Category Archives: Travel

30 Facts on the Education System of Iran

February 16th, 2017

iran_map

After intense negotiations, on July 14, 2015, the U.S. and five other world powers have reached a deal to freeze Iran’s nuclear program for the next decade in exchange for gradual sanctions relief that rolls out as Iran complies with a multi-step process. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) ensures that Iran’s nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful.  And now, in 2017, with the recent travel ban imposed by the Trump Administration against Iran and six other countries, we thought it would be helpful to revisit the blog we had written on Iran in July 2015.

Given these recent developments, we would like to spotlight Iran and share with you the following facts on the country and its education system:

1. Iran is one of the oldest nations in the world, with a history dating back tens of thousands of years. The country’s first great city, Susa, was built on the central plateau around 3200 B.C.

Iran_2

2. Iran (pronounced ee-RAHN), formerly known as Persia, is situated at the crossroads of Central Asia, South Asia, and the Arab states of the Middle East. The name “Iran” means “land of the Aryans.”

3. Iran is a republic in Central Asia, sharing a border with seven countries: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Iraq, Turkey, and Turkmenistan.

4. It has been officially known as the Islamic Republic of Iran since the overthrow of the Shah in 1979.

5.Iran is a Shiite Muslim country, but the majority of its people are Persian, not Arab.

6. Iran’s capital is Tehran.

Azadi
Tehran: Azadi Monument (formerly Shahyad Monument)

7. Iran has a population of 80,840,713 (median age 28) and covers an area that is 636,372 square miles (1,648,195 square kilometers), slightly smaller than Alaksa.

8. Official language of instruction in Iran is Farsi/Persian. English and/or French are taught in most private schools.

9. According to 2015 estimates, the literacy rates of total population age 15 and over is 86.8% of which 92.1% are male and 82.5% are female.

10. According to 2013 reports, Iran spends 3.7 of GDP on education.

11. Starting with 7th grade, English is taught as a second language in all public schools and is compulsory through the secondary level years.

12. Primary school is called “Dabestan” and includes grades 1 to 5 (ages 6 to 11). At the end of the 5th year, students take a nation-wide exam which they must pass in order to continue to the next cycle.

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13. Middle school is called Rahnamaei also known as Lower Secondary School (Guidance) and includes grades 6 to 8 (ages 11 to 14). At the end of the 3rd year of middle school, students take a region-wide exam administered by the local provisional board of education which they must pass in order to continue to the next cycle.

iran_school_3

14. Secondary school is called Dabirestan and includes grades 9 to 12 (ages 14 to 17). The 4th year of grade 12 includes a college-preparatory year known as Pish-daneshgahi. In dabirestan, students choose subjects from either one of two tracks: 1) academic/general track that includes a] physics-mathematics, b] socio-economics, c] literature and culture, and d] experimental sciences; or 2) technical/vocational track in such areas as business and agriculture. On completion of 3 years of study (Grade 11), students receive their diploma before they are determined eligible to continue onto the 12th year (Grade 12) pish-daneshgahi studies.

15. Pre-university or Pish-Daneshgahi is the 4th year extension (Grade 12) to secondary school and last one year. It is an intensive year of study intended to prepare students for the national university entrance examination known as the Concour.

16. The Concour determines students’ chances to enter public and some private universities in Iran. It is a very challenging examination and only a minority of students who take it are successful in passing.

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Photo Credit:PressTV – University Entrance Exam (Concours) in Tehran

17. At the higher education level, Iran has private, public and state affiliated universities.

18. Universities, institutes of technology, medical schools, and community colleges make up the higher education sector.

19. Except for medical schools, all state-run universities are under the direct supervision of the Iranian Ministry of Science, Research and Technology. Medical schools are under the supervision of the Ministry of Health, Treatment, and Medical Education.

20. Currently, there are over 50 public universities and over 40 public institutions specializing in medical study and 200 private postsecondary institutions in Iran.

21. Tuition at public universities is free.

22. Private institutions charge fees.

23. The largest private institution in Iran is Islamic Azad University.

24. Women make up more than 60 percent of the college population in Iran but less than 20 percent of the working population.

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25. Out of 1.176 million people registered for higher education in the Iranian academic year of 2012-2013, women accounted for 522,248 (44.38 percent) while men’s share stood at 654,593 (55.62 percent).

