Tag Archives: studyabroad

How to Be a Responsible Foreign-Language Learner and Speaker

August 25th, 2016

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As participants in the 2016 Many Languages One World essay contest, we had to submit an essay on multiculturalism and multilingualism. Writing about multiculturalism and multilingualism is a tough and broad task, but what we can do, as individuals, is write about our own experience. 

As a student in Chinese department and as a traveler, I do not believe in any so-called “clash of civilizations”, or in any “culture shock”. “The other” is always the result of a process of image-making. Moreover, I am strongly convinced that most of the distinctions we rely on are constructs and artificial distinctions, used by dominant groups to justify unequal situations and discrimination. Learning foreign languages aims to explore interstices, never to widen gaps. 

I would like to explain why my experience of multiculturalism and multilingualism has fostered a strong sense of responsibility, and has motivated my political and social commitment.

I was born in France twenty years ago, and was brought up in ten different countries, among which Spain, South Korea, Canada and China. I have been moving every one or two years because of my parents’ job as International School French teachers. I can relate to many different cultural habits and cultural backgrounds. “Where do you come from?” is a question I feel very uncomfortable with. Because I am unable to answer it and because experience has proven, it doesn’t actually tell a lot about the person you’re speaking to. I don’t feel like I belong to a specific country and don’t feel attached to one single language. I don’t want to choose between countries and languages. The first language I learnt was Finnish. My brother and I recently saw some videos of us speaking Finnish together, but we can’t understand a word anymore. It’s one layer among our multi-layered, multi-dimensional life. Since then, my little sister arrived in our family, adopted from China, and my brother left the French school system to take the International Baccalaureate. My parents have moved to Tashkent, in Uzbekistan, and started learning Russian. When we get together in France every summer, we speak bits and pieces of French, English and Mandarin Chinese. Each language allows us to express our ideas, hint at common references, play on words in a different way. In our case they are always related to a certain time period, linked to certain friendships, landscapes, food, books, movies and educational systems we’ve experienced and share, which thus inform our approach to each language. As my sister said once, what we truly share is our story, our passing by in many places and never settling down.

This had led me to think identity is not an enclosed and immutable entity, identity is evolution, identity is change, making one’s way between adapting and conflicting. Identity is like a tangled web, tying together places you lived in, people you met or crossed paths with, what you’ve seen and experienced. In my case, I feel that what has primordially influenced me are the most unbearable things I have witnessed. People suffering from leper, from hunger and thirst, children working in terrible conditions and whom childhood was stolen away, eager to escape from poverty and war, in the places I’ve visited or lived in. You can’t forget these things. You can only pretend, but somewhere deep inside, it’s calling out for justice and urging you to do something. I feel this is what ties all the puzzle pieces of my scattered life together.

Therefore my political and social concerns have always been the very basis, the starting point in the appreciation of the world and people around me. I have been volunteering for several NGOs. I have been working in Pnomh Penh for the NGO Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (For a Child’s Smile), which takes care of children living in slums and dumps and offers them access to healthcare and education. I participated in the planning of Charity Runs in Taipei and other cities I lived in. When I was in Paris I participated in helping homeless people and families to fill in paperwork and have access to basics. I have been writing down all their stories and hope to get you to read them some day. What revolted me is, some people would sometimes stop near me and say we – volunteers – were encouraging the present-day “invasion” of “immigrants” and poor populations in France. Some seem to consider solidarity as crime – but as I said, I don’t make distinctions between “us” and “them”, and by helping them I’m helping us. Recently I have been working in Lyon for the Secours Populaire, helping out in annual events and working to improve the reading and writing skills as well as self-confidence of children left behind. Wherever I’ve been I have felt the same emergency. Wherever I will be living, and wherever you live, there is probably something going wrong outside your front door and you can always do something, at your level, to instigate change. Multi-culturalism is about lending a hand to others, wherever you come from and wherever they come from.

