HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Heavy rain did not scare the ghosts!

Paying for college for international students

Harvest Festival at CMIS

Music students perform at Payap

Heavy rain did not scare the ghosts!

Tara Colen

Oh what a glorious holiday is Halloween! A day to dress up in costume, give up your diet to indulge on candy, and act as spooky or as funny as you wish! This year was no different at Prem, through the various activities in celebration of this traditionally Celtic holiday. Pirates, waitresses, fairies, maids, and more, all came together to dance Saturday night away at Prem’s Senior School Halloween Dance Party at the Chiang Mai Orchid Hotel.

Fifth graders Ploy Intarawut and Yukiko Maekawa parading through Prem in costume, even though it was raining.

Grade 6-12 students in attendance enjoyed seeing each other’s costumes, with the prize for “Best Costume” going to two cross dressers, Dong Hui Kim (Grade 9) and Patrick Bang (Grade 11).

The celebration continued on Monday, 31 October, at the Junior School when ghosts, witches, human televisions, princesses, tigers, and more paraded through Prem’s grounds and buildings to show off their creative costumes. Junior school students also had a party in the auditorium. There was also a contest held for the best costumes. The “Scariest Costume” was awarded to fifth grade student Pai Vongvanij. The “Best Homemade Costume” went to first grader Crawford Service. “Most Original” was given to Grade 3’s Katrina Thaibinh. “The Least Recognizable Person” was awarded to Sabrina Magnusson in Grade 4.

Students in quite creative costumes made a grand entrance to the Halloween Dance!

Additionally, children of teachers who live on campus braved the rainy weather to dress up and go trick or treating on the Monday night. New teachers living at Prem loved giving away candy and were thrilled to see all of the children dressed in costume. For some children, including Gus and Tilly Page, (children of teachers Justine and Declan Page) it was their first opportunity to take part in trick or treating for Halloween, as they did not celebrate the holiday in Tasmania. Boarding students also had a Halloween party that same night.

Junior school students had very creative costumes!

Paying for college for international students

Jon Hartmann, College Counselor, CMIS

The first words a baby should utter should be “College Fees”! Parents need to start early rather than later to plan for the actual cost of a college education. The “real cost” consists of tuition costs, fees, books, supplies, room/board, services, transportation, meal costs, a trip home and recreation expenses. You must add on at least three percent per year to costs for inflation and tuition fees are often closer to a five percent increase per year.

For a US citizen who qualifies for Federal and State Financial Aid and can live with a relative, the financial planning is completely different, so this article then is mainly for the international student.

US education is the most expensive in the world with the UK fast catching up. Perhaps the first question for an international student should be, “Do I need to go to the USA?” Consider Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, Singapore and International colleges attached to universities in your own country. There is also Websters University in Thailand which offers an American degree for half the cost of one in the USA. Even if your parents can afford to send you to the USA you should try to get the best deal for them. The absolute fundamental issue is whether you can afford to go to the college you choose. If you cannot afford it you don’t go!

Remember many colleges and the American Consulate require proof in the form of certified financial statements that you can pay for the entire period of study before they will admit you or grant you a student visa.

If you are an international student and not a US citizen but require financial aid to study in the US what can you do? Here are seven points to help you.

1. Look for support from your government, sponsorship from businesses that will employ you (cadetships) or religious organizations. Missionary students get generous scholarships in some Christian colleges.

2. Investigate “exchange programs”. There are two plus two programs that give you an American Degree for a greatly reduced price. They involve two years in Thailand and two years in the USA effectively halving the price of an American degree. Rajiravudh University (Bangkok) has a wonderful program with Milwaukee School of Creative Design that gives graphic/communication design students two years in the States at a $5000 a year reduction for an American degree. Other universities in Thailand also have exchange programs at greatly reduced fees.

3. Look at community colleges! Community colleges now teach the first two years of college at $7000 a year instead of $30,000. You can transfer to third year college after two relatively cheap years of tuition.

4. Scholarships and Aid. US colleges are under pressure to give aid to American students first. What aid in the form of scholarships is available to international students is limited, rarely covers the whole cost and is competitively sought after. Nonetheless if you are an outstanding student, colleges do want you and will give you substantial support. Remember, you are a valuable commodity, to use business terms, and a consumer in the academic market place. This gives you an edge in bargaining and bargaining is the name of the game. Find out what aid your college of choice offers. Then ring up and negotiate! Talking to someone on a first name basis works far more effectively than email. At my school we have had international students (Burmese and Thai) receive full scholarships covering all the fees for four years to Bucknell USA and Trent Canada. Most good international students can put up a strong case for some fee reduction. Brilliant sportspeople or musicians can also gain good scholarships. Remember however, that if a college where the fees are $40,000 a year, gives you a $15,000 a year scholarship you are still paying $25,000 per year which is $10,000 a year more than it would cost you to go to Australia without a scholarship! Don’t get carried away with winning a scholarship. You might still be paying far more than you need to. Private foundations and international organizations provide some scholarships but these require a highly competitive application and much work to access.

