International Education Pick of the Week – 22 November 2013

pick-of-the-weekIn an earlier International Education Pick of the Week post, we previewed International Education Week 2013 and some of the main news and activities we could expect during that week.  So now with IEW 2013 behind us (except for our friends to the north – Canada’s IEW is this week!), our Pick of the Week will focus on some of the news we got from the Open Doors Report, together with a quick comment on acquisition activity in our industry and a new annoyance/threat: social media spam.

Open Doors Report

IIE’s annual Open Doors Report was released on Monday, November 11 and showed a 7% increase in the number of international students in the US, from 764,495  to 819,644, and a 3% increase in the number of US students studying abroad, from 273,996.  There’s a ton of data to dig into, trends to analyze and futures to predict, as always, from this report but today I just want to reflect briefly on China.  In the 2008/2009 school year, China was the #2 sender of international students to the United States, with 98,000 Chinese students trailing 103,000 Indian students.  It wasn’t until 2009/2010 school year that China took over the number 1 spot, with 127,000 students.  Last week’s report showed that there were 235,597 Chinese students in the US – approaching the total number of US students studying abroad, and almost twice as many as 3 years ago when China took over the top spot.  The numbers are simply astonishing.

International Education M & A Activity

The Open Doors data reinforces what we all know – international education is a booming industry, with no sign of slowing, and more and more big players continue to enter the market.  I’ve mentioned the acquisitions page of The Pie News before, but its worth a look right now.  Boston Academy of English was bought by Cambridge Education Group, Hotcourses is on the market, Rosetta Stone bought Live Mocha, and there’s a bunch more there.  Are we in the midst of a major consolidation, or just ad hoc activity?

Social Spam on the Rise

Colleges and Universities around the world have hopped on the social media bandwagon – it would be hard to find a school that doesn’t have a Facebook presence at least, and most have embraced more than one of the top platforms.  And with good reason, as to reach students you need to communicate through a medium they use, and social media has quickly become the most popular way for students to connect. But with the good comes the bad, and spammers have jumped on social media for the same reasons.  Only for a spammer, instead of an email that goes to one person, a spam social media message can reach hundreds or thousands or more very quickly.  A new report shows that social media spam was up 355% in the first half of 2013, with no end in sight.  And if you are the victim, the damage such abuse can do to your brand can be tremendous, and it can happen very quickly.  Text and link-based spam, Like-jacking, social bots, fake accounts, spammy apps – the list goes on and on.  Learn more about social media spam from this report in Social Media Today, so that you can protect your school (and yourself).

As always, comments are welcome on this post, and we’ll answer them as quickly as we can.  And if you have any suggestions for the pick of the week, please email or tweet us at @EnvisageIntl.


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