ELS opens first european centre
Global provider ELS Education Services has opened its first centre in Europe, providing its English for Academic Purposes pathway programme at the Skema Business School Sophia Antipolis campus near Nice, France.
“France’s business schools are amongst the leaders in global management rankings for their practical and relevant approach to business education, and none more so than Skema,” said Mark Harris, President and Chief Executive Officer of ELS Education Services. “As such, we are especially proud of our first ELS International Pathway Centre in the EU, to recruit and prepare international students from around the globe, enabling their success as students at Skema.”
ELS students will have access to all the facilities and services offered at the Skema campus, which is located in a technology park on the French Riviera. Accommodation options include a Skema residence and apartments nearby, with most students living in the coastal towns of Antibes or Juan les Pins.
The EAP programme features classes focused on communication competency, vocabulary enrichment and reading and writing skills, and also seeks to foster enhanced academic skills for further study.
Skema Business School offers a choice of five Bachelor’s and 16 Master’s of Science programmes, taught entirely in English. Bachelor’s degree students have the option to study at up to three different campuses in three different countries (France, USA and China), as well as a choice of transferring to selected partner institutions for the final two years of a degree.
“At Skema, we aim to educate the most talented individuals 21st century businesses require,” said Alice Guilhon, Dean of Skema Business School. “Since English is becoming the lingua franca of international business, the relationship with ELS is of special significance for our students, helping them achieve success in their studies and postgraduate careers.”
Established over 50 years ago, ELS now has 69 campus-based locations in the USA, Canada, Australia, China and Malaysia.
Delays in Malaysia’s new visa system
Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS), the agency tasked with streamlining visa applications for international students in Malaysia, as well as promoting the country as a study destination, has admitted teething problems in vetting processes.
Since operations began in February, approximately 60 per cent of international student visa applications received have not been completed within the stipulated 14-day timeframe.
Acknowledging delays, EMGS Chief Executive Officer, Yazid Hamid, cited a number of factors that had contributed to the visa backlog including a lack of personnel, especially within the Immigration Department in Putrajaya (which is 25 kilometres south of Kuala Lumpur), incomplete paperwork and outstanding documentation.
However, Hamid added that the agency was now improving the system. “We’re working things out. We’re handing over a lot of applications to the Immigration Department but the output is not consistent. We need to bridge the gap and ensure that there is consistency in the number of applications submitted and those approved or declined.”
UBC launches new international college
The University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada, has launched a new college for first-year international students, with a first cohort of 300 students expected in September 2014, before growing to a capacity of 1,000 students.
Designed for recent high school graduates in countries with school systems significantly different to Canada’s, UBC Vantage College will provide a 12-month programme of English language and academic study, before successful students advance onto the second year of a UBC degree course.
Through one stream in arts (Global Citizenship) and two streams in science (Computational Sciences or Physical Sciences), international programme students will complete a minimum 24 credits of coursework.
UBC Vantage College students will live on campus in student residences together with students from other undergraduate programmes, and will have full access to all the UBC campus facilities. A purpose-built academic and housing infrastructure is planned to open in 2016.
“International students bring the world to UBC and this benefits all of our students,” said UBC President Stephen Toope. “This new initiative will reach out to outstanding students from countries like Vietnam, Russia, Brazil and Indonesia students who bring different perspectives and experiences to campus. This diversity is one of the reasons why so many BC and Canadian students choose UBC.”
BCCIE hosts seminar and awards
Over 260 delegates from around the world gathered for the British Columbia Council for International Education’s (BCCIE) fourth summer seminar, which concluded with the presentation of the 2013 International Education Awards.
The event, held in Whistler, was an opportunity for international education professionals from BC and beyond to engage on current issues and trends in an industry that is the province’s fifth largest export sector, according to BCCIE. Conference delegates and presenters were welcomed from China, Japan, India, Korea, the UK, Switzerland, Germany and the USA.
The theme for 2013 was Re-imaging the International Narrative. Dr Randall Martin, Executive Director of BCCIE, said, “We do not interact with the world in a vacuum; international engagement is both global and local and is infinitely interconnected. An examination and appreciation of the context for what we do, why and how we do it, is imperative.”
The awards ceremony concluded the event and was dedicated to the late Dr Wesley J. Koczka of Thompson Rivers University (TRU), who was also posthumously awarded with the International Education Lifetime Achievement Award.