Moreover, I believe that we have a duty to reflect on our ability to bring some change, not only as young people but also as students in Language Departments. I am studying in the Chinese department of my University. I think it is important for us to concentrate on building “cultural bridges” : we can study common, parallel aspects in order to create dialogues rather than orchestrate sensational “West-East” breaking points. For instance last year I have read some interesting studies on links between some French twentieth century surrealist works and early Chinese Daoist works such as the Zhuangzi : provocation, striking images, humor, rejecting of forged boundaries and rigid categories. Drawing parallels often teaches us a lot more and is definitely more stimulating. Also, I would like to emphasize the fact that cultural understanding should never be taken for granted. We have to fight for it. Some of my classmates in the Chinese Department, studying Chinese language and culture at a high level, have never been in a Chinese speaking country, have no intention of going there, no desire to learn more about or meet people who live there – because, as one of them told me once, their interest in Chinese is only “theoretical”, “aesthetic” – and sometimes they have harsh, shocking words, and many prejudices against Chinese people and culture – very dangerous ideas.

I plan on maybe becoming a researcher in Chinese philosophy or history; whatever I do later on, I hope I will never separate my work and my ideas. I was blamed once for refusing to complete an exercise in one of my Chinese courses. The problem was, the title was “Why women and men do not think alike” and the sentences we had to complete and read were very insulting. The teacher respected and understood my choice, but one of my classmates told me I should learn to separate the student and the “feminist” – that is schizophrenia – and then explained, China “never had and still does not have any feminist ideas” – which is completely false. Essentialism and distinctions between political and academic spheres are recurrent obstacles, and yet they can be overcome by raising awareness about our responsibility, our role as foreign-language learners and mediators. The issue is too important in our world today to be ignored.

That’s what I would like to conclude with: learning languages and traveling is a good start, but it is not enough. We need to stand up, and take action for what we believe in. We are responsible for what we do – and what we don’t do. Learning foreign languages is an urgent necessity but it won’t help if it’s just about playing with sounds and alphabets. It’s about making the others’ fear, anger and hope, our own.”

lea

Léa Buatois

About Léa Buatois: Léa was one of 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). Léa  was born in Dijon, France, in 1996. Her parents teach in French international schools around the world. Because of her parents’ job as French teachers abroad, she has been moving a lot, approximately every one or two years. The first language she spoke was Finnish, and later she started learning English, French and Mandarin Chinese. She is now studying in the Chinese Department of the Ecole Normale Supérieure of Lyon, France. She is interested in becoming a researcher in Chinese philosophy or history, or working in cultural diplomacy or international relations. She love traveling, reading and writing.

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Impact of a Trump Presidency on International Education

June 9th, 2016

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Having just returned from the NAFSA Conference in Denver, Colorado, the world’s largest convergence of international educators one had the sense of a shared mission toward global understanding and appreciation of student exchange, building bridges and partnerships that support study abroad and mobility of students. It was difficult to imagine that outside the convention center, somewhere on the presidential campaign trail, the sentiment expressed by the Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump, as shared by his supporters was anything but similar or likeminded. In fact, Mr. Trump’s position on international students is quite the opposite; it’s more about burning bridges and giving everyone outside our borders the middle finger.

Things weren’t so anti-international student with Mr. Trump a year ago. In fact, back in August 2015, according to an article in Inside Higher Education, Mr. Trump had expressed his support for international students, who are here in the U.S. legally on student visas. He supported the program which allows the international students to remain in the country after graduation for an extended period in order to work. Here is what he tweeted about his feelings on this subject last year:

“When foreigners attend our great colleges and want to stay in the U.S., they should not be thrown out of our country.”

“I want talented people to come into this country — to work hard and to become citizens. Silicon Valley needs engineers, etc.”

Though his tweets of 2015 may be heartening and in line with my fellow NAFSAns, Mr. Trump’s support for international students has waivered and completely changed as evidenced by his new position on the subject. According to a March 2016 report by the Chicago Tribune: “If elected president, Donald Trump has pledged to scrap a work visa program that brings 300,000 student workers each year to the U.S. Among the businesses that would be forced to stop hiring foreign labor: Trump’s own.”  This pretty much goes against his 2015 tweet of “I want talented people to come into this country–to work hard and to become citizens.”

Obviously the anti-immigrant and international student rhetoric has been heard loud and clear around the world. The U.S., once the beacon of higher education, is being looked at with ambivalence by those seeking to study here if Mr. Trump is the next President. According to a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Sixty percent of prospective international students say they would be less likely to study at an American college if Donald J. Trump was elected president.”

