The changing face of international students in US

intl students in US 2014

 

The number of international students admitted in the United States in 2014 is now on its record high. 886,000 – a significant 8% increase compared to last year – is already a burgeoning figure, and this trend continues to increase. What does this mean then? The world still puts its confidence in the superpower – not so much in its ability to lead the global geopolitical order anymore, but rather in its ability to deliver quality education and boundless opportunities to succeed (the American dream to some extent still works). Having nearly half a trillion US$ to spend every year in research, why waste this chance?

But what really strikes out is the structure of international students nowadays. As you can see from the picture above, nearly one-third of all these students originate simply from one country: China. Despite China’s rise as a major, global power, many of these people, exhausted by the country’s over-competitive curriculum system, now resort to overseas studies as an alternative for either their children or themselves to grow. US, in fact, turns out to be the most favored destination. And guess what? 50% of all international students in the country are based simply from three Asian countries: China, India, and South Korea (the third being a principal US ally).

Read the summarized report in Science Magazine to know more about this trend.

 

And download the infographic to learn more about the facts.

IIE – Open Doors 2014 -Infographic -InternationalStudents

Africans in Guangzhou – ‘Chocolate City’

africans in guangzhou

 

Migration has been a continuous trait in human journeys across the world, one continent and beyond. Globalization, in fact, makes it even more intensive, and more complicating than ever; as many as 250 million people over the planet – that’s a quarter billion – are now living outside their home countries, and it is rapidly increasing higher than ever.

Global migration changes the demographic faces of countries, cities, and societies; they also transform how people perceive of social and cultural fabric within their neighborhood, forcing them to rethink about ‘durability’. As changes are always constant and imminent, people, like it or not, must be prepared for changes.

Guangzhou, one of China’s largest cities, is one example. Populated by over 10 million people, this city, once nearly homogenously Chinese, has seen a drastic influx of African migrants, all of whom are in search of better life. Between 20,000 and 200,000 Africans, scattered across dozens of countries over the continent, are now calling this metropolis ‘their second home’. They don’t simply set up businesses, earn money, and leave it; they are meant to inhabit it. Some marry local women, and now, a whole new generation of ‘Afro-Chinese’ children are now growing up in Guangzhou. It’s something no one had imagined three decades earlier, when everyone was busy about market reforms.

 

View the whole slides in Al Jazeera to understand better about this brand-new community.

Extreme Wealth Is Bad for Everyone—Especially the Wealthy

wealthy not happy

 

The addendum of conventional success we have mostly adhered to sounds like this: “the more you achieve, the more dissatisfied you must be to continually perpetuate your success.” As creatures induced by desires and wants, it is inevitable for us to crave for some things, and try to do something, or anything, to get what we look out for. This applies for all the history, and it is also a driving force that makes our society advance.

But does ‘the more, the merrier’ rule apply indefinitely? If everything were left unconstrained, you would definitely encounter a perfect inequality. A ‘winner-takes-all’ situation where, in a realm of limited resources, people are racing savagely to gain something, like a zero-sum competition. And here, inequality has become one issue. It is not that competition is bad; we are, instead, being faced with ‘free-for-all’ mindset. And too much of it is increasingly a bad thing, not a good thing after all.

Read the full article in New Republic about the growing inequality in United States, and what should, ideally, be done about it.

 

Excerpt:

 

Billionaires seems to have been sparked by West’s belief that rich people, newly empowered to use their money in politics, are now more likely than usual to determine political outcomes. This may be true, but so far the evidenceand evidence here is really just a handful of anecdotessuggests that rich people, when they seek to influence political outcomes, often are wasting their money. Michael Bloomberg was able to use his billions to make himself mayor of New York City (which seems to have worked out pretty well for New York City), but Meg Whitman piled $144 million of her own money in the streets of California and set it on fire in her failed attempt to become governor. Mitt Romney might actually have been a stronger candidate if he had less money, or at least had been less completely defined by his money. For all the angst caused by the Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson and their efforts to unseat Barack Obama, they only demonstrated how much money could be spent on a political campaign while exerting no meaningful effect upon it.

As West points out, many rich people are more interested in having their way with specific issues than with candidates, but even here their record is spotty. Perhaps they are having their way in arguments about raising federal estate tax; but the states with the most billionaires in them, California and New York, have among the highest tax rates on income and capital gains. If these billionaires are seeking, as a class, to minimize the sums they return to society, they are not doing a very good job of it. But of course they aren’t seeking anything, as a class: it’s not even clear they can agree on what their collective interests are. The second richest American billionaire, Warren Buffett, has been quite vocal about his desire for higher tax rates on the rich. The single biggest donor to political campaigns just now is Tom Steyer, a Democrat with a passion for climate change. And for every rich person who sets off on a jag to carve California into seven states, or to defeat Barack Obama, there are many more who have no interest in politics at all except perhaps, in a general way, to prevent them from touching their lives. Rich people, in my experience, don’t want to change the world. The world as it is suits them nicely.

JT Singh gets the Internet ‘shanghaied’

 

A few months ago, JT Singh and Rob Whitworth shook the Internet with their lively city-branding portrayal of Pyongyang, a city otherwise known for its totalitarian, robot-like population as always perceived by media influence.

This time, Internet gets ‘Shanghaied’, as the word implies, from this China’s most populous metropolis. Once a city with empty skyline three decades ago, today, the number of skyscrapers has surpassed 4,000 – according to Whitworth, twice the number of those in New York City, the pioneer of ‘corporate cathedrals’. Even with 4,000, this is already a breathtaking fact. Welcome to the future.

Hmm, they should try Hong Kong next time. It even has 8,000 skyscrapers, no match for the world ranks.

Infographic: Common Mythconceptions

common mythconceptions

 

As many as 52 debunked myths are included in this interactive picture. To make it more symbolic, do please memorize each of these facts every week – memorize until it becomes tattooed in your brain – as one year consists of the similar number of weeks. Hope this changes our perspectives (though there are still very likely people who will stick to their conspiratorial mindsets).

Click the picture for wholly full version.

 

Source: Information Is Beautiful

From Africa, to Norway…

Does Africa still need charity, aid, development funds, assistance funds, all you name it, in this century? When you look out at how media often treats the continent – instead of looking it as ‘a continent of 54 nations with varying cultures, backgrounds, and differing interests and strengths’ – as some sort of ‘deplorable entity’, and how it desperately needs international communities for interference in even most basic fields, do we really assume that Africans are so ill-trained that they can even hardly control the most rudimentary needs in their lives?

There’s a wrong mindset that has been circulated for a very long time, and it continues to be perpetuated. Few reports tell us about how Nigeria and Senegal can successfully avoid Ebola cases into a massive outbreak, or how most of the continent remains safe from the pandemic (save for a few small countries in West Africa), or even how, despite a currently high malnutrition rate, the middle-class is rapidly rising in the whole continent? Are we doing all these things for the sake of Africa, or for the good sake of our own goodwill for international reputation?

Eh, okay, this sounds a bit too serious. Forget these words, just watch the video, released by SAIH, a Norwegian-based international development organization (with somehow satirical, farcical-looking videos). I don’t want this post ends up being something like Upworthy.

Bonus: Africans sing together for Norwegians affected by a longitudinal period of Arctic-like weather in this ‘Africa for Norway’ parody. Nah, just a bloke joke for self-serving people who ‘do good’ for the continent.