Winners on the evening included: Capilano University and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Northwestern Switzerland; Douglas College; Mike Henniger, International Marketing Director at TRU; Brad Booker, District Vice Principal of School District #59 (Peace River South); and Catherine Vertesi, Vice President, International Programs, External Relations and New Initiatives, Capilano University.
Australian survey reveals accommodation satisfaction
Eighty-four per cent of international higher education students in Australia were satisfied with the quality of accommodation in 2012, although only 51 per cent were satisfied with the cost, according to a report released by Australian Education International (AEI).
The report, International higher education student satisfaction with accommodation in Australia, is the expanded findings of accommodation-based research from the previously released International Student Survey 2012 (see STM, July 2013, page 8).
The survey, completed by 37,115 overseas students from universities, found that 20.3 per cent lived with family or friends, 11 per cent in on-campus accommodation, and 3.7 per cent lived with a host family, with the majority 65 per cent living in “other” kinds of off-campus accommodation.
Overall, 19 per cent of students were very satisfied with their accommodation, and 65.4 per cent were satisfied, while 13 per cent were dissatisfied and 2.6 per cent were very dissatisfied. In terms of nationality breakdown, students from Singapore had the highest satisfaction rates at 89.3 per cent, while Korean students were the least content, with 17.5 per cent dissatisfied.
In terms of access to accommodation, 85.2 per cent were satisfied. Meanwhile, only 22.6 per cent of students had used the services of their university accommodation office.
Costs proved to be the least satisfactory element of the living experience, with only 51.1 per cent satisfied. Internet access was flagged as another potential area for improvement, with only 76.7 per cent satisfied, compared with the global International Student Barometer 2011 benchmark of 82 per cent. However, security proved to be the most satisfying factor, with 93.8 per cent of respondents rating their place to stay as safe.
In the conclusion, AEI said, “The cost of accommodation remains the most pressing issue, as it does for other countries; however, the Australian government, state and territory governments and providers continue to make efforts to address the cost of accommodation.”
did Augsburg becomes year-round centre
German language provider did deutsch-institut has announced that its junior centre in Augsburg has become a year-round junior school.
The winter course (available through January) and summer programme (offered mid-June to late August) will be taught with a maximum of 15 students per class. At other times of the year, the season course will offer a more intensive period of study with class sizes limited to five students. Courses are available for students aged 14-to-17 at all levels, and from two weeks to 48 weeks in duration, starting every Monday.
The Augsburg centre will also be offering high school placements in German schools for international students, and acting as a preparation centre for junior students that need to improve language skills before they enrol on the school placement, which has a minimum B2 German language level requirement.
News in brief
UK international student packs
Educational consultancy and guardianship organisation James-Lee Consultancy has joined forces with UK Work Study to offer its students access to the UK Study Pack, which includes guidance and forms for opening a bank account, a pre-paid MasterCard cash card and a UK telephone number. Meanwhile, a new International Students Pack including a UK debit card, a SIM card with credit, a London travel oyster card and UK shop vouchers has been launched by International Students Link.
Chicago Booth to open Hong Kong campus
The University of Chicago Booth School of Business has announced its Asia Executive MBA programme will be relocated from Singapore to Hong Kong, with classes commencing from 2014. “Asia is a critical region to University of Chicago faculty, students and alumni and the university brings its distinctive intellectual approach to the region in many ways,” said University of Chicago President, Robert J. Zimmer. “By establishing programming in Hong Kong, Chicago Booth takes an important step in this growing engagement.”
Japan’s Kansai region promotes job chances
Businesses, universities and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in Japan’s Kansai region covering the major cities of Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe in the west of the country have joined forces to establish a management council for the employment of global manpower, aiming to increase job availability to overseas students by 30 per cent in 2014.
Bacolod reports rise in overseas students
The number of study permits issued to international students for study in Bacolod City in the Philippines in the first six months of this year increased 20.9 per cent to 1,567, compared with the same period last year, according to a local government announcement. Meanwhile, the national Immigration Minister has warned unaccredited schools of the potential sanctions if they accept overseas students, following a reported increase in the numbers of undocumented foreigners in the country.
