[Assam] CER: Intl Grad Students : FreeMarketeering Job-Pirates OR.....

umesh sharma jaipurschool at yahoo.com
Thu May 24 10:43:22 PDT 2007

  I an effort to evade copyright infringement of a CIES article - a society of which I am a member (though I am told we can circulate in private groups - like AssamNet??) I am giving a commentary and deleting some portions from the article

  It challenges the then prevalent notion that international graduate students are money hungry bunch of job-pirates - in light of Sep 11 , 2001 bombings in USA - done by student visa holders . SEVIS and  Visa Mantis are now online ways by which students are kept track of --like in July 2005 some Egyptian students went missing soon after arrival --leading to hue and cry on national TV channels - they had gone to see the Great Lakes and had forgotten to report to their univ of their arrival.
  So how is the perception changing -- here is some juicy bit of info (other parts I have already deleted)

    Comparative Education Review, vol. 51, no. 1.
© 2007 by the Comparative and International Education Society. All rights reserved.
      Citizenship in a Global Context: The Perspectives of International Graduate Students in the United States   
  Electronically published October 26, 2006
  Citizenship Defined 
       The dominant line of thinking about citizenship in the United States tends to stress the civic and political aspects of one's status as a "legal" citizen of a particular nation (Dahl 1995). ....
   an individual occupying a particular geographic space, but not possessing "legal" status as "citizen," also has rights and responsibilities. For example, Yasemin Soysal noted that guest workers, without legal status as citizens, nonetheless are "incorporated into various aspects of the social and institutional order of their host countries." She explained that "the participation of guestworkers in the host [country] as social, political, and economic actors with a wide range of rights and privileges contests the foundational logic of national citizenship" (Soysal 1994, 2). ......................... Similarly, both Robert Rhoads (1997) and Carlos Torres (1998) advanced the idea of a "democratic multicultural citizenship" in which individuals develop the ability and disposition to work across social and cultural differences within a global context in a quest for solidarity. And, with respect to the economic dimension of citizenship, when students graduate with advanced
 degrees, certain professional expectations become central to their lives, which are as integral to their sense of (local, national, or global) citizenship as legal and political rights and responsibilities (Soysal 1994). 