5. The simple truth is more than 60 percent of foreign students in the US pay for their college education themselves. 15 percent receive assistance from their home government. The other 25 percent, get some form of scholarship or assistance. See your College Counselor to set up your scholarship search. There are many books and sites that can help you. I use both Peterson’s and collegeboard material and have a number of relevant books. There are many others but beware! Unless these books are dated 2005-2006 they can have out of date information. There is a real problem of information overload rather than lack of information in getting money for college. There are also numerous websites but is where you can do free scholarship searches, and get much sound financial advice.

6. Often the contacts your College Counselor or your school has made over the years can be of great help to you. Many schools have a special relationship with American colleges. Checking which students from your school have already attended the college and mentioning them really helps.

7. Loans and Work. Most Americans finance their education via a loan. Your parents can negotiate a loan for you and service it till you start working, then you can take the payments over. It is not the best option but it will pay the bills. Colleges can help with advice here or you can organize it privately with your bank. Many students have a job that helps fund their degree. Good Colleges will reserve on-campus jobs for international students.

What if the USA is too expensive?

If it is, then Australia is the ideal alternative for Thai students with good universities , (much cheaper than the States,) and a nine hour flight to Sydney or a six hour flight to Perth. Australia has a wonderful service called IDP that organizes everything for you, including visa and accommodation. IDP is financed by all the Australian universities and there is an office in Chiangmai at Australia House. Try or call 0 5381 0552-3. Australia allows you to earn $6,000 tax free under a student visa and grants residency to students who stay for a few years. It is a great deal which should not be ignored by Thai students. 66 percent of Thais overseas are studying in Australia.

To summarize: To pay for an overseas education for international students:
1. Expect to pay for an overseas college or university. Start saving!
2. Explore scholarships and aid both here and abroad and with private agencies.
3. Look at 2+2 schemes and exchange programs between Thailand and the US.
4. Look at community college options
5. Look at working part–time and loans.
6. Check out other countries, such as Australia.

Harvest Festival at CMIS

Nicky Gamble

Parent organizations, student council and the junior class of Chiang Mai International School (CMIS) coordinated their efforts to sponsor the school’s annual Harvest Festival.

On November 11, everyone gathered at the festive center of campus, which was beautifully decked out in harvest style with freshly cut stalks of rice, yellow ears of corn, and ripe pumpkins.

CMIS takes great pleasure in regularly bringing together its family members from twenty-six nationalities to celebrate the rich diversity of the school community. The next exciting event will be Christmas Around the World on December 12.

Music students perform at Payap

Jan Verwers

The Multi-Media Room of Payap University was again the venue for a concert by students from the Music Department, this time an ‘Honour Recital’. What is an Honour Recital? “An Honour Recital happens at the end of every term. Students can submit the program, one or two pieces per group or solo, to the music faculty. The program will be selected via an audition,” explained Dr. Chaipruk Mekara, who was one of the music teachers responsible for the organization of this evening. Eventually 14 students were selected. It was a nicely varied group.

The opening fanfare was played by Pichit Phonhan, Sopaporn Inthawan and Kraiwit Bokhamkhiew.

To open an evening with a fanfare shows nice programming. Three trumpet students, playing Lowell Mason’s “From Greenland’s Icy Mountains” were at the top of a long list of young musicians. Performing solo, in duos or trios, the students displayed the extensive possibilities to study an instrument that Payap offers. The trumpeters were followed by guitarists, clarinetists, a violist, a saxophone player and several pianists. The music they presented covered more than three centuries, starting with Johann Pachelbel’s “Canon in G” (or was it in D?) and ending with Paul Simon’s “Something So Right”.

The difference in quality of the performers was probably partly related to the progress their studies had made. To many of them, we look forward to hearing them again. Like pianist Merry Christian A. Manalas, who delivered us Louis Moreau Gottschalk’s “Memories of Puerto Rico”. Or Virapon Prathumwan, who, although still having some technical problems with his guitar, brought us an expressive rendition of the “Capricho Arabe” from Fransisco Tแrrega. The evening was concluded by pianist Pattarawan Poonpipat, who had chosen to play Franz Liszt’s “Vall้e d’Obermann” from his “Ann้es de P่lerinage”. We certainly look forward to her next recital.

After the concert the 14 students were presented with flowers and an ovation.