By Clare O’Brien Greetings from Boston, a city renowned for being the epicenter of American history and a preeminent higher education location where tens of thousands of international students choose to study. I look forward to sharing fun facts, must-sees, and must-eats in and around this vibrant and multifaceted city in the coming months as you prepare for your stay in Boston for the NAFSA 2015 Annual Conference & Expo . Conference Location: Downtown Boston You are certain to fall in love with Boston, whether you are a sports fanatic; enjoy art and theater; or just want the opportunity to walk and admire the history, beautiful architecture, and greenery. The conference will take place at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center , located close to the waterfront and the famous Boston Harbor. You will find amazing restaurants, museums, and historical landmarks just a short walk from the convention center. For those who are looking to explore beyond, the city is split up into several locales, including the Back Bay, the Financial District, Downtown Crossing, the North End, and Beacon Hill, to name a few. This layout is only enhanced by the hundreds of thousands of college students who have made Boston their home away from home. The nightlife and cultural pace of the city reflect this. With the use of the “T,” Boston’s subway system, you will find it easy to get from one place to another if you are not up for walking. Many of you will choose to stay in hotels located in the Back Bay, where the shopping and dining opportunities are endless! Historical Boston Boston was founded in 1630 by Puritan settlers with a charter from England and quickly became the capital of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1765 the Stamp Act caused things to heat up between the colonists and the British. Five years later, the “Boston Massacre,” which many historians consider to be the first battle of the American Revolutionary War, occurred in front of the city’s Old Statehouse. This unrest grew and eventually led to the Boston Tea Party in 1773 where Bostonians dumped tea into Boston Harbor to protest Britain’s unfair taxation policies. The events occurring in Boston and its environs eventually led to the official beginning of the Revolutionary War in 1775. The city doubled in size in the late 1800s when mudflats were created from nearby hills. The growth and innovation continues today, driven by the large number of institutions of higher education, world-class medical facilities, and a strong presence in industries such as financial services and software. Getting Here Most people will fly into Logan International Airport where there are nonstop flights to all major U.S. and international cities. When you arrive you can use public transportation and take the Silver Line bus directly to the World Trade Center stop. Take a left onto World Trade Center Avenue and the convention center is right in front of you. If you are driving, the convention center is about a 10-minute drive from the airport. New England Weather The weather in May offers blooming flowers in the numerous gardens throughout the city, but don’t forget a jacket and umbrella since even flowers need their moisture! Temperatures typically range between 55 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the dates of the conference. Reminders Registration for the NAFSA 2015 Annual Conference & Expo opens March 2, 2015, at 12:00 p.m. (EST). In order to apply the early-bird discount, NAFSA must receive your registration form by April 17, 2015. Registrations received after that date will be processed at the regular rate. All hotel reservations must be made directly with the NAFSA 2015 Housing Bureau. All conference hotels offer nonsmoking rooms and suites are available. Visit www.nafsa.org/ac15housing to book your hotel beginning March 2, 2015. Have you “liked” NAFSA on Facebook? Get connected! Go to www.facebook.com/nafsa . Clare O’Brien is the Local Arrangements Team (LAT) communications chair for the NAFSA 2015 Annual Conference & Expo. Originally from Buffalo, New York, Clare has lived in the Boston area for more than 20 years. She spent close to 10 years overseeing international student advising and study abroad at Fitchburg State University in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, and worked as an international educator in Wisconsin, New York, and Massachusetts while she earned both her master’s and doctorate degrees. Clare currently works part-time as an international education consultant where she has assisted several local universities and third-party providers. She is also coediting an anthology of short stories titled From Bangkok to Boston: Inspiring Stories of Travel and Adventure from International Educators .

[via NAFSA: Association of International Educators Blog]