     2 For similar conceptualizations of a multifaceted notion of citizenship, see seminal work by T. H. Marshall (1950).    
  Citizenship and the Global Context 
       A dominant view suggests an economic model in which human beings compete in a global "free market," with nation-states limiting their interventions or only intervening to further advance global capitalism in what some have come to criticize as "neoliberalism" (Chomsky 1998; Burbules and Torres 2000; Stiglitz 2002). Similarly, Ong's (2004) analysis of international education's contributions to "flexible citizenship," stressing individuals' opportunistic use of citizenship in response to political and economic changes on a global scale, is overwhelmingly driven by the goal of individual advancement and conforming to the interests of global capitalism. 
  . The vaguest is "the sense of identity with the whole of humanity, of membership of the human race. Less vague is acceptance of some moral responsibility for the condition of the planet and its inhabitants, human and even nonhuman." In its most precise form, "world citizenship is that which embraces the need for some effective form(s) of supranational political authority and for political action beyond the nation-state" (Heater 2002, 11–12). In yet another account, Richard Falk (1993) delineated five categories of global citizens: (1) the "global reformer" and supporter of supranational government, (2) the elite class of globe-trotters engaged in global business activities, (3) individuals committed to global economic and ecological sustainability, (4) supporters of regional governance structures (e.g., the European Union), and (5) transnational activists involved in grassroots organizations fighting for human rights and democracy. 
  concurrent emphasis on nationalism and internationalism in different strains of socialist thought: 
  The internationalist strain stems philosophically from the Marxist belief ... that national divisions are created artificially by the capitalist class to divide the proletariat, and politically from the belief that socialism in [only] one country could never be a feasible possibility. The nationalist strain derives first from the fact that all socialist projects, whether communist or social-democratic, have been national projects in the sense that they have been undertaken by parties and movements working within national borders; second from the fact that in order to carry these projects through, socialists have needed to invoke the idea of the nation. (Miller 2002, 84–85)   
       Fear of nationalism 
  The weakening of the nation-state is thus to be compensated for by the increased role of regional and global (nongovernmental and intergovernmental) organizations that take over some of the responsibilities of national governments. However, nation-states do not disappear completely, but their role is complemented by regional and global organizations that are largely independent of the governmental sectors of specific nation-states (Held 1995). .................................................
  (Umesh's note:  These international groups are largely rich country based -- a form of neo-colonialism?  Ready to criticize the neighbor for not providing for his or her children and spouse --but not coming forward to provide relief or take them into their own home -- in western countries as refugees  -- but what about the illegal aliens from friendly nationas already??)
  . Additionally, left-leaning scholars concerned about the growing power and influence of corporations and neoliberal domination see the nation-state as a potential (but not always effective) counter to unchecked capitalism (Chomsky 1998; Burbules and Torres 2000; Rhoads and Torres 2006).3 
   Perhaps it is possible to nurture a form of citizenship that promotes concern and action for the resolution of societal problems on the local/national and global levels, while at the same time preserving the role of the nation-state (welfare state may be a better expression here) in regulating local/national as well as global processes and overseeing the rights of its citizens beyond national borders. ..............
     3 Christian Joppke (1998) cautioned that the conferral of human rights to noncitizens—no matter how universally accepted they may be—continues to be tightly based in the power of the welfare state. 
       The research questions addressed in this study are (1) In what ways (if at all) do the experiences of international graduate students studying in the United States challenge their notions of citizenship? (2) In what ways (if at all) does graduate study in the United States contribute to more globalized notions of citizenship? 
   Given time and financial constraints, we limited the study to 30 research participants—10 from each country. The number of participants proved sufficient in that the content and themes that emerged in the later interviews repeated what was encountered during earlier interviews. All graduate students at Western from Italy and Brazil were sent an e-mail correspondence through the registrar's office.5 Given a much larger number of Chinese students at Western, we chose to randomly select 40 students—20 women and 20 men—and then to send the same initial and follow-up e-mail notes. From these combined efforts, we recruited 26 interview participants. The remaining four, a female and male student each from Brazil and China, were purposely selected by referral from other interview participants.6 
       Our sample included 14 women and 16 men. The average age was 30.2 years. A variety of disciplines were represented (see table 1). Two of our interview participants held green cards, one held an H1-B (specialty worker) visa, and one recently had become a U.S. citizen (given that this individual had only recently become a citizen, we felt that his experiences were still relevant). All four students with immigrant visas arrived in the United States as adults. Italian students were the most likely to have lived abroad before coming to the United States, followed by Brazilian students. None of the Chinese students in our study had had prolonged exposure to another society prior to studying in the United States. Italian students were also more likely to have resided in the United States for longer periods of time.7 
       All interviews were tape-recorded and transcribed verbatim and then coded utilizing both deductive and inductive analysis. ..................
  We found that at least one of the following thematics was strongly present in each student's views and practices regarding citizenship: (1) an emphasis on "globalizing rights and responsibilities," (2) a commitment to "globally informed nationalism/regionalism," and (3) a focus on global career opportunities—what we call "free marketeering." 
     10 While the People's Republic of China's overall GDP is considerable, in per capita terms, the country was ranked number 96 in 2003 (UN Development Programme 2005). 
  Locales of Citizenship: Responsibilities and Rights 
       A sense of belonging and emotional attachment to a locale or a set of locales—seeing oneself as Brazilian, Chinese, Italian, Latin American, Asian, European, or as a person who "can choose to live in whatever country more or less freely"—was a central determinant of students' notions of citizenship.11 In the words of Alessandra, an Italian student in applied linguistics: "I would say that citizenship is a contract that you set within the society. It will give you a sense of belonging, a sense that you are part of an entity that you want to call society, community, nation ... but you have also to pay homage to this contract and you have some duties to meet and respect and carry out."12 
       ...... As Ting, a student in social work, conceded: "There is a very strong sense from the government that they want to instill the idea of nationalism in you, that you have to be very proud of your country. ... I think in my generation, we started to question this a lot. ... But I think it's a common psychology ... that in a foreign environment, like here in the United States, I would feel particularly defensive about my national origin." And Gilberto, a Brazilian student in economics, noted: "To be a Brazilian citizen today, for me, maybe is more important than before. Because when you are far away from your country, you start to pay more attention to some aspects, you start to be proud of some aspects, and then you feel more responsible for some things. It's as if you have more obligations." 
       .......... Rather, students' views were broadened to encompass a larger whole that included the local/national context, to which were added—to differing extents—a sense of regional attachment, an increased identification with the United States, or a strengthened understanding of citizenship in a global sphere. 
       Although most students spoke extensively of their responsibilities, they also discussed their rights in relation to the geographic locales they occupied as core concepts of citizenship. The right to international movement was at the center of these discussions. For instance, several students mentioned their rights—or lack thereof—as individuals living, albeit temporarily, in the United States, often in comparison to the privileges they enjoyed in their home countries. A common concern related to the difficulties of obtaining a visa and passing through immigration when entering the United States, discussed in the context of the visa restrictions following the events of September 11, 2001. Binglong, a Chinese student in business, explained: "I don't know why the U.S. government is so excluding to foreigners. It just hurts its image and I'm pretty disgusted with this policy." Juliana, a Brazilian student in anthropology, related her recent experiences of returning to
 the United States: 
    And last time I came, I was in Mexico, before I went to Brazil, I went to Mexico, and then to Cuba for two weeks, and then when I came back, I almost didn't get in because the immigration officer said: "What is the purpose of your entering the U.S.?" I was going to get in to leave for Brazil the following day. I had an F1 visa. And I said, "Well, I'm here to sleep tonight." ... "No, you cannot get in with a student visa for other purposes, but to study. So if you're not studying, that constitutes fraud against the government."   
Another student explained her perception that students from China were more disadvantaged than people from European countries: "Every time I go back home, I have to apply for a visa because we only have a visa for 6 months. And my roommate, she's from Germany and she has a visa for 5 years. So she can go back [and forth] very easily." In agreement with this statement, Italian students were the least likely to discuss problems in coming to the United States and leaving the country for vacation.   
       For some students, living and studying in the United States presented other difficulties, mainly in the realms of fellowships and employment. A student explained that summer job opportunities were especially hard to find for international students, noting the discrimination he felt because of his visa status: "So many potentials are open for Americans, but not for you." Juliana stated: "I am constantly reminded that I'm not a citizen, that I don't belong. You know, I'm a foreigner; things are made harder for me. I don't have access to a lot of things." 
       While most students felt that their rights were curtailed in connection with studying and living in the United States, it is important to note that one participant accepted the visa restrictions as necessary to make the country safer, and three others noted that despite the problems they experienced, being a foreigner did not make their lives in the United States too much more difficult than if they were citizens. 

