This is an interesting blog post by Dr. Mark Ashwill on his blog “An International Educator in Vietnam.”
The reality of violence–particularly gun violence–in the USA and how quickly and widespread that this news is disseminated in media outlets around the world is definitely a factor that we face as we recruit international students.
For my part, it is embarrassing to be at an international recruitment event when I have to face a potential student or their parents ask me about safety, about the issues of mass shootings on college campuses, etc. What do you say to someone who is afraid to send their child to the USA, even to a community as safe as mine?
Even more embarrassing and concerning to me are the anti-Muslim rhetoric and racist sentiments that are pervasive among our local and federal leadership, as well as other public figures. Their comments certainly make my already-challenging job much more difficult!
The current global economic and political climate are already presenting major challenges for international recruitment. Between lower oil prices that are decreasing revenue in Middle Eastern nations–several of which provide government-backed scholarships, economic turmoil in markets like China and Brazil, the high cost of education in the USA, etc., international recruitment is certainly challenging enough. But when you add xenophobic rhetoric from public figures to the mix–as well as a basic standstill in DC when it comes to dealing with these problems–we basically have our own leadership working against us.
Even those who do not have a personal passion for international education can at least look at the industry logically and appreciate what international students do for us. Besides the social and cultural contributions that these students make in our classes and activities, we also should remember that these students make a major impact on our economy (see the NAFSA International Economic Value Tool).
For many of us, our livelihoods depend on international students–so xenophobic rhetoric and policies are not the appropriate response to what is, at a basic level, a problem with our domestic policy.
Thank you to Dr. Ashwill for posting such interesting food for thought.
America’s Love Affair with Guns & the Potential Impact on International Student Recruitment
We have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere in the world.
Exceptional indeed. Another day in the US, another mass shooting. Aside from the tragic fact that another 14 innocents were slaughtered and 17 people injured, physically and psychologically, in an attack at a San Bernadino center for people with developmental disabilities, no less, and all of the pain and sadness that entails, including the psychic suffering that survivors and their family members will have to endure for the rest of their lives, there is also a ripple effect that spans the globe for those considering the USA as an overseas study destination and those who recruit these students.
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