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With new tools providing greater understanding of the motives for student mobility and what drives students to seek out educational experiences abroad, international education professionals now have the unique opportunity to better anticipate where the next educational destination will be. To help uncover what 2015 holds for the student travel market, NAFSA invited Atle Skalleberg, CEO of StudentUniverse , a technology company that empowers students and youth to travel, to share his company’s insight on what their data is telling them about trends to expect in the coming months. What growth do you expect in the student travel market in 2015? What will be the largest driver fueling the growth? Student travelers are critical stakeholders in the tourism industry and are sometimes overlooked as airlines focus on current business travelers. In reality, students make up 20 percent of all arrivals in the travel industry today. By 2020, more than 300 million student-related arrivals are expected, a number that will represent a quarter of total tourism. By the same time, 50 percent of all business travelers are expected to be millennials. One of the key drivers fueling the growth of student travel is international specialty travel. Education travel leads the pack, and we see new markets coming online as well as continued growth from emerging markets such as China and Brazil. These students also travel a substantial amount within their destination country. We also believe international leisure travel will continue to grow this year as students go farther than ever before. How will student travel patterns and destinations change this year? What we have found is that what used to be considered adventurous is now becoming the norm for student travelers. Patterns have changed over the last decade, and they will continue to do so this year. Students are not only going farther but also changing their main reason for travel. Where visiting landmarks used to drive decisions, experiences have overtaken as the primary factor. Activities such as backpacking in Asia, extreme sports in Australia, and volunteering in South America are increasingly becoming commonplace. Additionally, students are making a kind of temporary home within the culture they choose to experience. Students are increasing their average length of stay, spending more time and money in their new country, and are more likely to return in the future. They are crossing borders for language immersion and engaging in jobs and internships while abroad. Based on our booking data, new “breakout” travel destinations for students include Buenos Aires, Argentina; San Jose, Costa Rica; Istanbul, Turkey; Budapest, Hungary; and Cape Town, South Africa. Is there a strong correlation between student debt and student travel budgets? More than 40 million U.S. citizens hold student debt. Since the dot-com-bubble days, the average student debt has more than quadrupled. Needless to say, salaries have not. As the total cost of college continues to increase, debt will follow. According to several consumer expenditure studies, student loan payments are now greater than many other spending categories, such as entertainment and apparel. College, when financed correctly, is certainly a phenomenal investment in future earnings. Too many students will graduate with a level of debt that might impact their discretionary spending patterns down the line, and therefore the travel industry. That said, we have not seen a negative impact on student travel budgets so far. Universities and families understand the value of travel and see it as a crucial part of education. Recently, we have seen several currencies weaken against the U.S. dollar. Should this continue, we believe this might adversely affect the appetite for incoming U.S. tourism and further fuel the trends previously described for U.S. students. Why go to a national beach for spring break if you can go abroad and get 20 percent more for your dollar? International markets, such as the Chinese, Korean, Indian, and Brazilian markets, still have fundamentally different financial dynamics. We believe we will continue to see very healthy growth in and from these markets. What changes, if any, do you expect study abroad programs to have on student travel next year? We hope that more U.S. students will study abroad. We believe that we will continue to see very healthy growth in students from emerging markets. One of the benefits of studying abroad is that nearly half of those who have studied abroad engaged in international work or volunteerism after their studies were over. They also travel significantly within the country, fueling local economies. Study abroad is often when young travelers catch the “travel bug” that also ignites more frequent leisure travel during their student and adult years. What will be very interesting in 2015 will be to see what change the new U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has on the awareness and frequency of students studying abroad and the locations they travel to. Currently, 65 percent of American students who study abroad study in Europe. Although we are seeing travel to Asia and Latin America pick up, we would love to see it move even faster. The purpose of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is to encourage more students to study abroad, provide information about the grants that are available for students to study abroad, and encourage travel to new destinations, including Southeast Asia, Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa. We are very pleased to see this initiative go live, as we fundamentally believe travel should be part of any modern education.

[via NAFSA: Association of International Educators Blog]

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So just another quick update! Its been raining like crazy the past two days and we were supposed to go into town yesterday but the access road got washed out and lost power so we were stuck here. We decided to just play volleyball for six hours in the rain. Today we also learned how to use this program that is an online dichotomous key for plants which was really useful because it is so much faster than using the books. Some of the animals we’ve seen so far, cockatoo (a lot), honeyeater, some kind of monitor looking lizard, pythons, brush turkeys, cain toads, bandicoots. There are a few others but those are the only ones I can think of off the top of my head. We also saw this really cool beetle that looked like a rhinocerous beetle and there are a ridiculous amount of cicadas here. Tomorrow we’re going to visit an aboriginal tribe and possibly camp out with them if the weather isn’t very bad. It should be a lot of fun!

[via Who’s Abroad!]