     11 This idea was conveyed to us by Liang, a Chinese graduate student in electrical engineering. 
     12 All student names used in this study are pseudonyms.   Expressions of Citizenship 
  Globalizing Rights and Responsibilities 
       A focus on global rights and responsibilities was a powerful theme in the citizenship conceptions of 13 students. Nine of these students were Italian, two Brazilian, and two Chinese. ...
       Many of these students noted the responsibilities stemming from the training they received in graduate school, emphasizing a globalized economic dimension of citizenship. In the realm of research, Enzo, an Italian student in chemistry, explained: "The scientific advances that come out of my publications are just a small, little piece in a huge sea of knowledge, but you know, it's still something that I did and nobody else did and may turn out to be very important. Everybody needs to try in order for that one key piece of technological advancement to benefit millions of people." ...
  Globally Informed Nationalism/Regionalism 
       The nation-state and national belonging appeared to play a more significant role for seven Brazilian and seven Chinese students whose conceptions of citizenship were strongly shaped by the importance of addressing issues related to their home countries or world regions. .........
       Stressing the social dimensions of citizenship, students with a sense of globally informed nationalism/regionalism also recognized their role as transmitters of their cultures in a foreign land and spoke of themselves as cultural mediators. For example, Jia expressed her concern "to help other people to understand the Chinese, and also help the Chinese understand other people." Several students regularly discussed their experiences in the United States with friends and family at home; some maintained daily phone contact with people in their home countries and even those with the least amount of contact engaged in at least weekly phone conversations. ......
       The students with a local/regional sense of responsibility were also more attuned to the limited personal and professional rights they encountered in the United States. Some of these students expressed their frustration by explaining that "I always get concerned when I leave the country and have to come back." Or, "They make me feel all the time that I'm not, that I don't have full rights or a voice here. So the limits of my stay here are very clear in legal terms and working terms, whereas in Brazil I feel like a citizen." Important to note here is the fact that all of the students stressing "globally informed nationalism/regionalism" are from Brazil or China, both countries where the practical aspects of obtaining a visa and coming to the United States appear to be more difficult than for students from Italy. 
  Free Marketeering 
       Emphasizing the economic dimension of citizenship, three students in our study—one each from Brazil, China, and Italy—were driven considerably by their desire to attain certain privileges for themselves and their families (present or prospective) through pursuit of career interests. These students looked upon their experiences in the United States primarily as a means to attain enhanced professional opportunities and saw their participation in a transnational sphere of existence, both in a personal and professional sense, as the road to financial success. Most important, these students did not consider responsibilities as an integral element of citizenship but were more concerned with their economic rights and opportunities. For example, Binglong, a Chinese student in business, rejected the viability of individual responsibility in the world, deferring such duties to national governments and transnational organizations, such as the United Nations. Speaking of his
 career options and possible countries of settlement, however, he explained that whether he would remain in the United States or return to China depended on his perceptions of the professional and financial advantages that each country would hold for him. 
  João, an economics student from Brazil, expressed a similar perspective, also noting his stance on antinationalism and the role of nation-states in serving their citizens: "The only good role that countries have ... is to have ... World Cup [soccer competition]. Because the other things just lead to war. Why not open the borders? You have terrorism because people feel they belong to a country and they have to kill their enemy. If people didn't feel that they belonged to a country, we wouldn't have that. I feel like you should be focused on individuals, not on countries. The only role of the countries is to serve individuals. It is not the individuals who have to serve the country." 
   As Huiling, a Chinese environmental science student whose experiences were most closely aligned with a globalized notion of rights and responsibilities, related: "If you have a U.S. degree, your career will develop a lot easier. No matter where you decide to stay, you have a lot better chance to get a good job and, you know, get ahead in your professional field." ......
  Discussion and Implications 
       In recent years, much debate has surrounded the international student program of the United States. International students have been depicted as threats to national security (even as potential "terrorists"), ambassadors of international understanding, contributors to U.S. economic and scientific development, and excessive financial burdens on the economy (McMurtrie 2001; Borjas 2002; Zakaria 2004). .........
  However, a strong emotional and cultural attachment bound these students to their respective nations, underscoring the continuing relevance of the nation-state. ......
      However, it is important to  note that not all economics and business students in our study (we interviewed only one student in materials science) were aligned closely with the experience of "free marketeering." It is thus difficult to draw definitive conclusions about the implications of graduate field of study for one's conceptions of citizenship. 
         ......     we believe that in many ways international graduate education provides a terrain for challenging prior notions of citizenship by expanding and, arguably, at times limiting citizen rights and responsibilities in a global context. The students spoke extensively of their experiences in the United States as avenues for broadening their views; promoting their understanding of other nations in a cultural, political, and economic sense; strengthening their ability for critique; empowering them with professional skills; and reevaluating their rights outside of the context of their home countries—..........

