For those of us deeply engaged in of the field of international education, last week was analogous to the film industry’s Academy Awards week. This year’s International Education Week (IEW) highlighted the international education community’s efforts to increase the number of students and scholars that cross borders worldwide and, with exuberance, showcased the scores of success stories pertaining to this global exchange of knowledge. The week was also full of discussions and musings about possible changes to the sector that may occur when the new administration begins working in Washington, DC in six weeks.
International education holds an important place here at the New York Film Academy (NYFA), where more than 50% of the School’s enrollment is international; tens of thousands of visual and performing artists from nearly 120 countries have studied at NYFA since its founding 25 years ago, including dozens of Fulbright Foreign Students.
For the 2nd year in a row, NYFA is proud to be ranked in the top 5 ‘SPECIAL FOCUS INSTITUTIONS’ that host international students, according to the Open Doors Report, an annual report issued by the Institute of International Education (IIE) that was released last week by IIE and the U.S. Department of State. In the 2015-2016 academic year NYFA hosted 1,492 foreign students in the College’s degree programs, and also welcomed nearly 2,000 additional international students to non-degree and short-term programs that were not counted in the Open Doors Report data.
On the outgoing side of international education, for two decades NYFA has offered a wide range of study abroad programs at four permanent international locations (Paris, France; Florence, Italy; and Gold Coast, Australia), as well as at many satellite locations around the globe.
This year, NYFA made great strides in increasing study abroad opportunities by launching unique faculty led international ‘excursion’ programs, which included NYFA trips for students in the Photography and Documentary Filmmaking Departments. A total of 73 students traveled to Belize, Cyprus, and the Dominican Republic to experience unique aspects of these cultures as well as witness and develop a better awareness of important and critical events currently happening in the countries. This was part of NYFA’s commitment to the Generation Study Abroad Initiative — an undertaking to increase the number of U.S. students studying abroad.
The New York Film Academy highlighted its study abroad opportunities and accomplishments during the national celebration of International Education Week by hosting a social media contest: NYFA students and alumni had the opportunity to submit photographic representations of what “home” means to them via Facebook or Instagram by including the hashtag #NYFAInternational and tagging @NewYorkFilmAcademy. This contest was open to all current NYFA students (nearly 8,500) from the U.S. campuses in New York, Los Angeles, and South Beach, Florida, as well as students studying at all of our locations abroad in Florence, Italy; Paris, France; and Gold Coast and Sydney, Australia. The winner was announced this past Saturday and the image can be seen here.
Michael Young, President of NYFA, recently stated, “the power of storytelling is not owned by any one nation, it is an art form the entire world needs in times of peace and stability, and even more so during chaos and uncertainty. Thanks to the most powerful form of communication that exists, we expect our students to be the voices that will be heard through the noise.”
Like making lemonade from lemons, visual and performing artists have the opportunity to make lovely music — i.e. films, photographs, and performances — from all of the noise now out there.