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So I don’t know if I’ve told you yet but I’ve started to take my classes here. I’ve got rainforest ecology with this german lady named Siggy, Environmental Policy and socioeconomics with a Kenyan-Australian named Justus, and Resource Management with and native Queenslander named Catherine. It’s interesting to see the diversity that Australia has when it comes to it’s people.   Yesterday we were divided into groups and each group went to a different town. My group went to an old mining town that was established in the 1880s and we talked to the locals about how they feel about the rainforest and conservation. Today we took a trip to some different geological spots to see crater lakes, some VERY old volcanoes, and just investigate some of the areas that had sedimentary rock that had been forced into ancient mountain ranges by tectonic forces. It’s been pretty fun so far and I’ve learned a lot!! Can’t wait to be able to send some pictures home!

[via Who’s Abroad!]

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The University Grants Commission (UGC) of India is inviting applications from eligible & interested Indian students for undergraduate, postgraduate, M.Phil/Ph.D and postdoctoral studies in the European country, Hungary.

[via International – IndiaEduNews.net]

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The 9th edition the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (OALD) , now accepts and recognises “Indian English” words such as ” timepass ” (action or fact of passing the time, typically in an aimless or unproductive way) and ” jugaad ” (a low-cost solution.)

[via International – IndiaEduNews.net]

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Canadian-American mathematician of Indian origin, Manjul Bhargava who won the prestigious Fields Medal (considered to be the Nobel Prize of Mathematics), has agreed to teach in Indian universities

[via International – IndiaEduNews.net]

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By Ivor Emmanuel Through my many connections with NAFSA colleagues spanning over 30 years, I have come to appreciate the deep sense of meaning and commitment that so many international education professionals have brought to our profession. Through countless hours they have given of themselves, not only on their campus, but also to the association and our field at large. They have attended committee meetings, organized workshops, delivered presentations, held leadership posts, mentored colleagues, engaged in advocacy and the list goes on. I personally have benefited from some of our finest leaders through all that I have learned from them. They have shaped our association and the nature of our work. A few have already been honored for their contributions. Many still toil quietly in the background. Their recognition will come one day…or perhaps now it is time! Do you know someone whom you admire in a similar way? Someone you may recognize as having shaped our profession at the local and national level. Perhaps they are a trusted mentor or a long-time colleague about to retire. Are there outstanding young professionals who are in the early trajectory of their careers and you see a bright future for them in the field of international education? Take this opportunity to nominate them today for a NAFSA national award! Don’t wait for tomorrow or next week or the week after. You may not get to it! Nominate a deserving colleague for this honor. Learn more about the NAFSA National Awards Program , including the new Rising Star Young Professional Award . Go ahead! Demonstrate your own appreciation and gratitude to those who have served and have taught us the tools of our trade, and thank you so much for taking time to recognize your colleagues! The NAFSA Awards Sub-Committee comprising John Greisberger, Kathy Sideli, Kay Thomas, Rosemary Valencia, and myself look forward to reviewing your nominations for this year’s Leadership Awards. Act now! The deadline is February 13, 2015. Ivor Emmanuel Director Berkeley International Office University of California, Berkeley Chair, NAFSA Awards Sub-Committee

[via NAFSA: Association of International Educators Blog]

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By Jodi Simek In October 2014, I participated in the prestigious Baden-Württemberg (BW) seminar in Germany, which has proven to be one of the most beneficial professional development experiences in my career. For those unfamiliar with the Baden-Württemberg seminar, it is a weeklong training program sponsored by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science, Research, and Arts in the German state of Baden-Württemberg. In cooperation with the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) and NAFSA, the ministry invites 15 international educators and registrars from throughout the United States to learn about the education system in Baden-Württemberg. While at the BW seminar, our group visited a number of German universities where we discussed a wide variety of approaches to higher education with German advisers, directors, and coordinators. We were also able to meet both German and American students, visit facilities, and learn about the institutions. Each day we were escorted to our site visit by members of the international office at Heidelberg University to gain an understanding of how their international office is organized. For example, one of my responsibilities at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, is working with the Brazilian Scientific Mobility Program (BSMP), so it was really neat to talk to the staff at Heidelberg that also work with BSMP. One visit that was especially interesting to me was to the Duale Hochschule , or “cooperative education,” a program where students study with sponsorship from a company. Every 3 months the students switch between working at the company and studying at the Duale Hochschule . After 3 years, the student earns a bachelor’s degree in his or her major and has 3 years of applicable work experience. I was impressed that the program allows students to apply knowledge throughout their educational experience while also earning a salary. Another reason why my participation in the seminar was so enriching was the knowledge and companionship of the amazing colleagues in my cohort. Our cohort included professionals across the country, such as registrars; university system administrators; study abroad and international student services professionals; directors; and a vice provost. Within the context of the BW educational system, I was able to have a deeper understanding of what we learned because of the variety of expertise presented in my cohort. In addition, they were a heck of a lot of fun to spend a week with! Though the focus of the seminar was learning about the German educational system by visiting local universities and schools, there were also many opportunities to learn about our host city and region. We lived in the beautiful and historic city of Heidelberg for the week, and enjoyed exploring the old town and tasting traditional German cuisine. Our hosts made sure we had the opportunity to visit some local landmarks, such as the Heidelberg castle and the Maulbronn Monastery, a UNESCO world heritage site. I am incredibly fortunate that another NAFSA member pointed me toward the Baden-Württemberg seminar. Without his encouragement, I would not have applied and had this amazing, career-changing experience. I hope that other NAFSA members will consider taking advantage of this incredible opportunity to develop professionally and personally. I am especially grateful for the generosity of the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science, Research, and Arts, which covered our expenses during the seminar. You can learn more about the Baden-Württemberg seminar at the NAFSA website . Jodi Simek is senior international adviser at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Center for International Education.