       In this respect, we find the post-9/11/01 climate especially problematic. Despite recent efforts to expedite student visas, considerable problems continue to exist. Indeed, the policies of visa restrictions and continued surveillance of international students via SEVIS and Visa Mantis present serious difficulties.13 The recognition by many students in our study that some of their basic rights are curtailed sets limits on their ability to achieve the full benefits of their graduate education. Feelings of being unwanted and excluded can lead to alienation on the part of the students, the offshoot of which may be a failure to make valuable connections to the host society and to promote greater intercultural encounters and understanding of transnational connections in politics and the economy. 

     13 SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) was established by the U.S. government to track international students and scholars in the United States. Visa Mantis encompasses a security clearance for students and scholars studying in fields that are listed on the U.S. government's Technology Alert List.   References 
   Borjas, George. 2002. An Evaluation of the Foreign Student Program. Backgrounder. Washington, DC: Center for Immigration Studies. http://www.cis.org/articles/2002/back602.html. First citation in article   
   McMurtrie, Beth. 2001. "Foreign Enrollments Grow in the U.S., but So Does Competition from Other Nations." Chronicle of Higher Education, International, November 16. http://chronicle.com/weekly/v48/i12/12a04501.htm. First citation in article   
   Miller, David. 2002. "The Left, the Nation-State and European Citizenship." In Global Citizenship: A Critical Introduction, ed. N. Dower and J. Williams. New York: Routledge. First citation in article   
   NAFSA: Association of International Educators. 2003. Securing America's Future: Global Education for a Global Age. http://www.nafsa.org/public_policy.sec/public_policy_document/study_abroad_1/securing_america_s_future. First citation in article   
   Zakaria, Fareed. 2004. "Rejecting the Next Bill Gates." Washington Post, November 23. http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A6008-2004Nov22?/. First citation in article   

Umesh Sharma

Washington D.C. 

1-202-215-4328 [Cell]

Ed.M. - International Education Policy
Harvard Graduate School of Education,
Harvard University,
Class of 2005



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