Where and Why Do International Students Study in the United States?

International students

The United States is the most popular destination country for international students. During the 2013-2014 school year, the U.S. hosted 886,052 international undergraduate and graduate students. Students from other countries choose to study in the U.S. for a number of reasons, including the opportunity to enhance career opportunities and to gain experience for future employment, the reputation of academic qualifications and degrees from the U.S., and the ability to find a specific program in their area of specialization at a U.S. university.

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Venezuelan International Education Payments: CENCOEX

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If you’re a student from Venezuela trying to study outside of the country, then you’re most likely familiar with the difficulties of obtaining foreign currency from the Venezuelan government branch responsible for approving funds for education payments, CENCOEX (previously known as CADIVI). peerTransfer has successfully processed hundreds of payments from Venezuela, and we know the process can be difficult and lengthy. Despite changes and uncertainty regarding CENCOEX, we will continue to process payments from Venezuela and provide assistance whenever possible.

Due to the recent political and financial instability in Venezuela, the government is struggling to manage its sovereign debt, making it harder to obtain foreign currency. CENCOEX was created to replace CADIVI in the wake of allegations that funds were being illegally moved outside the country. In its strict efforts to reduce any potential illegal activity, CENCOEX is now denying many currency disbursement applications, including those for education abroad. Only certain studies considered “vital to Venezuela’s future” will be funded, and the Ministry of Higher Education is trying to keep students in the country to attend university. Therefore, students will mostly be authorized only in very specialized academic areas that are not offered in the country (source: The PIE News).

According to education officials in the U.S. that work with international students from Venezuela, this is the first time there has been a mass refusal to grant the Venezuelan currency for students. During the first week of October, CENCOEX emailed notices of denied application to thousands of international students all over the world, citing “Article 8 Ruling No. 116,” which states that “the granting of the authorization is subject to availability by the Banco Central de Venezuela (Central Bank of Venezuela) identified by the National Executive Decree 2320”. The government does not see international students as a priority at the moment because the country does not have enough foreign currency (USD, GBP, etc.) at the moment and will be using available funds to purchase necessities like food and medicine. Even students whose applications were approved have to wait for funds, depending on the availability of foreign exchange by the Central Bank of Venezuela.

Schools are understandably concerned that students won’t receive funding in time to begin their courses. There have been delays of up to four months for some students waiting to begin their courses and of students already overseas having to cut courses short because funds were not received in time. To lessen the delay as much as possible, students should enroll at least five months before their course starts in order to have time to apply for their visa and wait for CENCOEX. Students should contact the school to which they’re applying because some institutions have begun making temporary exceptions to their pre-course payment policies in the case of Venezuelan students.

There is still a great deal of uncertainty and few to no answers. Some Venezuelan students have taken their cause to the Internet, creating online crowdfunding campaigns requesting help to fund their education outside of the country. As the situation becomes clearer, peerTransfer is here to support both our educational clients and their students. We continue to process payments from Venezuela, and our Customer Support team is always ready and available to answer any questions that Venezuelan students may have regarding making payments to their school.

Other informational resources:
http://blog.peertransfer.com/2012/12/03/cadivi-well-help-make-it-easy/
http://thepienews.com/analysis/venezuela-what-are-the-roadblocks-to-outbound-study/
http://prodavinci.com/2014/10/17/actualidad/que-esta-pasando-con-los-dolares-para-los-estudiantes-por-nicolle-yapur/ (in Spanish)
http://www.elsiglo.com.ve/article/92494/Revisan-casos-de-estudiantes-en-el-exterior-que-no-reciben-divisas (in Spanish)

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Celebrating International Education Week 2014

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If you’re studying in another country, have done so in the past, or have classmates and friends from other parts of the world, then you’re benefiting from international education and exchange. As the world has become more connected and education in other countries more accessible, students are leaving home in pursuit of education not only outside their city, but beyond their country’s borders.

There are currently millions of students studying abroad and taking advantage of all the benefits the international education has to offer. These students will become the future leaders across all industries, disciplines, and opportunities and will be better prepared for the challenge due to their international educational experiences. Check out the top destination countries for students in higher education below!

Destination country

Total number of students

1

US

886,000

2

UK

427,686

3

France

271,399

4

Australia

249,588

5

Germany

206,986

6

Russia

173,627

7

Japan

150,617

8

Canada

120,960

9

China

88,979

10

Italy

77,732

Sources: http://www.uis.unesco.org/Education/Pages/tertiary-education.aspx and http://www.iie.org/Research-and-Publications/Open-Doors/Data/International-Students

Next week is International Education Week (IEW), which is celebrated in multiple countries around the world. International Education Week is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to provide “an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This joint initiative is part of our efforts to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States.”

