EIC Completes Building a School in Guatemala

Envisage International is spending one week in Guatemala building an elementary school in the community of Patzalam Choacaman through School the World. We’ve partnered with IvyWise and Flywire for a joint total of 21 volunteers. Read on to hear our story unfold as a school is built.

Day 6: Yesterday was a day of mixed emotions: happiness, anticipation, excitement, joy, love and sadness were all there. The school and play ground were finally complete and it was time to celebrate and officially open the school at the dedication ceremony. As we pulled up to the school, the gravel road that’s normally lined with grass on either side was now wedged between two rows of cars. The entire community had been preparing for and waiting for us to join the ceremony. A tarp covered the space in front of the school where we spent the past week mixing concrete, and the shovels, buckets and wheel barrows had been replaced by small wooden chairs, a sounds system and beautiful banners for the event.

Once we were all seated the celebration started with beautiful thank you messages from members of the community, children, and the vice Mayor. By grade, the children then performed songs and dances and even brought members of the crowd up to join for a dance. Traditional and modern music alike filled the air as the children performed their meticulously orchestrated routines. After the performances it was time to cut the ribbon into the playground of the new school. The Vice Mayor of Santa Cruz del Quiche and Natalie from School the World did the honors and cut the shiny blue ribbon. There was a sea of applause and a mad rush through the fence gate as it swung open. Children ran to the monkey bars and began swinging right away, a smaller blue ribbon tied off the slide prompting a line to form halfway around the playground. After the slide ribbon was cut, a steady line of both children and volunteers made their way through and down the metal piece of equipment. All of the volunteers, school staff and leaders of the community eventually filtered into one side of the new school and were treated to a lunch of soda, grapes, apples, and tamales made by women in the community.

With full bellies we returned to the playground and soccer field where the children had also already returned. After another hour of playing and taking pictures it was time for us to head to Antigua for the evening. The sharing of goodbye and adios sparked many tears for the children and quickly spread to the volunteers and a few parents. There was a steady stream of hugs, some children coming back for three or four rounds. Final pictures were taken, and we loaded into our vans. We waved goodbye and headed back down the gravel road that had become so familiar to us during the week, for the very last time.

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EIC Nears the End of Their Journey

Envisage International is spending one week in Guatemala building an elementary school in the community of Patzalam Choacaman through School the World. We’ve partnered with IvyWise and Flywire for a joint total of 21 volunteers. Read on to hear our story unfold as a school is built.

Day 5: This was our last day working on the school and we only had half the day to get as much work done as possible. Our time was spent on the final coat of paint both inside and outside of the school, and finishing pouring the concrete on the playground. Members of the community mixed the concrete and poured it into buckets- from there we organized an assembly line to get the concrete from the mixing area into the fenced-in play area. All 21 volunteers had a job in line, and together we got the job done.

Knowing that our time together was dwindling, the children went around to each of us during breaks asking for our signature and home base location to be written with their notebook. We all signed, making accompanying pictures or notes. During recess we kept the students busy with hopscotch, soccer and learning to make flowers from pipe cleaners. Not knowing how to play hopscotch or make designs from pipe cleaners, Dana and Annemarie lead the pack by showing them what to do and having each child who wanted to follow. They caught on right away and filled their time jumping from one chalk number to the next and crafting beautiful flowers and other small designs.

Those who chose to play soccer were very familiar with the sport and ran down to the field right away. Not yet having official soccer goals, we marked either side of the “goal” with short sticks and let the game begin. As we continued to play we had many other students join in and it became more fun with each goal.

That day we ate lunch on the way to a local market where we bartered for beautiful hand-crafted goods like blankets, purses, bracelets, hammocks and jackets. The market was swarming with people and there was no shortage of local goods to take home to friends and family. After we all had full bags and empty wallets we headed back to our hotel to prepare for a delicious and engaging dinner with the mayor of Santa Cruz del Quiche.

Day five was a success and it’s with bittersweet anticipation we wait for the dedication ceremony. Check back on our blog and social media to see how we will celebrate the new school with the community.

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Educational Institutions Get Creative Around Limiting Cell Phone Use

There’s no question that the use of smart phones is wide spread throughout educational institutions in the US. A visit to any college or university campus provides insight into the fact that domestic and international students alike enjoy smartphone screen time. Fifty-four percent of college age students said that they use cell phones during class to text friends and browse social media, according to a Student Pulse survey by Top Hat. Although smartphones are convenient, especially for an international student trying to navigate their way around a new country while staying in touch with back home, many schools are starting to act when it comes to limiting cell phone use among students- and they’re finding some creative ways.