26.The number of female university students also increased by almost twofold from 1,231,035 in the Iranian academic year of 2005-2006 to 2,106,639 in 2012-2013.

iran_women
Photo Credit: Ebrahim Norrozi/AP – Iranian women, shown here in downtown Tehran, are among groups in the country pushing for social and economic change.

27. Distance learning degree programs are provided mainly by the University of Payam-e-Hour.

28. University degrees in Iran include:
• Kardani (formerly Fogh-Diplom) – 2-year program equivalent to the Associate degree;
• Karshenasi (formerly Licence) – 4-year program equivalent to the Bachelor’s degree;
• Karshenasi Arshad (formerly Fogh-Licence) – 2-year program beyond the Karshenasi equivalent to the Master’s degree;
• Doctora (Doctorate) degree – 3-year program; requires a master’s (Karshenasi) degree for admission and is awarded on completion of 60 semester units and passing a comprehensive exam before entering the research phase of the program, during which they prepare and defend their dissertation.
• Specialized Doctorates – Degrees in dentistry, medicine, pharmacy, veterinary medicine are awarded after 6 years of study and a thesis and require completion of the pre-university year for admission.

29. Grading system at primary through university is based on a 0-20 scale. At the primary, secondary level, and undergraduate levels, an average grade of 10 is required for promotion to the next academic grade. At the graduate level the minimum average grade is 12 and in doctoral programs the minimum average is 14.

30. Every year about 150,000 highly talented Iranians emigrate in what the International Monetary Fund calls the highest brain drain in the world.

Bonus Fact:
31. Since we love cats here at ACEI, here’s a bonus fact on the Persian cat; one of the world’s oldest breeds. They originated in the high plateaus of Iran where their long silky fur protected them from the cold. Italian traders brought the breed to Europe in the 17th century, where they became an exotic status symbol. (source: Rajendra, Vijeya, Gisela Kaplan, and Rudi Rajendra. 2004. Iran (Cultures of the World). New York, NY: Marshall Cavendish.)

Helpful links & Sources:
https://www.educationusairan.com/edu-professionals/education-systems
http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/iran_statistics.html
http://www.snipview.com/q/Schools_in_Iran
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ir.html
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-14541327

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Top 5 Countries Ranked Best for Education

October 6th, 2016

maps

The USNews recently released it’s 2016 Best Countries rankings and included the Best Countries for Education in its survey results.  In partnership with brand strategy firm BAV Consulting and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania they asked more than 16,000 survey participants from four regions to associate countries with specific attributes. The Best Countries for Education, according to USNews “are ranked based on scores on a compilation of three equally weighted country attributes: has top quality universities, well-developed public education system and would consider attending university there. Nations with federally run education systems ranked first, as with the United Kingdom, and last, as with Iran.”

The top 5 countries ranked for best education are:

1. United Kingdom

2. Canada

3. United States

4. Germany

5. France

Take a look at the full list of the USNews Best Countries for education: http://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/education-full-list and let us know your thoughts. Do you agree or disagree? And, why?

Thank you!

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Education For All – A UNESCO Challenge

September 16th, 2016

unesco

On September 13, 2016, ACEI’s President and CEO, Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert was interviewed by CCTV (China Central Television)-America on the current state of education and literacy around the world.

 

The United Nations has admitted that It has been unable to meet its goal of getting all of the world’s children into school. Right now, some 263 million children and youth are out of school. The United Nations has previously set a goal of educating all children by the year 2030. A new report from UNESCO, however, says that this goal is too ambitious and that at the current rate of progress this goal cannot be met until the year 2042.

The inability to avail universal education to children has broad implications for not only societies, but also economies.  We need to ask the following questions:

  • Why is there is such a divide between rich and poor countries when it comes to education?
  • How will the limitations of poor countries in enrolling their children in school until 2042 affect their opportunity for growth, when rich countries have met this already met this target.
  • How does a society benefit when its children are provided access to primary school education?
  • What are the biggest obstacles in achieving this goal?