All types of organizations such as schools, colleges and universities, embassies, international organizations, businesses, and community organizations are encouraged to participate in IEW. Many universities will host events during IEW that are open to the whole school community. To see if your school is hosting an event, check this page.

Here are what some of our current clients are doing during International Education Week:

Murray State University

  • Murray State’s theme for this year is “Understanding One Another: A Global Endeavor”.

  • Session where you can learn the traditional Japanese aizome (tie-dyeing)

  • Trivia night with questions from around the world

University of Missouri

  • Short film screening and discussion

  • Study abroad slideshow and Study Abroad Photo Contest awards

  • Presentation on “Growing Global: Preparing for a Cross-cultural Career”

Lock Haven University

  • “Maori People of New Zealand”: Come experience Maori culture through storytelling, rituals, dance, and song. The presentation will begin with a traditional greeting by Maori dances, followed by a brief history of the Maori people, song, and demonstrations.

University of Buffalo

  • International Fashion Show

  • How to Write Your Name in Cantonese

University of Bridgeport

  • International Talent & Fashion Show

University of Regina (Canada)

  • International Photo Contest

  • International Coffee Break each morning during the week

If you’re looking for events happening at your school in the UK, check here: https://schoolsonline.britishcouncil.org/content/international-education-week-iew-2014

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Spring Internship: Making the Most of your College Experience

career fair

For college students who want to complete an internship, you might be putting off the search for this summer. But have you considered doing an internship during the spring term? It’s never too late (or too early) to start looking or getting that “real world” experience, especially if you’re graduating next semester. Employers may be likely to hire you for a summer internship or a full-time position after graduation, so spring can be a great time to get your foot in the door.

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How to Stay Healthy at College

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Whether you’re an incoming first-year student, departing for an exchange program, or still haven’t shed that “freshman 15”, there are general health and fitness guidelines that all students can try to follow. If this is the first time you’ll be living on your own – especially in a new country – maintaining or improving your health can pose a challenge. But with the following advice, a good support system, and setting your own personal goals, you can keep your both your body and mind healthy as you tackle the ups and downs of college.

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Taking Online Classes as an International Student

online classes

With the world becoming an even more digitally connected place, online classes and programs have become quite popular. In fall 2011, more than 6.7 million students took an online course at a U.S. institution, which was an all-time high. For international students, distance learning can be an especially attractive option because they don’t need to physically be in the country of the institution but can still achieve a top-notch education. If the school is in the United States, the UK, or Australia, students can avoid the high costs of living in these countries. For students who have families, a full-time job, or other similar commitments, online education provides them the opportunity to take classes at their own pace.

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A Basic Guide to Greek Life for International Students

fraternity

Greek life – fraternities and sororities – may not be an integral part of every university in the United States, but it is definitely a uniquely American concept and institution. Fraternities and sororities, which make up Greek life, probably seem very foreign to international students – and some domestic students. Before you decide against it too quickly or jump into it and end up regretting it, you should at least know the basics.

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How to Get Through a Group Project

students

If you’re going to college, it’s inevitable that you’ll be placed in a group project at least once. Many people cringe when their instructor speaks the words, anticipating the awkwardness of working with classmates, tense situations, and knowing that there will be at least one person who does nothing to contribute. However, if you have the right tools, the right attitude, and make the most of the situation, you can not only survive but thrive in your group project.

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Safety Tips for College Students

campus safety 1

Safety is one of the five most important factors for international students when considering where to study abroad. Most university campuses and their surroundings are quite safe, especially in the United States. Campus safety is a priority, and many schools even have their own security staff or campus police. But students will undoubtedly stray from their university environment to explore neighboring communities, cities, and even countries, which is a large part of their study abroad experience.

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How to Tip in the UK

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Are you an international student in the UK? If so, you need to learn about one of the touchiest subjects in the history of cultural customs.

Tipping.

Tipping etiquette in the UK is similar to the rest of Europe, partially because of the way the service industry works. As mentioned in our previous post about how to tip in the United States, the federal minimum wage in the U.S. for tipped employees like bartenders and waitresses is just $2.13/hour, or about £1.31. By contrast, all staff in the UK over 21 must be paid at least the National Minimum Wage (£6.50/hr starting October 1) whether they receive tips or not. Therefore, the need and culture for tipping is much less than in the U.S or Canada. So when and where should you tip in the UK?

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