One such way is by offering students a reward for surrendering their phones during class. In a recent article by FacultyFocus it discusses how one college professor proposed to his students that if they were to bring their phones to the front of the class for the entire session they would receive extra credit. The professor was shocked when every student took him up on his offer, without even knowing how much extra credit they would receive.

In other locations, like at Hill Circuit Street charter school in Boston, they have started “locking-up” cell phones during school hours, according to a recent article from NPR. Each student receives a pouch they place their cell phone in at the beginning of each day. Students are not able to unlock their phones until the school day is complete. The school has reported seeing great results in this method including students being more engaged inside the classroom and social with each other. Although many students are finding it difficult to adjust to not having their phones during school hours, others like senior Yalena Terrero Martinez, are able to see the benefit of the new rule.

“Oh my gosh, all my friends would be like on their phones during lunch, and I was just sitting there staring out the window, waiting for a conversation to spark up,” Martinez says. “But now, like, we talk a lot more.”

Although excessive cell phone use on campuses does not have a one size fits all solution, many schools are getting creative and testing the waters to find a solution that works at their institution.

Is your institution doing anything to encourage students to put down their phone and start a conversation with friends?

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EIC Gets a Personal Home Tour on Day Four of Their School the World Trip

Envisage International is spending one week in Guatemala building an elementary school in the community of Patzalam Choacaman through School the World. We’ve partnered with IvyWise and Flywire for a combined total of 21 volunteers. Read on to hear our story unfold as a school is built.

Day 4: Each morning on the drive to the school everyone is productive in their own way: applying sunscreen, snacking on fruit, or organizing their work bag for the day. However, the most productive of the bunch during those 30 minutes has been Ramez. Every day Ramez jumps into the passenger seat of the van with a pen and paper and learns as many Spanish words as possible as he speaks with our driver, Otto. Now in the fourth day he’s able to carry full conversations with the children and other members of the community.

As we arrive at the school on day four the Spanish lesson for Ramez stops and we all head down the hill to the school site. The children of Patzalam, Choacaman have perfected the skill of giving a warm welcome- that morning each female volunteer was met with a hand-made flower headband constructed from paper and paint. We took it as an opportunity to speak and take pictures with the children before our work projects were assigned and started working away.

Bright blue paint joined the already pale-yellow walls and as we painted we were divided into groups to tour a home within the community. Each group had a unique experience during the visits, but the consensus was that it was a humbling experience.

During one tour we started in the kitchen where we helped make tortillas and place them on the wood burning stove. Some had more luck than others as we threw the dough from one hand to the other, mixing just enough water in to keep it from sticking to our hands, and hoping to get it thin enough without tearing. The thinner the tortilla, the better the cook.

We then moved to the bedroom which housed clothes, shoes, daily necessities and multiple beds made of wood and blankets. A wooden ladder propped up against a small crawl space in the ceiling lead us to the attic where corn covered the floor to dry. Outside the bedroom a small hall lead us to a room that housed what appeared to be a large fireplace with a wooden bench and metal bucket inside. The host family explained it was a bathing and birthing room. Behind the house was a covered open-air room where they washed dishes and did other daily tasks. Horses, cows and chickens completed the breathtaking view of the mountainous countryside that was their back yard. Each of the volunteers had an eye-opening experience seeing what daily home life was like in Patzalam Choacaman.

The rest of the day was filled with soccer at recess, followed by mixing more concrete and painting the school both inside and out. We raced against the clock to get as much done as possible before waving adios to the children as we drove away down the gravel road. Day four was complete and we looked forward to returning for day five.

Make sure you keep updated as we work to complete the school. Visit our blog daily or find us on social media via #EICSchoolTheWorld2018 and #EnviFlyWiseSTW.

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EIC Makes Progress in Guatemala on Day Three

Envisage International is spending one week in Guatemala building an elementary school in the community of Patzalam Choacaman through School the World. We’ve partnered with IvyWise and Flywire for a combined total of 21 volunteers. Read on to hear our story unfold as a school is built.

Day 3: As soon as we arrived at the community yesterday morning our vans were swarmed by the excited children in the community- they were thrilled by our return. They greeted us with big smiles as they read each of our names from our new nametags. We were just as excited to see them and we all walked down the hill to the school site together, some of us hand in hand.