Since we are living in a capitalist market economy, and Mr. Trump is all about helping the average American have a slice of the proverbial pie, it’s worth noting that before we toss the international students out with the baby and the bathwater, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce as reported by the Institute of International Education (IIE): “International students contributed more than $30.5 billion to the U.S. economy.” Let me repeat this number: $30.5 BILLION! That’s not some small chunk of change my friends, but a hefty sum of economic windfall which means that not only do our schools and colleges benefit, but so do all the services in the periphery. Think about the students who need to rent apartments and furniture, buy cars, purchase insurance, shop for clothes and school supplies, eat at restaurants, buy tickets to shows, concerts, movies, train/airplane/bus/metro, buy groceries, and the list goes on. Think about all the Americans this economic windfall helps by keeping them off the unemployment line and the government subsidies since they’ll have jobs. Why would a Presidential candidate want to put already employed people out of work? That’s what will happen if we turn away people from our land who want to come here to study. It doesn’t make sense, does it?  And guess what friends, while we wallow in self pity and blame the “other” for whatever economic straits we find ourselves in and close borders and build walls, our counterparts in the UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, Scandinavia, Russia and even China and a slew of other countries which are offering degree programs in English and tempt internationals with free tuition are salivating at the bits to grab hold of the international student market which until now has favored the U.S. as its number one destination.

It is so painfully shortsighted to think the way Mr. Trump and his supporters are thinking. If I nod my head in bewilderment at the sheer idiocy of this mindset, I’ll soon have to resort to using a neck brace. Best way to end this rant is with an old saying ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds you,’ or, how about another old favorite: ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!’

Sources:

http://www.iie.org/Research-and-Publications/Open-Doors/Data/Economic-Impact-of-International-Students#.V1jZqVclcdU

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/08/21/republican-presidential-candidate-and-immigration-hardliner-donald-trump-sends

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-donald-trump-student-visa-20160314-story.html

http://chronicle.com/article/A-Trump-Presidency-Could-Keep/236662

Frustrated
Frustrated Evaluator
Guest Blogger

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Dispatches from NAFSA 2016 Denver, Colorado

June 2nd, 2016

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The 2016 NAFSA: Association of International Educators’ annual conference was held in Denver, CO from May 29 – June 3. I was told that this year the conference had about 9,300 attendees which is a lower than last year’s 10,000 plus that was held in Boston, MA.  But, this still is a healthy turnout considering it is next to impossible to run into the same person twice given the scale and scope of the venue.

Barely twenty minutes into my arrival in Denver four nights earlier, and I learn my uber driver is from Eritrea. He’d first told me he was from Africa but I asked him which country. He then told me he is helping his sister, a high school graduate in Eritrea, to come and study in the U.S.  This of course prompted me to tell him about ACEI and our international credential evaluation service. I gave him my card to pass onto her. He was so happy that I knew of his country and could be of help. Made me equally happy.

I spent my first official day at NAFSA with a visit to the exhibit hall known as the International Education Expo. The large hall was a vibrant hub of more than 400 institutions, service and technology providers, and suppliers from around the globe. It felt like being at a World Fair, and in a way it was; a world fair focused on education. Clearly the message that this conference invokes is that by providing and encouraging study abroad opportunities and supporting services we are not only helping open the minds and hearts, but building bridges and breaking down prejudices.

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The International Education Expo, NAFSA 2016, Denver, CO

The conference’s opening plenary address was given by David Brooks, the op-ed columnist for the New York Times. As a senior fellow at the Yale University Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, Brooks often focuses on topics connected with higher education and international affairs. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend his address but heart it was inspiring.

The Wednesday, June 1st Plenary address was given by Bryan Stevenson who is recognized as a visionary legal scholar, advocate, and champion for social justice. He is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, an organization committed to fair and just treatment for all people in the U.S. legal system. A quote from Stevenson’s address that I jotted down was that “we must do uncomfortable things to change the world through education.” If we want to see change, we need to get out of our comfort zone.

The Thursday, June 2nd Plenary address was given by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, a journalist and author who focuses on the evolving roles of women throughout the world. She is a senior fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations and writes frequently about empowering women in developing countries through economic investment.  A couple of quotes that are worth noting and remembering from her address include: “What binds us is more important than what divides us” and “education is the great leader…all of a sudden you’re in a world where there is no difference between you and them.” Couldn’t agree more.

