Exchanges in the media
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report yesterday critical of the Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP), saying that the program lacks processes to identify risk and prevent fraud, and does not have proper controls to verify the legitimacy of schools that accept international students. SEVP is responsible for certifying schools to accept international students in academic and vocational programs, as well as managing the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), which assists the Department of Homeland Security in tracking and monitoring certified schools and international students.
Despite his pessimism about the state of U.S. development, political discourse, and public governance, Elliot Gerson, an executive vice president at the Aspen Institute, has at least one reason to feel hope: the ever-increasing number of young Americans who are studying, traveling, and living abroad. Writing in The Atlantic, Gerson argues that all Americans—but especially young Americans—must continue to go outside our borders and “benchmark” against the rest of the world—that is, not only learn about other countries and peoples, but also learn from them in order to make the U.S. stronger:
Study abroad does not necessarily delay the time of graduation, new studies cited by Inside Higher Ed show. While international educators have traditionally tried to quantify the impact of study abroad on international learning outcomes such as “global-mindedness” or foreign language acquisition, they now focus increasingly on the link between study abroad experience, retention, and graduation rates.
As the U.S. is increasingly internationalizing its campuses, more needs to be done to “capture the educational moments in international education,” such as integrating international students on U.S. campuses and encouraging American students to study abroad in less traditional destinations, World Learning President and CEO Adam Weinberg suggests in a recent Huffington Post blog post.
Today’s generation of young adults in their 20s and early 30s is more likely than previous generations to spend time abroad and is “abandoning some of the traditional tenets of the American dream that their parents held dear” to pursue an American dream that goes “beyond U.S. borders,” according to a recent NPR report.
Many international students struggle to form friendships with Americans while studying in the U.S., a new survey cited in the Chronicle of Higher Education found.
Studying abroad provides graduate students with “worlds of marketable skills,” according to a recent article published in the Washington Post’s ExpressNightOut.
The article argues that while “studying abroad can be a transformative experience for any student, … it can have more of an impact on grad students, who are more focused academically.”
Foreign language education, study abroad, and the recruitment of international students to U.S. campuses are strategies vital to the promotion of U.S. national security and economic competitiveness, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates noted last week at the 2012 NAFSA: Association of International Educators Conference in Houston, TX.
The Obama Administration’s strong rhetoric in support of international education and exchange does not always match with reality, and is described by some to be “superficial,” according to an article in yesterday’s Chronicle of Higher Education:
The Department of State issued a new guidance directive this afternoon (available here; direct to PDF here), clarifying the visa status of Chinese teachers at campus-based Confucius Institutes. Specifically, the directive states that Chinese language teachers “sponsored by university or college sponsors who are teaching at primary or secondary schools are not required to depart the United States at the end of this academic year, unless that was their intended date of departure.”