings Recommended Measures
A recent report by British council reveals that Indian students are keen to study abroad but are extremely cost sensitive and we can expect them to be even more sensitive considering the devaluation of INR.It is estimated that the average cost of study abroad has increased $10,000/year and only 0.4% of Indian families can afford that 

 

 

 

If Asian educators and recruiters play it right, this could mean a huge shift in the landscape.Asian universities could tap this opportunity by increasing the perceived value for money along with the governments taking radical steps to communicate to the Indian students, one clear message, that their countries can offer the same quality education at a much lower cost as compared to Europe, Australia and Americas.Institutions could create more flexible payment methods for international students along with targeted scholarships and bursaries

 

 

The same study reveals that Indian students give a lot of weightage to the host country’s employment policies for international students while studying or once they finish their degree. Last year the number of Indian students in UK decreased by 23% mainly because of the removal of post study employment opportunities.Number of international students in Canada have increased by 23% because the country is perceived to be a great option for permanent migration

 

Educators should be constantly lobbying with their governments to ensure that employment policies for international students should be as lenient as possible along with robust post study visa programmes. Australian educators have been successfully lobbying with policy makers and have managed to relax student employment policies.As a result of these employment friendly policies, Australia has seen a 36% increase in Indian students in the last year.

 

High quality courses and institutions remained by far the greatest pull factor for the students when choosing whether to study at home or abroad.Germany has seen a 19% increase in Indian students because Indian students see Germany as offering world-class education & opportunities in the automotive, engineering, and manufacturing industries

 

 

 

 

Educators need to emphasize more on improving the quality of courses being offered by them along with a focus on using alumni experiences and success stories in their communications.They need to work closely with the private sector to ensure a meaningful internship program along with a functional and effective placement department.This would help build confidence among students and decrease the trust deficit.

 

 

 

 

In the recent past we have seen Malaysia emerging as a popular study destination in Asia with reputed foreign universities opening their branch campuses in the country. Such initiatives by European, Australian, Canadian and North american universities will help them retain cost sensitive Indian students as they can offer similar courses and degrees at much economical costs.

Most Popular Higher Education Courses Among Asian Students

About easyuni.com: easyuni.com is an education portal, which allows students to search, compare and apply to various universities around the world. The portal has over 1800 universities from 22 different countries. Over 1 million students use easyuni.com to choose the right university/college & ensure a better future for themselves. Right now easyuni.com is the most popular educational portal in the South East Asian region enjoying top positions in Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Mauritius, Sri Lanka and Singapore.

Making it easier for international and local students to find the most suitable universities online, ‘easyuni.com’ has emerged as the most popular higher education portal in South East Asia. Since its launch students have spent more than 3,100,000 minutes on this website to find a dream university for themselves. The portal is providing a comprehensive platform to higher education institutions to promote themselves to students from all over the world as the portal attracts students from 202 countries worldwide.

As part of its efforts to empower institutions with valuable insights, easyuni has released data, based on the behaviour of over a million students on its portal, highlighting the most popular subjects with a breakdown of countries. After analyzing this data Education institutes will be able to develop tailored campaigns for each subject targeting different countries. For instance, students from Indonesia are highly interested in Business Management compared to Nigerian students, who see the future in Accounting and Finance-related courses.

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The portal is gaining massive popularity in countries like Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Singapore, Australia, Brunei along with Malaysia. easyuni.com, not only provides information about universities and courses but also provides advice about various related topics like cost of living, visa requirements, university rankings, employment opportunities, scholarships, tips on enhancing student life, student accommodation and student reviews.