One way to participate in NAFSA, besides an attendee, or as an exhibitor, is to be a presenter. I was fortunate to have been part of two presentations: 1) Credentials Fraud and Diploma Mills – A Global and Growing Problem, which I co-presented with Drew Feder from Credentials Consultants, in Houston, TX and 2) Fighting Back Against Misconduct in the Academic Space which I co-presented with Teresa Axe and Michelle Hampton of Education Testing Services (ETS), Princeton, NJ, and Jonathan Burdick from the University of Rochester, NY. Both sessions were well received with great questions from the audience. The session I presented on Credentials Fraud and Diploma Mills had more than 100 attendees and the room was filled to capacity, so much so that people were being turned away. Clearly, Credential Fraud and Diploma Mills are a hot and timely topic, as more and more bogus institutions continue to pop up offering fake degrees for a price duping the public. For those who may have missed the presentation and those who attended and interested to have a free copy of our PowerPoint, please go this link on our website.

Besides the wonderful and inspiring plenary speakers, NAFSA conference program offered a plethora of sessions making it next to impossible to see and hear everything. If only we could clone ourselves and be at more than one session at the same time!

All and all, the NAFSA annual national conference is a great way to establish new partnerships, participate in networking opportunities, learn something new (even for us old-timers) and most importantly reconnect with friends/colleagues you’ve known for many years. The opportunity of seeing colleagues face-to-face whom throughout the year you engage with by Skype/phone/ email, text and social media is priceless and what makes the conference worthwhile and memorable.

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L-R: Robert Watkins, UT Austin, Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert, ACEI, William Paver, FCES, Zepur Solakian, CGACC, Kirstin Baker, GPS.
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L-R: Jackie Chu, University of New Haven, Solakian, CGACC, Madjid Niroumand, OCC

It’s time to say goodbye to NAFSA and Denver and head back to Los Angeles. The good news is, next year, the conference will be in Los Angeles, our very own backyard!

jasmin_2015
Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert is the President and CEO of the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI).

ACEI Logo with Slogan - FINAL

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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Brussels: Impact of Terror Threats on Studying Abroad

March, 24th 2016

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Recent news of the terrorist bombings at the airport and subway in Brussels have justifiably raised safety and security concerns in American parents and their children studying abroad. Reading the news headlines and listening to reports on the radio and television with minute by minute updates do accelerate anxiety and a sense of vulnerability in anyone who travels, has loved ones traveling and studying overseas. We even sense the level of anxiety increasing here in our own towns and cities, yet we must never lose sight of our own inner strength and resolve to not cower and succumb to fear but to continue with our lives.

One thing that threats from terrorism do to our psyche is to react by taking actions that actually end up alienate us from our international partners. When it comes to education, the one thing we should commit to bolster rather than eliminate, is to continue our support and encouragement of study abroad programs. We need our young to travel and see the world beyond ours, expose them to the diverse cultures and peoples which will help them be good ambassadors of our country and return with a broader and better understanding of those living outside our borders. Our institutions of higher education need to be beacons of learning where qualified candidates from different corners of the world can pursue their academic dreams so they too can return to their home countries with a better understanding of the U.S.

We cannot build walls. How high does the wall have to be to keep the Internet out? We are not living in a time of moats and high walls to protect our domains. We cannot, in the 21st century employ primitive techniques of the 13th century. We will not succeed. We will, however, through our steadfast commitment to improving our education systems and programs that foster student exchange be able to overcome bigotry, distrust and xenophobia.

Helpful links:

Quinnipiac Students From Mass. Run To Safety After Brussels Airport Blasts

Following Brussels Attack, U.S. Universities Reach Out To Students Abroad

jasmin_2015
Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert is the President and CEO of the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI).

ACEI Logo with Slogan - FINAL

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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A (frustrated) American student in Germany

February 12th, 2016

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In this week’s blog, our study abroad student, Clayton Winston Johans, continues sharing his experience and frustration as he tries to get accepted into a university in Germany.

Keine Worte

After much delay I finally received the news I didn’t want to hear. Yes, the infamous quote of “No we have not received your transcripts” echoed from the loudspeaker on my cell phone.  If you are an international student or are planning to be these are words of dread. I reassured the admissions representative that over a week and half ago I received confirmation of receiving my transcripts with a signature of receipt by a school official. I even explained that I had emailed this confirmation but of course had not heard back any response. After a quick and succinct relay of questions and answers from the admissions office who has been handling my file at the school, I was instructed to resend my email that had the aforementioned confirmation. That night I double checked the emails I had sent and of course I was in the right and had provided all the accurate information to the school admissions office. A week goes by and no response addressing my resent confirmation email. I decided best to speak to the person in charge, so I called and was confronted with a messaging service to which I left two voice messages regarding my case. Another week starts to pass me by and I am all the while wondering as to why I am not getting a simple response to my email; even an acknowledgement of the communication would have calmed my nerves.