[via NAFSA: Association of International Educators Blog]

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By Qianlei Li President Barack Obama recently announced that the United States and China will increase the validity of student and exchange visitor visas from 1 to 5 years, and the validity of short-term tourist and business visas from 1 to 10 years. This is really great news and I’m glad to share why this agreement is important from a student perspective. To begin with, it saves time, money, and energy for Chinese students studying in the United States. Previously, Chinese students applying for an F-1 visa were only granted an entry visa that was valid for a year. If our visa expired and if we planned to travel outside the United States (perhaps for an internship or study opportunity, or to visit family back home for the holidays), we needed to renew our visa annually, outside of the United States, either in China, Mexico, or Canada, before returning to continue our studies. Because it’s difficult to figure out the visa renewal process in Mexico without having a strong command of Spanish, and also this year, Canada temporarily suspended processing of all non-Canadian visa applications, we have to go back to China and start the visa application all over again, including paying the $160 visa application fee and waiting hours outside of a U.S. consulate for an interview. Depending on the time of year, it can take up to a month to get your visa renewed. Therefore, most students choose to get their visas renewed during summer vacation. However, it costs at least $1,000 to get a round-trip air ticket to China, and the summer is a precious period of time to gain additional education and professional experience in the United States or somewhere else in the world. Due to the time and cost of traveling back to China and waiting a month to get a visa renewed, a lot of students give up the opportunity to travel to other countries and therefore lose out on valuable opportunities to get the additional international skills they need to succeed. With this new extended visa validity policy, Chinese students are able to get entry visas that are valid for up to 5 years, so they don’t have to go back and forth to China every year to get their visa renewed when needing to travel outside the United States. This is especially important for undergraduate and Ph.D. students because their academic programs are usually four years or more. Also, this new policy makes lives of students’ parents easier. Most Chinese families only have one child because of the “one-child policy,” which makes it natural for Chinese parents to miss their children even more when they are in the United States. I remember talking with an old couple when I was waiting in line for my visa interview at the consulate. They are in their sixties and their daughter is working in the United States. They said they really miss her and would love to visit her more, but it costs too much to apply for the entry visa every year. That couple is not alone. With the new policy that grants tourist visas for up to ten years, more parents like them will get the opportunity to reunite with their children in the United States. Also, I think this is a sign that the United States is opening the door for more opportunities to Chinese students. This new visa policy, along with the 17-month STEM OPT extension policy, shows that the United States is opening the door of more opportunities to Chinese students, and I can hope that in the near future, more talented international students will be able to stay in the United States after graduation. International students, both STEM and non-STEM students, receive benefits from studying here, and we will be able to experience more and learn more with more open policies. During my time here, I have served as the interpreter for Anhui Provincial Goodwill Mission’s Visit from China to Maryland. I have spoken at a Capitol Hill briefing . I have played Er-hu, a traditional Chinese instrument in front of Georgetown students. I truly appreciate all these experiences and I believe this policy change will allow more Chinese students to have the same opportunities as I have had here at Georgetown University. Read more about this change in visa policy on NAFSA’s blog and website . Qianlei Li is currently a second-year graduate student at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. Originally from Shanghai, China, Li completed her undergraduate education with a major in finance and a minor in English literature. Having experience studying in China, Australia, and United States, she has great interest in international education, culture, and languages.

[via NAFSA: Association of International Educators Blog]

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