As the children started school we put on our gloves and got to work. It was our first full day of labor and progress was already being made! Most of the day was spent mixing concrete, and after hours of shoveling, mixing, and carrying buckets full of the grey sludge, half of the school had a floor.

Everyone put in many hours of hard work, but also had plenty of time to play with the children. During their recess we handed out small toys like bubbles, jump ropes, Frisbees and soccer balls and we all played the entire time until they were called back into class. Throughout the day we received numerous gifts from the children like small notes, drawings and hand-made yarn bracelets that they each tied onto our wrists.

At lunch we took a break to enjoy sandwiches and chips that we packed earlier in the day then jumped right back into work and started painting. We each grabbed rollers and brushes and coated the concrete brick walls with a pale-yellow paint. After two coats the walls seemed eager for children to fill the room.

Exhausted, covered in concreate and paint, and feeling accomplished, we headed home for the evening and made a well-deserved stop for ice cream along the way.

Keep updated on our progress each day as we share with you through our blog and on social media. Track our journey on Facebook and Twitter by searching #EICSchoolTheWorld2018 and #EnviFlyWiseSTW.

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EIC Meets the Community of Patzalam Choacaman

Envisage International is spending one week in Guatemala building an elementary school in the community of Patzalam Choacaman through School the World. We’ve partnered with IvyWise and Flywire for a combined total of 21 volunteers. Read on to hear our story unfold as a school is built.

Day 2: Through the mountains and one curve after the next we made our way from Antigua to the community of Patzalam Choacaman. Although we were tired from the four-hour drive and holding onto our seats at each hairpin turn, that feeling quickly faded as we all piled out of our caravan. In front of a backdrop of green mountains was the community of Patzalam Choacaman with handmade signs, balloons and eager smiles. Children, parents, siblings, the school principal, community leaders, and both the current and former mayor all gathered for our arrival to provide us with a warm welcome.

The children sang a beautiful song they had meticulously rehearsed, then grabbed a volunteer’s hand and walked us down the mountain to a grassy knoll. As we were lead into the open space we were greeted by celebratory firecrackers and received words of thanks from community members, parents and children. The entire community was thankful for our presence and we, as volunteers, were eager to both get to know the community and start helping them with the task at hand.

After an afternoon of playing games like duck, duck, goose, and a grand finale of piñata candy and popsicles, we moved on to the work site and started to get our hands dirty. Pick axes, shovels and buckets were the tools of the day as we dug holes and trenches. The work day was short, but progress could already be seen on the horizon.

Keep updated through our blog as we put in full days of work on the school this week.

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Envisage International Lands in Guatemala

Envisage International is spending one week in Guatemala building an elementary school in the community of Patzalam Choacaman through School the World. We’ve partnered with IvyWise and Flywire for a combined total of 21 volunteers. Read on to hear our story unfold as a school is built.

Day 1: We made it to Guatemala! Yesterday each member of the 2018 School the World Envisage International team arrived in Guatemala City, and after smooth flights we were received at the airport by Natalie and Anna from School the World who prepared us for the two-hour drive into Antigua with plenty of snacks. After what seemed like a 15-minute drive we arrived for an evening of exploration.

As we navigated our way through the cobblestoned streets of Antigua we were greeted by a plethora of kind smiles from locals, and vendors with colorful and tasty goods. As the sun started to set we met up with the volunteers from Flywire and IvyWise for dinner. Delicious local cuisine and great company was just the start of the evening. Having arrived on a Sunday during Lenten we were able to witness a truly spectacular procession from a bird’s eye view in our restaurant of the evening. The open balcony door replaced smells of rice, beans and chicken with ceremonial incense. Atop a sea of purple cucuruchos sat intricately adorned floats all in celebration of Lenten. It was a unique opportunity to watch this beautiful tradition before starting a week of hard work.

As the procession wound down so did we. We retired for the evening to prepare for our journey into Santa Cruz del Quiche the next morning to finally meet the community of Patzalam Choacaman. Keep updated on our journey this week through our blog as the real work begins and we start putting hammer to nail to build a school.

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Envisage International Partnered with School the World to Increase Accessibility of Education in Guatemala

Envisage International Partnered with School the World to Increase Accessibility of Education in GuatemalaOn March 4th eight volunteers from Envisage International will head to Guatemala to build a school and playground in the small community of Choacaman Patzalam. Envisage has partnered with IvyWise, the world’s leading educational consultancy, and Flywire, the premier provider of international payment, on this initiative through School the World (STW). There will be 21 total volunteers that head to Guatemala for one week to construct a school and playground in one of the country’s poorest communities.

