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The decision to study abroad is not made lightly. It’s a complex decision, entrenched in career, employability, lifestyle goals, and perhaps even migration,” said MSM Higher Ed president Donna.

View from the Forest Recap: International student decisions

In the middle of the holiday season last year, MSM Higher Ed president Donna Hooker dedicated a “View from the Forest” episode for international students, and explored what it was like for them to make such life-changing decisions. Donna laid out the complications in the short-term.

“This holiday season will be the most challenging for international students,” said Donna. “Facing social distancing, isolation, border closures and travel restrictions, students couldn’t join face-to-face classes or go home for the holidays.

The MSM Higher Ed president also shared how she’s had the privilege of meeting families from countries around the world, with members getting ready for study abroad. While this makes her beam with pride, being a part of their journeys, she’s also had the opportunity to learn of the several burdens international students face before deciding on studying abroad.

“The decision to study abroad is not made lightly. It’s a complex decision, entrenched in career, employability, lifestyle goals, and perhaps even migration,” Donna said. She called these decisions “sacrificial.”

“Studying abroad can be a sacrificial decision that requires leaving the safety of a loving family often for a very long time.”

Donna related to the topic being a mother herself. She could only imagine seeing her child leave for foreign lands in search of better educational opportunities.

“From my own perspective as a parent, it can also mean letting go of your most precious, treasured possession to go off to the unknown.” Donna also understands that the burden could also be a financial one, as she has met students who have had their entire family—even extended family—pool their resources so that student could pursue study abroad.

The decisions do not start and end as the students begin their journey. Upon reaching their host country, students have to wrestle with numerous decisions that could make or break their schooling. There is that decision to be stronger than missing home. There is that decision to be financially responsible. There is that decision of staying true to the plan for a brighter future. All these, an international student tackles and responds to.

When the subject of “non-educational goals” arose, Donna challenged international students to reflect on their motives. On the part of MSM Higher Ed and all its managed colleges, Donna said that a student’s aspirations “drive MSM schools to make an international experience accessible to all students.” 

Donna concluded on a high note, praising how higher education institutions from around the world have adapted the use of technology during the pandemic. “Thanks to technology and online education platforms, education transcends borders. While travel is limited for international students, connecting to families and loved ones and pursuing the dream of studies continues to be possible.”

Watch Episode 6 here. For more “View from the Forest” episodes, check out the MSM Higher Ed YouTube channel and click subscribe for more videos.

DONNA HOOKER

President, MSM Higher Ed

Donna Hooker has worked in the international education field for 30 years. She has a comprehensive knowledge of policy and practise in the public post-secondary education system in British Columbia, Canada and worldwide. She is a past board chair for the BC Centre for International Education and has held senior management roles at BC Institute for Technology, Vancouver Community College, and most recently at Capilano University.

VIEW FROM THE FOREST

Donna Hooker, MSM Higher Ed President

Donna Hooker, MSM Higher Ed President, takes you to her lush home in Upper Fraser Valley, British Columbia to talk about different trends and issues affecting the international education industry. Watch, learn and subscribe to the channel to get her invaluable vlog series, “View from the Forest.”

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ABOUT MSM HIGHER ED

MSM Higher Ed offers education management solutions that create opportunities for students while building capacity for international student enrollment and new revenue streams for partner institutions. Through viable public-private partnerships (PPPs), licensing agreements, program pathways based on articulation arrangements and pan-national and transnational program delivery, we create opportunities for students to earn career-oriented credentials preparing their career or academic advancement. MSM Higher Ed manages private institutions Eton College Canada, Q College, Q Academy, Taylor Pro College, Extreme Pro Training, and College Multihexa.

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