UNICEF answers these questions in its 2007 report which may be summarized into one word: lack. The inability of the poorer countries to meet these goals has to do with the capacities of their governments and those in public office.  Lack is the key obstacle to providing children access to free primary school education. There is lack of both financial (absence of a functioning tax base and budget priorities) and human (absence of skilled manpower) resources.  There is a lack of responsibility on the part of governments refusing to accept obligations without political commitment to do anything about it. There is lack of coordination between the different branches of governments and its various offices. There is also a lack of knowledge and appreciation for the benefits and values of education. Uneducated and illiterate parents may not realize that they too have an obligation to make sure their children are schooled and educated.

Where there is a deficit in a strong education plan, we will see country’s overall health and social and economic success in peril.  As Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert stated in her interview: “literacy is currency.” A nation of educated and literate people is one that can pull itself out of its vicious cycle of poverty and economic stagnation.

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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I Am Not A Citizen Of The World

August 11th, 2016

worldpeople

No soy una ciudadana del mundo.

I come from Chile, located at the end of the world. Surrounded by the immensity of the Pacific Ocean, the loneliness of the Atacama Desert and the impenetrability of the Andes cordillera, it could be considered an island. 

I am not a citizen of the world.

I am fluent in Spanish, French and English. I am “cultured”; I know about history, art, music and poetry. I am “travelled”: I biked the Golden Gate Bridge, I went up the Eiffel Tour, I got the Padi diving course in Koh Samui, Surfed in Sydney and knew the leather tanneries in Fez. However, when I travel, I care about the amazing travel selfies that I post on instagram. I am not interested in knowing the locals, since they look different and their cultural traditions are ridiculous, obsolete, and nonsensical, compared to my “modern” and “liberal” way of life. I am not interested of Khmer Rouge and its impact in Cambodian citizens, and I certainly do not take advantage of my language skills to understand their beliefs, their stories, or their wounds.

Je ne suis pas une citoyenne du monde.

I do not care about global issues such as the energy crisis or the uncertainty of the refugees’ life. I have electricity and hot water in my house and recycling is too much effort. And when by accident I run into the international news happening in a faraway land, I quickly change the channel to the Turkish soap opera of the moment. After all, the facial expressions of Hurrem in Muhteşem Yüzyıl, are much more attractive than the death baby on the beach. My main concerns are the next season of Games of Thrones, the next Taylor Swift album or the 4 kilos that I desperately need to lose before my next trip to Costa Rica.

  1. Turkish soap opera: The Magnificent Century

 

I am not a citizen del mundo.

I do not have time to get informed of world news, search different sources of information and form my own opinions. I do not have time to do any volunteer work since my life is “crazy” and I have a lot on my plate; after all, you do not get to the 1013 level in Candy Crush Saga playing for only one month.

Je ne suis pas une citizen of the world.

I go to fancy restaurants, and the bill covers a month of an entire family living. I buy Louis Vuitton bags, while outside the store is a lady selling coconut water to support her family, and I bargain her down from two dollars to one. I love to buy cheap t-shirts, but I never ask myself how the price can be as low, and who is really paying for them.

Je ne suis pas una ciudadana of the world 

My favourite and most valuable relation is with my smartphone, since it provides all that I need. Wakes me up in the morning, keeps me company during the day and even introduces me to people to date, since I long lost the capacity to engage with others in real life. When I do not have Internet my phone, I feel disconnected. I am numb.

I am not une citoyenne del mundo

I live unconsciously. I do not connect to others in any significant way. I am a consumer. I try to fill my internal void with external things, and wonder why I never feel as happy or complete as the girls in the women’s magazines. Even when on my Instagram I have hundreds of likes and I seem to have it all, I do not want to acknowledge that “thing”. That “thing” on my chest. That “thing” that I conveniently “confuse” with hunger so I eat/drink/smoke to make it go away. That “thing” that accompanies me everywhere I go. That “thing” that never leaves me, not even in my dreams. That “thing” that gives me nightmares every night. Nightmares that I do not realize that I have or even question why or since when I have them.

Since most of the time I travel alone, is not unusual that people approach me to ask where I come from and why I am traveling by myself; people with epicanthic fold, women wearing veils, with different skin and hair colour, in summary people that I had never the interest to approach. It is when they kindly ask me about my culture and they tell me about theirs, when I realize how narrow my worldview is. How come they are interested in me but I am not interested in them? When they talk to be on the bus or in the hostel lobby I realize how much I focus on my belly and not on what surrounds me. I realize how loyally I mirror Chile. I am also an island. Surrounded by invisible but robust frontiers, locking me in a comfortable bubble wrapping me to everything dissimilar.

