New US STEM OPT fields, Nigerians request to skip IELTS, Afghanistan universities reopening, and more in intl ed

Note From the Editor
Friendlier student visa policies are happening in the United States and the United Kingdom amid the persisting travel restrictions. Meanwhile, there are movements being made to help Nigerian students with costly IELTS exams. In Afghanistan, public universities are reopening, although education for young women still faces a huge room for improvement. Despite challenging times, good forces in the international education space globally are enabling reformations that will make studying abroad more accessible to all.

US Launches 22 New Stem OPT Fields, Aims To Enroll 20M International Students by 2029

The Biden administration has updated its policy by offering 22 new STEM fields to the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program. These 22 new fields of study are Bioenergy, General Forestry, Forest Resources Production and Management, Human-Centered Technology Design, Cloud Computing, Anthrozoology, Climate Science, Earth Systems Science, Economics and Computer Science, Environmental Geosciences, Geobiology, Geography and Environmental Studies, Mathematical Economics, General Data Analytics and Quantitative Methods. Students enrolled in STEM fields are eligible to apply for a 36-month visa extension under OPT. 

Why an International Student in Winnipeg Made a PowerPoint About Winter Boots
International student Prateek Malhotra came from India to Winnipeg, and had spent some time getting the right pair of winter boots. Footwear can be costly and getting the wrong one simply leads to inconvenience, which prompted Prateek to present a topic to his class about how he went about his hunt for the right pair. He hoped that his presentation would greatly help newcomers and their journey in countries with the cold winter season.

CBC

UK’s New Visa Rules Will Help Attract Indian Students 
The UK’s new graduate visa enables the Indian students to spend up to two years working in the UK after their studies (3 years for PhDs). According to Lord Karan Bilimoria, the new visa will help attract Indian students to the UK and give them the motivation to take the opportunity of experiencing academic and student life in Britain. Lord Bilimoria is the current and seventh Chancellor of the University of Birmingham and the first Indian-born Chancellor of a Russell Group University in Great Britain. 

CBC

Statistics Show Irish People Are the Most Interested in Online Courses in EU

Students or at least people looking to learn in Ireland are mostly going for online courses. Around 27 percent of people in the European Union who are between 16 and 74 years old attended an online course or made use of online learning material, an increase from 23 percent of people doing so in 2020 per reports, and Ireland had the highest percentage of all those from the EU. Additionally, 46 percent of Irish citizens and residents went for online learning and resources.

COVID Halved International Student Numbers In Australia
The pandemic created uncertainty and chaos about enrollments, quarantine requirements, flight availability, and border closures over the past two years. Students’ plans were put on hold and hung on the possibilities that they can still study and work in Australia. In 2019, global learners contributed an estimated $40.3 billion to the economy and the international education space supported about 250,000 jobs in Australia.

Drop in International Students Felt in South

International student numbers in the south of New Zealand continue to be affected by the pandemic-fuelled border restrictions. In 2019, about 3,000 international students attended at least one university in Otago. This year, the government has allowed access for 1000 foreign students to study in the country and only 300 of these are university students.

Significant Nonimmigrant Visa Fee Increase Expected by September

The Biden administration has proposed raising the fees on almost all nonimmigrant visas. Visa applications for tourism, B1 and B2, and student visas, F, M, J, will increase from $160 to $245, a 54% increase. Senior policy adviser to the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration Jill Welch said that they are still evaluating the potential impact of the proposed rule on international student flows to the United States. International student career expert in Washington Marcelo Barros said that the increase in nonimmigrant visa fees will not have any meaningful impact on students’ enrollment.

Not All University Students in Manitoba Ready to Return to the Classroom

A university in Manitoba, Canada has announced the return of in-person classes after winter break, but the students think otherwise. Adherence to protocols like social distancing and self-isolation requirements are obvious concerns, but international students currently in their home countries are pushing for a settlement of remote learning instead.

Int’l Students Entering Taiwan Between Feb. 15 – 28 Cannot Use Government Quarantine Facilities

As the increase in COVID-19 cases pose the risk of reaching capacity in Taiwanese government quarantine facilities, the Ministry of Education announced that domestic arrivals will be prioritized in these facilities. This results in international students entering Taiwan being deferred to designated hotels between February 15-28. Higher education institutions that are expecting inbound foreign students are required to properly notify global learners and education staff about the recent change.