“Together our three companies will fund and build a school in Guatemala, but School the World is an incredible organization that does so much more than just build schools.” says Keith Clausen, President of Envisage International. “By enlisting community and government support, training teachers and parents, building playgrounds and libraries and committing to each of their communities for at least 5 years, the School the World model ensures that education in those communities will be forever changed.”

School the World is a nonprofit organization with the goal to provide access for quality education to those living in the rural villages of Central America. STW first broke ground in Guatemala in 2009 and has since built 53 schools and 30 playgrounds, trained more than 255 teachers and enrolled nearly 6,400 students in Honduras and Guatemala combined.

Get Involved

Each volunteer has committed to fund-raising half of the cost of their participation, with the companies contributing the other half plus the necessary fixed amount to cover the hard costs of school construction. The overall fundraising goal is $105,000. If you would like to read more on how Envisage International partnered with School the World to increase accessibility of education in Guatemala, or to help support our initiative you can learn more on our fundraising page.

You can also follow the adventures of the 2018 EIC Guatemala team using the hashtags #EICSchoolTheWorld2018 and #EnviFlyWiseSTW.

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The Impact of Betsy DeVos on the For-Profit Education Sector

We all know that we now have a for-profit friendly administration, led by Betsy DeVos.  She has hired staff and attorneys that come from inside the for-profit industry.  Now her focus seems to be on changing the borrower defense rule and the gainful employment rule.  Both of these were implemented to protect students.  So what impact does Betsy DeVos have on the for-profit education sector?

The borrower defense rule was established to protect student loan borrowers by allowing them a path to cancel student loan debt if they were defrauded.  Now team DeVos is looking at ways to change that rule.  One proposal is to change the language to shift the burden of proof to the students.  Those in favor of students want to keep the “preponderance of evidence” language.  Those in the for-profit industry want it changed to “clear and convincing,” making students show proof they were defrauded.

Another proposed change that could have an impact on students that were defrauded by the likes of Corinthian and ITT Tech and that was recently announced by team DeVos, is that they might not wipe out all debt that students incurred at these schools.  Instead, they would look at the income of the former student vs the degree earned.  From that and some sort of formula they’ve created, they would determine how much debt would be forgiven. What’s the reason for the change from the previous administration? Betsy is concerned that students will defraud the institutions that defrauded them.

“No fraud is acceptable, and students deserve relief if the school they attended acted dishonestly,” DeVos said in a statement. “This improved process will allow claims to be adjudicated quickly and harmed students to be treated fairly. It also protects taxpayers from being forced to shoulder massive costs that may be unjustified.”

The gainful employment rule, established by the previous administration, measured debt to income ratios of students and put in place checks and balances for institutions. They gave programs a “pass” or “fail” grade. DeVos is now proposing they change the rule to give an “acceptable” grade to those within a certain debt to income ratio. Those that were deemed as failing now would have a “low-performing” grade.  In addition, those that were “low-performing” would only have to disclose that rating to students.

It will certainly be interesting to sit back and watch what impact Betsy Devos will have on the for-profit education sector in the upcoming year.  The changes to the borrower defense rule and the gainful employment rule could be just the tip of the iceberg.  She is certainly putting the interest of institutions first over those of the students.


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Top 10 International Education Predictions for 2018

1 End of the Mandate Pushes Schools Away From ACA for International Students

Although Republican efforts over the summer to repeal the ACA (Obamacare) failed, that didn’t mean the landmark legislation was safe from attack. Instead, its been death by a thousand cuts – here’s a few of the efforts by the Trump Administration to undermine the ACA:

  • Steep cuts to Navigator groups and to Marketplace outreach efforts, to prevent education of people on the law and subsidies available to them;
  • Executive order aimed at providing more ACA-exempt plans;
  • Medicare/Medicaid Administrator giving an “unprecedented level of flexibility” to states requesting waivers from ACA rules;
  • Halting cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers;
  • Prohibiting U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) employees from participating in Marketplace enrollment events;
  • Reducing the enrollment window;
  • Active video campaign by HHS to undermine the ACA;
  • and finally, in the tax bill just passed, eliminating the individual mandate that requires all US Citizens, Permanent Residents and Resident Aliens to have ACA-level coverage with essential health benefits.