Out of nowhere, these strangers show me their openness, their kindness, their generosity, and their happiness, and strangely, it feels good, and that “thing” on my chest feels somehow warm. It is then when I realize I lack those attributes. I cannot demonstrate affection as easily and as openhandedly as they do. I wish I could, but that “thing” on my chest, seems to be cold and empty…

It is only because I am multilingual that I am able to talk with people from China, Lebanon, Malaysia, India, Nigeria and Russia about the common battles we face as women over coffee in Edinburgh. Women who would be unlikely to meet in Chile since the percentage of immigrants from China is 2%, and even less for the other mentioned countries. Our natural barriers seem to act like an impenetrable membrane from the rest of the world, which gives the illusion that we are the norm and the others are the different ones. Our barriers keep us physically, mentally and emotionally disconnected from the rest of the world. 

It is when we cry our hardships together and encourage one another that I discover and I am able to appreciate these former strangers as human beings. Humans with feelings, struggles and dreams, just like mine. And it is then when I feel something moving on my chest, and I notice an urge to help them to achieve their goals, and to do it together. Suddenly our conversations are not about the bachelor or what we consider attractive in a man, but about our adventures or misadventures, on how we misread cultural norms, and what we learnt from them. We compare traditions, customs and meaning and it is then when I start to appreciate their way of life, and recognize that maybe my way of life is not the best one, that it is certainly not entirely “right” or “good”. Theirs may be more “conservative” and traditional, but at the same time it is more respectful, cooperative and caring. Women are not displayed as sexual objects, people are not in an endless race to show who has more, and people think twice before judging someone else. Learning different perspectives and about different ways of life, allow me to think about new ways, new solutions and new possibilities. I am able to see the richness of our world and it opens my mental frontiers to consider that maybe if we share more, we can take what is good from each other´s cultures, build a new perspective together and share a new common path to improve our communities.

It is when they tell me about their life stories when I realize, that that news that I heard about war and the bombing of that country in a faraway land, becomes real. It is not something that happened to random people on TV. It is my friend’s life that was on the line. I had shivers and sorrow to hear her describe how her father decided to split the family members in several different cars to drive to the frontier in case one of them got bombed. The shivers and sorrow I was able to feel were only possible because we were able to talk the same language and were curious about each other experiences. 

It is then that I realize that multilingual ability is more than technical proficiency. Multilingual ability serve to something more than to land a job in an international company, have high scores in a given test or ask for directions in a foreign country.

Multilingual ability can be more. It can be a door to empathise and develop significant relations with others different than us that we would have never talked to since we would not understand each other. It can allow us to connect with others emotionally and break our stereotypes. It allows us to constantly redefine the meaning of kind words according to the langage we speak. It can be a way to engage with others as human beings and find what bonds us instead of what takes us apart.

Multilingual ability awarded me the gift to have new friends with diverse customs and worldviews. Friends who showed me their generosity and their love; friend who taught me how to develop the attributes I lacked. Attributes that moved and warmed up that “thing” inside me. It was with their friendship that I started filling up the everlasting loneliness that was with me, no matter how far I went or how many things I bought.

Multilingual ability threatens my perfect “casual” picture on Instagram of me looking at the horizon in the Grand Canyon, and replaces it for a messy picture in my wallet with all my friends sharing hummus, dumplings, patacones, fish and chips, chalakaka and pisco sour on a long table.

It is when I acknowledge the stereotypes I have,
It is when I start to connect emotionally with others and with myself,
It is when I question the fears I hold,
It is when I recognize what impact my actions have in the world,
It is when their issues become mine, and mine become theirs,
It is when my friends´ homes become mines,
It is when I see the richness of what we could create collectively,
It is when I live my life with others,
It is when I share the warm of heart,
It is when we realize that we are all in this together,
That I start my journey of becoming a citizen of the world.

maria
Maria Jose Ramirez C.