I wait another day and I call the international student office, whose staff has been completely helpful during this entire procedure and they explained that they will contact the individual responsible for school admission directly and that I would hear back from them the following day. At this point I thought, I’ve heard this all before, so long for my adventure, my future European education was coming to a halt even before it started, as my expectations were completely shattered.

The following night, I was headed to sleep and decided to check my emails once more. Lo and behold an email had been sent to me, not in the evening of course but had arrived in the inbox midday and somehow had been overlooked. Words of relief! “We have in fact received your emails and you will be contacted for an interview by our staff once the professors have reviewed your application and academic records.” (At this particular university the professors of the desired department gather and review the student’s records together and request a time from the future student to present to them their portfolio). I am now to wait further for the anticipated date to which I shall finally have my acceptance answer.

I have to say this admissions procedure is like climbing a ladder, every other rung breaks from under you but you are still able to move forward. Strange analogy I know, but this is a strange process to a stranger in a strange land.

That’s all for now, until next time!

Clayton

Clayton Winston Johans

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China and Fraud…an On-going Problem

01/21/16

chinafraud

In a recent article in The Boston Globe the spotlight was back on China and the “wave of admissions fraud striking U.S. schools.” The issue of fraudulent transcripts from China is not new to those of us involved in the evaluation of international academic credentials. I still remember one of my colleagues, a senior evaluator at ACEI, who had traveled to Beijing several years ago and had first hand eye witness experience with fraud. She had visited a bookstore in Beijing and when she used its back door to exist into the alley she had come face to face with a vendor who had on display a wide range of blank diplomas and transcripts bearing the names of known Chinese universities. For a fee, a person could purchase a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or a Doctorate, in a major of their choosing from Beijing University or Shanghai University and present said document to prospective employer or unsuspecting college admissions officer overseas. I can still hear how flabbergasted my colleague was from the tone of her email. She couldn’t believe her eyes that this was happening in public and in broad daylight.

When it comes to college admission, falsifications of documents from China covers everything that plays a part in the U.S. institution’s decision process, starting with paying someone else to complete the application and essay, to fraudulent letters of recommendation, financial statements, passports, SAT and English language proficiency test scores, to academic transcripts and diplomas/degrees. It is, therefore, unfortunate and an occupational hazard but we cannot not speak of Chinese educational credentials without having our dander up and be suspicious of their authenticity.

When it comes to academic documents, especially those from China, it is more of a case of guilty before proven innocent. At the moment, the one approach most of us involved in credential evaluations, at least those of us who work for companies that are approved and endorsed by the Association of International Credential Evaluators, require our Chinese students to first have their academic documents verified by either one of the following 2 non-governmental Ministry of Education designated entities in China: China Academic Degrees and Graduate Education Development Center (CDGDC) and China Higher Education Students Information and Career Center (CHESICC).  This step in our evaluation process has proven very effective.  (Just to be sure, in case you’re wondering, we don’t receive any fees or royalties from these entities.) Those students who have nothing to hide, contact either one of these entities, depending on the type of verification required and request to have their verified academic documents sent directly to our company. And then there are those who put up a big fuss, claiming it to be an inconvenience and costly (yes, the CDGDC and CHESICC do charge the student a fee for the verification). The bigger fuss they make, the more insistent we are in the verification. If there is no problem with their documents, then obtaining the verification should be a piece of cake.

We recently had an applicant from China who submitted photocopies (not original or official) of his academic transcripts and refused to go through the CDGDC for the verification.  As a rule, we do not accept just photocopies of academic documents for evaluation from anyone and anywhere. This individual was incredulous and did not want to have his documents verified and even accused us of being ‘unethical,’ which is an interesting twist on using reverse psychology to win a point.

According to the article in The Boston Globe: “Justice Department officials (in the U.S.) in  May (2015) charged 15 Chinese, including a Northeastern University student, in a testing scheme in which some students paid others as much as $6,000 each to take their SAT and English proficiency tests. Students in China ordered fake passports and sent them to co-conspirators in Pennsylvania, who took their exams.” The article continues: “More than 8,000 Chinese students were expelled from US universities in 2014, according to a report by WholeRen Education, a Pittsburg-based education consultancy). Around 80 percent of the cases involved poor grades or cheating.”