Regardless of where you stand on the ACA, and most Americans wanted to keep and fix it, it was never very relevant to international students. It was geared towards lifetime coverage, not temporary visitors and most were exempt from the mandate anyway. With the end of the mandate, colleges and universities will accelerate the trend we’ve already seen – going away from ACA coverage for international students and embracing plans custom-built for international students.

1Open Doors Report Shows New High, Followed by Steep Drop-Off

For 45 years the number of international students in the US has grown every year, with the exception of the small declines seen from 2003 to 2006 in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and resulting visa slowdowns. The Open Doors Report from November 2017 showed a 3.4% jump in total international students in the US, from 1,043,089 to 1,078,822, but it also showed new enrollments down about 7%, or 10,000 students, to 291,000. The question is, when will the decreasing number of new enrollments flatten out the overall growth in students?

Open Doors data is always a year behind, so the latest report reflects enrollments for the 2016/2017 school year – meaning most of those students made their decision to come to the US when the Trump Administration was still more reality TV than politically viable. Many signs are pointing to a bigger drop in enrollment for the 2017/2018 school year. Our prediction – although there will be a bigger drop in new enrollments, it won’t be enough to offset the giant new enrollment years we saw in 2013 to 2016. We’ll see one more all-time high in the November 2018 Open Doors Report, followed by a steep decline in the 2019 report as those giant new enrollment classes drop off.

1Continued Turmoil and Adaptation Within The For-Profit Sector

2016 and 2017 were brutal years for the for-profit education sector. We saw the end of ITT Tech and Corinthian Colleges, the demise of the leading accreditation body ( ACICS), strict regulations put into place, hundreds of millions of dollars in lawsuits and fines, and a rapid decline in enrollment numbers and revenue.

Hello, 2018. Things have to get better, right? Things would appear so as we now have a for-profit friendly administration that has worked to undo regulations from the previous administration, and Wall Street is taking kindly to those that remain publicly traded. In fact, Adtalem Global Education (formerly Devry Education Group) stock is just a couple bucks away from a five year high.

However, it’s not a clear path to growth in the for-profit sector – rather we think there will be continued turmoil and adaptation as for-profits and not-for-profits try to figure out their futures. Adtalem announced they are unloading Devry and Keller School of Management to get them out of their portfolio and over to Cogswell Education (if the deal goes through). Their focus will then turn to their nursing and trade schools, more specifically, their medical schools in the Caribbean and growing Adtalem Education in Brazil (which currently boasts over 110k students with further growth in sight). Apollo Education stopped trading on Nasdaq on February 1st last year, giving stockholders $10 a share as they went to a private equity firm for $1.1 billion. However, the most shocking adaptation we’ve seen so far was the announcement that Purdue University was purchasing Kaplan University for $1.00 (plus a management deal), transforming them from a for-profit institution to a public university. This move was essentially a way for Purdue to reach non-traditional online students without having to develop their own online programs, while helping Kaplan with their for-profit woes.

Our prediction is that this trend will continue. We will see more partnerships between for-profits and public universities along with others continuing to move to a non-profit structure. More schools will also explore investing outside of the US due to less regulated and more lucrative markets like Brazil. Heck, we might even see another giant fall.

1Canada and Australia Continue to Erode the US International Student Market Share

Canada and Australia have laid the groundwork to take advantage of the projected shrinking international student population in the US. According to the Times Higher Education, in the 2016/2017 academic year Canada has seen an 11% increase in the number of international students (192,000 total) and have a goal of 450,000 international students by 2022. Australia has over 480,000 students enrolled in the spring 2017 semester- a 15% increase over the previous year. On the other hand, the US only saw a 3% growth in the 2016/2017 year according to the Open Doors Report. And as discussed above, US schools saw a 7% decline in new international student enrollments in 2016/2017.

We all know the reasons… A new, not so immigrant friendly administration, gun violence across the country, and the cost of a US education, to name a few (read more in our blog – Canada’s Growing International Student boom). Canada and Australia are also investing in recruiting international students, offering them a friendly, less expensive place to get a high-quality education and perhaps even stay in the country after graduation.

We do not see much along these lines changing in 2018 which is why we are predicting that the US will continue to lose market share to Canada and Australia.

1J-1 Visa Programs will Continue to Weather the Storm

While there were no major changes to the J-1 visa program last year, it certainly was a bumpy ride. In the spring of 2017 a draft executive order was leaked to the press that showed the administration’s desire to eliminate or severely restrict J-1 programs that had a work component, including work and travel, au pairs and interns/trainees. What the administration may have underestimated was the industry’s resilience and bipartisan support. With a big push the #savej1 campaign attracted widespread support from both sides of the political spectrum, along with business from all over the US – you can visit the #savej1 website that champions and builds support for the J-1 programs.