International students on rise in Norway
The number of international students at Norway’s colleges and universities has tripled in the last five years, according to a report by the Nordic Institute for Studies and Innovation, Research and Education. Last year, Norway, which offers several English-taught programmes and is one of the few remaining nations to offer free higher education regardless of nationality has 1,631 Swedish students, 1,500 from Russia, 1,397 German students and 1,036 from China.
France courts Indian students
The French Ambassador to India, François Richier, has announced targeted policies to attract more higher education students from India: any Indian citizens that have graduated from a French higher education institution and are subsequently applying for a tourist or business visa will be granted a visa with a long period of validity up to five years for postgraduate students.Meanwhile, the embassy will give special attention to students living far from any French consulate or Campus France office to expedite procedures. Furthermore, the embassy is establishing a France-India Job Opportunities network in order to promote opportunities for students educated in France. In 2012, almost 2,600 Indian students headed to France for higher education courses, a 50 per cent increase over five years ago, according to the embassy.
Air India launched direct flights from New Delhi to both Sydney and Melbourne at the end of last month, with backing from the Australian authorities. “Since 2008, visitor numbers from India to New South Wales (NSW) have increased by over a third with holidaymakers, international students and those visiting their friends and families making Sydney and NSW their destination,” commented George Souris, NSW’s Minister for Tourism and Major Events. Meanwhile, Sydney Airport’s CEO, Kerrie Mather, added, “With more than 217,000 people of Indian descent living in Sydney alone, India is one of our largest unserved markets.” The triangulated route will fly to Sydney four days a week and to Melbourne on the other three days. At the time of writing, the service was due to start on August 29.
Philippine Airlines (Pal) is now free to serve destinations within the European Union (EU) following the lifting of restrictions. The EU banned Philippine carriers from flying to the continent in 2010 due to safety concerns, but the decision was revoked in July due to improved safety measures and compliance with regulations. The ban for other Filipino airlines, including Cebu Pacific, is still in place, however. Ramons Ang, President and Chief Operating Officer of Pal, said, “This welcome development signals the westward expansion of our international route network as we prepare for the much awaited return of Pal to such popular European destinations as London, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Rome and Madrid.” The carrier is hoping to begin such routes as early as this month or October.
Passengers using Swiss, Switzerland’s national airline, now pay less if they do not have check-in baggage when flying to or from Geneva. Effective from September 1, this offer is available on all flights to and from the city, with the exception of flights to Barcelona in Spain and St Petersburg and Moscow, Russia.
Air China has commenced a new service to the Texan city of Houston now the fourth US destination the airline serves. The four-time weekly service will fly non-stop between Beijing Capital International Airport and Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport. “As the only airline that provides a direct connection between Houston and the south central region of the United States via Beijing, we are honoured to be the cultural, social and economic bridge between the two destinations,” said Yinwiang Wang, Co-chair of Air China. Houston becomes Air China’s fifth gateway in North America, following Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Vancouver.
The UK budget carrier Easyjet will introduce a new Gatwick to Bucharest route in October, as one of five new routes for the winter season. The service to the Romanian capital will operate four-times-weekly. “Easyjet currently doesn’t fly to Bucharest from any other UK base, so we are hugely excited to be in a position to launch it,” said Paul Simmons, UK Director of the airline. “Romania has been repeatedly suggested [by customers].” The other newly introduced routes include a weekly service from Manchester, UK, to Lyon, France; a twice-weekly flight from Liverpool, UK, to Larnaca, Cyprus; a four-times weekly route from London, UK, to Venice, Italy; and a twice-weekly service from Newcastle, UK, to Tenerife, Spain.
Germany’s Air Berlin and Virgin Australia have started a codeshare agreement on a number of services. Air Berlin’s Berlin-Abu Dhabi (UAE)-Sydney (Australia) connections will increase from four-times weekly to daily, while the Sydney to Dusseldorf service will fly twice daily. “The new codeshare agreement will provide our flight guests with even better access to key parts of Australia,” said Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, Air Berlin CEO. Air Berlin will place its flight code on six Australian destinations served by Virgin Australia: Adelaide, Ayers Rock, Cairns, Darwin, Gold Coast and Perth, as well as on non-stop flights from Abu Dhabi, UAE, to Sydney, Australia, and from Phuket, Thailand, to Perth. Flights from Berlin and Dusseldorf (Germany) to Abu Dhabi will carry Virgin Australia’s code.