Bottom line is, given that the U.S. continues to be the preferred destination for Chinese students for study, cheating on their U.S. college applications and transcripts will prevail. U.S. schools need not be blinded by full-paying international students, especially from China to boost their budgets. If all U.S. schools implement a strict verification policy, they not only benefit from capitalizing on the international student but also enjoy the peace of mind that their admission decision was based on bona fide and legitimate documents.


The Frustrated Evaluator
www.acei1.com

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Bier, Buchs, and Bureaucracy: The journey of an American International student in Germany

12/17/15

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Guten Morgen meine freunds!

It has been a week and a day since I arrived in the Old World and my experience thus far has definitely been an interesting one.

Jet lag is still taking its toll, but slowly and surely I’m adjusting. The weather here is surprisingly pleasant, no thanks to rising global temperatures. Albeit, it is nice to arrive in a place in which winter has usually an oppressively bitter hold on daily life. But on average, the sun is out and there is no sign of snow or ice anywhere. People are out and about riding bikes or walking to work.

Over the course of the week, I have seen several refugee families and many refugee housing developments; usually reissued shipping containers for functional modular construction which are sprouting all around the city. Cool thing is, the German government wants integration, so they don’t make a “ghetto” and instead place all of the refugees in one or two parts of the city. The refugee housing developments are interspersed so as to minimize segregation. Seeing this really puts things in perspective for me. Here I am, a white American male, not bringing with me any heart-held entitlement but with the privilege and choice to immigrate to this country just because I want to better my education. I find myself stressing over the ordeals of travel and applying online to a school and taking for granted my situation. But it all goes away when you see how other people struggle just to live, and how people reach out to help one another in times of incredible crisis.

The other day I rode my bike along the river for about 15 minutes to the art school to which I am applying. I had been having trouble online with my application form, and found that a technical error was hindering my application process so I thought it best to consult a school official on the matter. Once inside the remodeled industrial harbor side warehouse that now housed the education institution, I had to figure out who the heck I was supposed to speak with in regards to several questions I had and my troubles with the online error. When I found the International Student Office, I was able to speak with an extremely helpful representative who informed me what to do and whom to speak with. I was referred to the school’s Registrar’s Office. Imagine that! A school problem? Go to the school Registrar. Why didn’t I think of this?! I must have been so flustered by the process itself that it slipped my mind. So I thanked and said farewell to the International Student Officer, took the elevator to the 3rd floor and walked down the hall to the Registrar’s office. Of course, the Registrar wasn’t in her office until 15:00 PM (3:00pm) that day and at the moment it was 11:30.  I took the phone number down and I rode home with intent to call and get my answers over the telephone.

When I got home from the school I called the registrar. I’ve never heard of such a Registrar in the US education system who tackles so many student and personal issues. Obviously there is a different understanding in both the job description and probably definition of “Registrar” here in Germany as opposed to the US. I say this because the registrar helped me with everything. I was all questions and she was all answers.

Now that my application error has been cleared up, I have successfully submitted my application and await an acceptance notice from the school. Once I received word that my application has been processed, I will have to have my transcripts from the US sent to school in Germany. As this procedure continues, I marvel at how lax it all seems to be. I have come here with the American mind set of “Let’s get everything done quickly and promptly” so as to ensure I get a spot in the semester come 2016. My hasty-anxious mindset has been repeatedly confronted and suppressed by a more relaxed and calm outlook presented by all of the school officials I have henceforth interacted with. It’s quite amazing, and as time goes on I think it’s this slow, “everything in time and in its place if you will,” attitude that is indicative of the surrounding cultural aura.

After submitting the application, I received an automatic reply thanking me for my interest and my time invested in the application process and an assurance that I will be contacted by school officials on the status of my application as soon as possible.

Sigh of relief.

All I am waiting for now is for the print shop to finish printing my some images for my portfolio and a response from the school before the end of the month.

At this point I think I it is safe to say that I am slowly starting to embrace this calm and stable mindset when it comes to handling the many more trials to come in my education adventures.

That’s all for now folks,

Bis Bald!

Clayton

Clayton Winston Johans

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