As far as we can see there are still many challenges ahead, and smooth sailing is not in the forecast for the J-1 visa program. However, they will weather the storm and continue forward stronger and more resilient than ever.

1International US High School Enrollments will Continue to Thrive

International students coming to study at US high schools more than tripled between 2004 and 2016 to 82,000, as reported by IIE in the summer of 2017, and we only expect this trend to continue in 2018. Nearly half of all these students (48%) come from China alone, and high schools are starting to become even more welcoming to international students with 500 more schools opening their doors in the last three years. However, there will be challenges ahead, with increased competition not only in the domestic market but also from countries like Ireland, the UK and the previously mentioned Canada and Australia. Schools will struggle to attract the same amount of growth that has been seen in the past while Australia in particular is growing its market share, with the fastest growth rate over the last 3 years of 34%, compared to the USA’s 12%.

We expect the US to hold firm at the number 1 spot in 2018 and continue to grow its market share, but with stronger growth from other countries, the US may struggle to hold onto the top spot in years to come.

1Universities Increase Focus on Smartphone Addiction and its Impact on the Mental Health of Students

In recent years more studies have surfaced from around the globe exploring the impact that technology has on the mental health of college students. For example, a 2017 survey by San Diego State University professor of psychology and author Jean Twenge had findings discussed in an article in The Atlantic that iGen (those born between 1995 and 2012) “teens who spend three hours a day or more on electronic devices are 35 percent more likely to have a risk factor for suicide, such as making a suicide plan.” Between social media, text messaging and internet browsing, smartphones in general get a lot of use on college campuses- and it’s beginning to turn a few heads.

In response to this issue boiling to the surface and the continued increase of smartphone use, we predict that this year many colleges and universities will buckle down and make addressing smartphone addiction a priority. The topic of mental health on campus in general seems ubiquitous these days, as more institutions incorporate mental health into orientation through resources like the International Student Insurance Mental Health Awareness video, and helplines like RAINN’s live chat and phone service. However, in 2018 we will see an added layer in the messaging as schools also raise awareness of phone use and how it could potentially impact the mental health of students.

1Touchless Interfaces Make a Big Leap Forward

“Alexa, turn on the kitchen lights.” By now we’ve all gotten used to the idea of asking Siri, Alexa, Google and Cortana for help recalling an obscure fact, sending a text message to a friend or playing our favorite song list. For 2018 and the coming years, the big leap for systems like Siri and Alexa will be understanding the context of a conversation and being able to thread conversations together to provide more insight automatically. What does this mean you can look forward to in the upcoming year? Expect to see these AI (Artificial Intelligence) front-ends start acting like real personal assistants, offering reminders about upcoming events or alerting you to things that you didn’t specifically schedule or configure.

1More Schools Start to Use Mobile Messaging Apps

It’s no secret that mobile messaging apps are popular and only continue to grow. When it comes to apps like WeChat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, KakaoTalk, and LINE, billions of people are using them, including prospective international students. WeChat currently accounts for almost 30% of Chinese daily mobile-use time, according to QuestMobile, and while emails average 90 minutes before they’re read, the average text message is read within 90 seconds, according to the wireless association CTIA.

With mobile messaging apps continuing to gain user approval and having the ability to quickly reach students around the world, we predict that more colleges and universities will also give their stamp of approval when it comes to integrating them into their recruitment strategy. Not only do we think institutions will embrace the world of mobile messaging apps to put themselves where students are, but we’re also predicting that WeChat will lead the way as the top mobile messaging app that schools turn to in 2018.

1Artificial Intelligence Will Be Huge

For years popular fiction has portrayed AI (Artificial Intelligence) as heartless killing machines. Think Blade Runner, The Matrix, The Terminator and Joshua from War Games. The future may hold a terrifying world of killer robots bent on our destruction, but for now- we’re safe. The current version of AI is happily checking your credit score for automated loan approvals, it’s building your personalized social media feed and helping your insurance company become more accurate in their underwriting. AI implementation will continue to grow at a fast pace and we’re going to see much of the growth in online customer service, autonomous vehicles and deep neural networks that can process medical research data more thoroughly than any human could. Although it might be a few years before popular AI movie scenarios become a reality, in 2018 we will definitely see AI as a major focal point in everyday life.

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