Maria Jose holds a PhD in Education from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, Master’s in Human Kinetics from the University of Ottawa, Canada, and degree in teaching from Ponrificia Universidad Catolice de Chile. She loves sports, nature and travel and for over 12 years has worked with athletes by motivating and inspiring them to not only win medals but achieve their own excellence not just at their sports, but also as human beings. Maria Jose was one of the 60 winners of the 2016 international essay contest of Many Languages, One World® (MLOW) that included students from 36 countries and 54 universities. Her essay, shared in this blog, was selected from a pool of over 3,600 entrants. Many Languages, One World is organized by ELS Educational Services, Inc., and the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI)

alcanzandotuexcelencia@gmail.com

http://www.alcanzatuexcelencia.com

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20 Facts on Denmark

October 15th, 2015

denmark

In the recent U.S. democratic presidential debate on October 13, 2015, candidate Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont mentioned Denmark as the bastion of healthy social programs for its people. According to Sanders: “We should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people.” In this week’s blog, we’ve decided to put the spotlight on Denmark and share a few facts on this Scandinavian country.

1. The Danes are a homogenous Gothic-Germanic People who have inhabited Denmark since prehistoric times.

2. Denmark is the smallest of the Scandinavian countries (half the size of Maine). It is in northern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, on a peninsula north of Germany (Jutland); also includes several major islands (Sjaelland, Fyn, and Bornholm).

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3. Denmark is a Constitutional Monarchy. The Danish royal family is probably the oldest uninterrupted European monarchy. It traces back its roots to legendary kings in the Antiquity. Gorm the Old, the first king of the “official line”, ruled from 934 C.E.

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4. The population of Denmark is 5,581,503 (July 2015 est.) which include Scandinavian, Inuit, Faroese, German, Turkish, Iranian, and Somali.

5. The capital of Denmark is Copenhagen with a population of 1.206.million (2011 est.)

6. The flag of Denmark, Dannebrog, is the oldest state flag in the world still in use by an independent nation. It was adopted in 1219.

denmark_flag

7. The principal language in Denmark is Danish but English is a required subject in school and fluency in English is high.

8. Education is compulsory from ages 7 to 16 and is free through the university level.

9. Denmark has had no less than 14 Nobel laureates, including 4 in Literature, 5 in Physiology or Medicine, and one Peace prize. With its population of about 5 million, it is one of the highest per capita ratio of any country in the world.

10. Denmark boasts a literacy rate of 99%.

11. The Danish company Bang & Olufsen (B&O) manufactures some of the most upscale audio products, television sets, and telephones in the world.

12. Denmark guarantees religious freedom and 95% of Danes claim religious affiliation with the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Islam is the second-largest religion in Denmark.

13. In 1989, Denmark became the first country to legalize same-sex unions (although same-sex marriage was not granted until 2012).

14. Denmark’s Industries include: iron, steel, nonferrous metals, chemicals, food processing, machinery and transportation equipment, textiles and clothing, electronics, construction, furniture and other wood products, shipbuilding and refurbishment, windmills, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment.

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15. Denmark’s Natural resources include: petroleum, natural gas, fish, salt, limestone, stone, gravel and sand.

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16. Denmark has the highest employment rate in Europe (75%).

17. In 2012 Denmark enjoyed the 2nd highest nominal GDP per capita in the European Union, after Luxembourg. At purchasing power parity (PPP), Denmark was ranked in 8th position within the EU.

18. Separate studies have ranked Danish people as the happiest in the EU (2007 Cambridge University study), and happiest people in the world (2006 Leicester University study) or 2nd happiest in the world (World Database of Happiness 2000-2009).

19. The Danish prince Hamlet, the fictional character of William Shakespeare’s famous play, was inspired by an old Danish myth of the Viking Prince Amled of Jutland.

20. The world famous building toys Lego are from Denmark.

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Useful Links:

http://facts.randomhistory.com/denmark-facts.html

http://www.visitdenmark.com/heritage/fun-facts-about-your-danish-american-heritage

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/da.html

http://www.eupedia.com/denmark/trivia.shtml

http://eng.uvm.dk/Education/Overview-of-the-Danish-Education-System

http://www.cnbc.com/2015/10/14/clinton-and-sanders-why-the-big-deal-about-denmark.html

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Ich Bin Ein Berliner!

September 25th, 2015

Berlin

In the words of JFK, soon I too will be commiserating alongside other acquainted European peers as I venture forth into the red taped lined world of international student admission in Deutschland.

It wasn’t long ago, that after dropping out of one of the world’s and certainly the United States’ most prestigious art school, that my 23 year old self decided to continue my education elsewhere; however, “Wo konnte ich gehen?” (where could I go ?)

