Globalisation has led to a world without borders. According to the latest release of Education at a Glance 2017, it demonstrates a fast-growing tertiary population worldwide, alongside the consistent expansion in education through the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) region. On the global forefront, the Education at a Glance 2017 underscored the significant increment in global student mobility, particularly from 1990 to 2010. The number of international higher education students escalated exponentially during that period, and is estimated at almost five million today. According to OECD, the total number of international mobile scholars has been projected to hit eight million by 2025.
International migrant scholars play a crucial role towards a nation’s knowledge economy and labor market, particularly for advanced nations with greying population. They have come to recognise the need for highly skilled professionals and are eager to implement strategies that will help attract them to move across borders.
Read about what three international students from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (WKWSCI) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have to say about leaving global footprints in the pursuit of a higher education.
Colwin Tanhehco, Master of Mass Communication
Colwin Tanhehco arrived at Singapore from the Philippines in 2015 to pursue a master’s degree in communications at the WKWSCI, turning down full scholarships from Tsinghua and Fudan University.
During his tenure at the university, Tanhehco took on the role of a research assistant to gain experience in data collection research. A conference paper which he had worked on with academics at NTU was even accepted by the International Communication Association.
Tanhehco secured a job at Apple’s headquarters in Singapore through the recommendation by one of his classmates in the graduate programme. Working as a data analyst, his responsibilities include the grading and analysing of information relevant to the Asia-Pacific region.
“For us communication professionals, it’s always about being versatile to whatever medium we are required to work with, all the while finding a way to stay updated with the current goings-on”, Tanhehco quipped.
Adam Hogue, Master of Mass Communication
Prior to joining the graduate programme at WKWSCI in 2016, Adam Hogue was working in the field of public relations and global communications in Tokyo, Japan. However, his career was faced with a lack of progression and he encountered obstacles during his search for new career prospects. “I was hitting the barrier where the prerequisite was that I needed to have a master’s degree” said Hogue.
Besides the graduate programme at WKWSCI and the faculty’s prominent reputation that attracted Hogue to Singapore, it is the culture here that sealed the deal for him. Singapore seems to be the right fit for him because its stature of being a multicultural society. “I think that it’s a good experience for anyone to work outside of their comfort zone, especially in a place that is very different from you used to be operating,” he said.
Theresia Marten, Bachelor of Communication Studies
Theresia Marten is an undergraduate at the WKWSCI from Palembang, Indonesia who felt disengaged in the predominantly English-speaking setting. Hence, during her third year at the university, she taught herself coding and often utilises it to express her thoughts via diagrams and infographics.
“What really matters is putting simple visual elements in an easy-to-follow order on a webpage,” Marten said. “Having an aesthetically pleasing user interface is good, but making its content understandable yet engaging is what makes it great.”
Marten currently works as a marketing and publication relations executive at a software consultancy firm where she took on the additional responsibility of designing her company’s chatbot website without any extra pay.
In the same year during her time at WKWSCI, Marten made an extensive revamp to the NTU’s Indonesian Student Association, and later managed to acquire an internship with Resorts World Sentosa as an e-commerce and digital marketing intern. Marten believes her coding skills was what secured her the semester-long stint.
Marten envisions a promising future in the coding landscape with the continuous technological advancement; and strives to be a front-end developer.
These international migrant scholars’ contribution goes beyond the higher education landscape.
By having them move across borders in the pursuit of education based on the outstanding reputation of universities can help receiving countries acquire more highly-skilled talents necessary for a sustainable economy and society.
University rankings help to heighten the international recognition of tertiary institution and establish confidence in potential international students who are considering pursuing an overseas education. Students are opting for a higher education today for very realistic reasons: to enhance employment opportunities, earn a higher income and to acquire a reputable job. Hence, when these individuals are provided with quality education from prominent institutions that can aid in increasing their employment opportunities, in return they may remain in the receiving countries and contribute to the society through their field of specialisation.
Therefore, universities play a critical role today. A healthy competition among universities through rankings can help them to remain competitive and establish a global reputation that is essential for attracting talented individuals.
The opinions expressed above are those of the editor and not necessarily those of QS Asia.
Participate in the upcoming QS in conversation seminar held from 7-9 February 2018 in London, UK and join academics from around the world in the discussion on University Rankings and International Migrant Scholars.