Afghanistan: Students Welcome Reopening of Universities

The students of the Taliban-ruled Afghanistan see a glimmer of hope as decisions were made to reopen the universities in the Islamic Emirate. The Taliban’s Ministry of Higher Education announced recently that all public universities in warm areas will reopen on February 2, while those in cold areas will reopen on February 26. Female students are, however, still only allowed to study up to sixth grade.

IELTS: UK Home Office Reacts to Nigerians’ Call to Skip English Proficiency Test

While a petition on change.org has garnered 60,000 signatures to stop foreign universities from requesting English proficiency tests from Nigerians, the United Kingdom Home Office said that changes will not be implemented anytime soon. Most foreign universities demand an IELTS requirement for international students, but these tests are costly for many aspiring global learners in Nigeria. The author of the petition, Policy Shapers, is keen on holding a stakeholders strategy session to further plan and decide on the next steps.

Scottish Universities See Continued Drop in Number of EU Students Due to Brexit

Although there was a decline in the number of students from the European Union studying in Scotland due to Brexit, there was a recorded 8.6 increase in the overall record number of students in universities in Scotland. This increase is also noticed among international students, signaling that Scotland remains an attractive destination for prospective global learners.

Featured Institution: Collège Multihexa

Since 1986, in the province of Quebec, Multihexa has been known as one of the first private companies in Canada to have made computer training its primary focus. The College is located in a building in which 10 companies operate in information technology including the multinational CGI, one of the largest concentrations of IT companies in Saguenay and one of the most important in Quebec. With more than 1,200 trained IT students, and over 25 years of teaching experience, Multihexa is a good choice for international students who are after high employability. Additionally, Saguenay offers tons of activities, affordable lodging, and a low cost of living from which international students can benefit, and Collège Multihexa offers quality internships and a high potential for employment.

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Featured Program: Business Administration, Web and Digital Marketing Strategy (Diploma)

The Business Administration, Web And Digital Marketing Strategy (Diploma) program provides students with the fundamentals of business administration skills along with the essential skills needed to develop and design websites. The students also learn industry and business skills such as cross-cultural communications, computer literacy, and numeracy. It also develops a basic knowledge of management, accounting, marketing, and many others. Students will also develop practical skills in maintaining WordPress websites and HTML/CSS, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and managing Multi-Channel Digital Marketing. A final course is a capstone project defined by the students to develop a business plan, establish a new system, develop a new product or service, and solve a potential business problem.

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International Education Conferences & Workshops

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in STEM: Practical Applications for the Classroom
February 4, 2022 in Greensboro, North Carolina, United States
February 7–10, 2022, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
From Reflection to Reimagination: Making Excellence the “New Normal”
February 9–12, 2022, San Diego, United States
Why the Internationalization of Higher Education Still Matters
February 21–23, 2022 in New Orleans, United States
February 24–25, 2022, Washington, United States
Education, Learning, Teaching, e-Learning, English Language Teaching (ELT) and Foreign Language Teaching (FLT).
February 25–27, 2022, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Reunited & Ready to Revolutionize: Embracing the Future of International Education
March 3-7, 2022, New Orleans, United States
Why the Internationalization of Higher Education Still Matters
February 21-23, 2022, New Orleans, Los Angeles
March 5-7, 2022, San Diego, United States
Upholding These Truths: Equity, Diversity, and Democracy
March 17-19, 2022, New Orleans, LA
March 21-25, 2022 in Chicago, IL & Online
March 22 to 23, 2022
Chelsea Football Stadium, London, United Kingdom
March 22–24, 2022, in Kyiv, Ukraine
March 24 to 26, 2022 (Online)
March 27 to 31, 2022 in Vancouver, Canada
May 18 to 20, 2022 in Barcelona, Spain
Building Our Sustainable Future
May 31 to June 3, 2022 in Denver, Colorado, USA
Facing the Future, Creating Academic Talent
May 31-June 2, 2022, Aichi, Japan
Inclusive Education and Research
June 21-23, 2022, Mississauga, Canada
September 13 to 16, 2022 in Barcelona, Spain
October 25-28, 2022, Dublin, Ireland
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