As a privileged child, I’ve visited Europe with my family, more than once. Germany was the home country of my step father, so it was naturally the country we most frequented. As I grew older I began to take interest in modern German culture specifically in how they approached education. German men and women my age that I came across or got to know,  all seemed to display such remarkable intelligence and demonstrated  a natural sociable aptitude when it came to having a discussion (regardless of personal opinions). These interactions shocked me, for back home many of my peers, even those who were private schooled or cum-laude grads showed the complete opposite; or were completely inept to the art of discussion. Perhaps this could be blamed on the lack of interest on the subject that most of my peers in US seem to have when it comes to any subject not directly related to media supplied entertainment. Maybe this is not a disinterest but, just really an inability to combine or blend different ideas together during conversation. Usually when this problem arises, it prompts one word retorts, shrugging off a particular question or worse, the immediate loss of attention followed by a blank stare into the netherworld. This incapacity and lack of conversational skill may be due to another reason all together; being that the ability to converse is not one reinforced or mandated to any level or degree of significance throughout one’s education in the U.S, beyond basic collegiate graduate requirements per the major or avenue of study.  



It seems as though our German counter parts have been ingrained with this art of discussion. In Germany, the art of exchanging of ideas if you will has been preserved, supported and nurtured throughout the years of early childhood — university education. I became intrigued and concluded should I continue my schooling, that it take place in an environment founded on the basis of exchanging ideas, in all its forms. I mean, that is the basis of learning is it not?

After years of debating on which road to take and which study paths I should venture down, I settled on applying to a small university of fine arts in northern Germany. Now as many of you may know, that getting an education in Europe or acquiring healthcare is free right? Wrong. Educational institutions operated and overseen by the state or federal government in Germany, for the most part cost German nationals $0.00. However private schools, just as in the USA, have the right to charge students how they want to, so long as those prices fall under the strict regulations set in place by the German Federal Government. Luckily for me this fine art university, however miniscule its fame or how peacefully quiet the campus may be at any given time, is not a private but a public university (funded by the state). Check out this link for more information International Students in Germany (scroll down to #4).

During my initial research into the institution I was startled to discover that the price per semester for international students was under $200. I was astonished. Previously, here in the U.S. I started to pursue my education in the arts and not even 2 years into the university’s program I was already over $30,000 in debt. Seeing the cost of this tiny fine-arts school in Germany, you can imagine that I was quite cynical and I must have overlooked the fine print. To my amazement, there was no fine print! I was now entirely motivated to get the ball rolling and get a head start in the application process.

October 2014, I contacted the university and followed their online instructions for the application process. After a month and some weeks, post application submission and not hearing back from the school I sent an email to the head of international admissions office regarding confirmation of my application. Within a week I got a response and it was brought to my attention that the university did not offer application process so far in advanced. “What?” I exclaimed. I was amazed. For have you know, the higher-education system’s admission process in the United States is an arduous, pre-planned, year in advanced procedure filled with back and forth emails, letters and phone calls (often started during high school). I then entered into a more detailed dialogue with the international office and they further explained that they only accept applications and transcripts for admission two months prior to the beginning of the scheduled semester date. TWO MONTHS PRIOR! Are you joking!? When asked about my recent application submission, the university said that their online system did not have the 2015 school year application available as the Spring semester was too far off in the future.

Well now it’s September 2015, I sit here before you readers finishing this entry. I have my flight ticket to Germany, all of my educational documentation in order and quite the portfolio to boot, I can sincerely say I’m looking forward to applying this spring.

I will keep you posted as the process continues!

Clayton

Clayton Johans – When Clayton is not at his desk drawing and painting, he assumes his alter ego as a Barbarian Philosopher who enjoys researching historical events, reading comic books, pumping iron and hiking the hills and valleys of southern California. castorodesign@gmail.com

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Many Languages, One World

August 27th, 2015

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Winners of the Many Languages, One world International Student Essay Contest

The opportunity to give a speech at the UN General Assembly was preceded by my participation in the essay contest “Many Languages, One World,” organized by ELS Educational Services, Inc. and United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI). The competition implied two stages, initially we wrote an essay in one of the six UN official languages ​​(English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Chinese). I wrote my essay in French which in my opinion is one of the most beautiful and melodious languages that inspires me; a language I studied for 12 years at high school. As a result, competitors, shortlisted for the written paper, were invited to a Skype interview with project organizers to demonstrate language proficiency. I was interviewed by Ms. Kathleen Stein-Smith, Chair of the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF) Commission on Advocacy. Overcoming successfully the two stages of the competition, I have been selected as one of the 70 winners of the Many Languages, One World International Student Essay Contest and Global Youth Forum from over 3500 students who initially participated in the contest. Thus, began one of the most unique and beautiful experiences of my life.

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Author of this blog: Daniela Moisei speaking at the UN

I traveled to the United States for the first time and the purpose of the visit was quite impressive, to attend the Many Languages, One World Global Youth Forum at Adelphi University in Garden City, from July 20-26, 2015 and to speak at the General Assembly of the United Nations. My experience in the US started great! At the passport control, explaining the purpose of the visit to the officer, he exclaimed: “Wow, good luck, Daniela!” So, the first impression was very nice and gave me courage. Then, I enjoyed the most wonderful days with the 70 winners of MLOW contest, young activists, leaders of their countries, students of various fields and specializations. We shared experience and inspired each other.

The program was full of interesting activities and interactive discussions in working groups led by facilitators. The week culminated on July 24 with our speeches at the UN! At UN headquarters, emotions overwhelmed me, everything seemed like a dream. Huge hall where the assembly is held, simultaneous interpreters, officials seated at their desks… like scenes from movies. I tried to catch every second of those important moments. My speech, presented in French, reflected the goal number 16 of the United Nations Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. I mentioned the importance of freedom, peace and security, respect for all and international cooperation. Good governance and the rule of law at the national and international levels are essential for sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth, sustainable development and the eradication of poverty. Also, I proposed to promote a culture of peace, and peace education in schools to understand the process of acquiring the values and developing the attitudes, skills, and behaviors to live in harmony with oneself, with others and with the natural environment. In this way, educational institutions will contribute to the formation of a set of values ​​to the younger generation. I am glad that my speech was appreciated by the officials of the General Assembly, who congratulated me.

I spent a week in New York. Being caught in the preparations for the speech and activities of the Global Youth Forum, I enjoyed the beauty and immensity of this city only two days. Nevertheless, I admired the most important tourist attractions like the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Times Square, the American Museum of Natural History, 9/11 Memorial. Therefore, I want to return to this US metropolis and discover the most important financial city in the world. There, I realized the saying “Time is money”, because, actually, New York never sleeps.

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Daniela in NYC

In conclusion, I would like to thank the organizers for this amazing opportunity and to transmit a big hug to my colleagues, I miss them! I realized that when you want something, all the Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. “

A short fragment of my speech in French: “ La paix n’est pas l’absence de guerre, c’est une vertu, un état d’esprit, une volonté de bienveillance, de confiance, de justice. À mon avis, il ne peut y avoir de paix sans développement, ni de développement sans paix. Nous ne pouvons pas éliminer la pauvreté, ni atteindre un développement durable sans traiter les conflits et l’insécurité: d’importants écarts de performance. La paix entre les nations est l’objectif de nombreuse ONG, associations pacifistes et organisations internationaux comme L’ONU. La paix, la justice et une gouvernance efficace sont les catalyseurs du développement. Tous les États devront réduire les risques de conflit et d’insécurité en promouvant la réduction de la corruption, l’égalité d’accès à la justice et à la sécurité et la participation de tous les groupes sociaux à la vie politique. Selon moi, la diplomatie et la coopération internationale sont les instruments de la paix dans le monde et le moyen le plus efficace pour combattre le racisme, la xénophobie et l’intolérance. Il faut considérer et suivre les mots de Mère Teresa: “La paix commence avec un sourire, faites-le pour la paix!”.

Daniela

Daniela Moisei is from Moldova and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Finance & Banking from the Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova. She has been a radio presenter at Moldova’s national radio station for the past 5 years. She is President of the Students Council, coordinator of the project: “Students today, business women tomorrow,” a school for young entrepreneurs and volunteers of the International Center “La Strada”, aimed at combating human trafficking, and of the NGO “Youth for Right to Live”. In the future, Daniela plans to complete her master’s degree, and would like to work in a capacity that fosters connections between Moldova and the rest of the world. “My hobby is reading, it relaxes me, encourages me to think and expands my horizons.” moisei.daniela@gmail.com

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