American students prefer Asia to Europe
New data from the Institute of International Education reveals that less American students are taking their study abroad adventures in Europe. The hot new destination for the classic rite-of-passage appears to be Asia.
In 2004 more than six out of ten American students who spent time abroad did so in Europe. But the latest data indicates that figure fell to just over half (54%) in 2016. By contrast the proportion studying in Asia rose from 8% to 11% over the same period. More students are also choosing Latin America, the second most popular destination at 16%. Smaller minorities of around 4% select either Australasia or sub-Saharan Africa.
Regarding the reverse trend, the majority of non-American students travelling to the US for a semester are from Asia. Almost one third (32.5%) come from China alone, with India the second-best represented country on US campuses at 17.3%. Young people from Canada and Mexico make up just 2.5% and 1.6% respectively of the foreign students in the US. Despite the distance, they are outnumbered by students from Saudi Arabia (4.9% and South Korea (5.4%).
NHS opens the Centre for Internet Disorders
An internet addiction centre has been established to help young people struggling with unhealthy online obsessions across the UK. The Centre for Internet Disorders is the first to be publicly funded by the National Health Service (NHS). Although it combats all types of internet addictions, the Centre will primarily help young gamers who play for days at a time online. There will be therapeutic group sessions, research, and treatment that involves patients’ families.
Several other private addiction clinics exist but this is the first time the government has put money towards solving a problem that was inconceivable ten years ago. The news comes just one week after the World Health Organisation (WHO) officially classified gaming disorders as a variant of mental health problems.
Asia has led the way in acknowledging the reality of gaming addiction for many young people. WHO defines a gaming disorder as one which involves an obsession so severe that it takes priority over all other aspects of life. Some observers have raised concerns that the classification of some gaming as a mental health problem might blur the lines between hobby and obsession. Others have fully embraced the decision and want the government to go a step further and perhaps take a leaf out of France’s book. In September mobile phones will be banned from the classroom in all primary and middle schools across the country following an election campaign promise made by Emmanuel Macron.
Opera is enjoying a resurgence in popularity among Europe’s millions of young people thanks to discounted ticket schemes on offer from Paris to Milan. The success of the Milano per la Scala foundation, which promotes the legendary La Scala opera house, has been huge and is encouraging copycat initiatives in New York and London.
Membership of Milano per la Scala’s youth wing has shot up by 60% in just one year. The undeniable cause is the huge popularity of its Under 30 program, which offers young people tickets for a reasonable €20. Previously, young opera lovers had to fork out hundreds of euros, or take in afternoon performances in seats with a terrible view. Prime tickets could cost as much as €2,000 (and still do for those over 30).
The director of the Paris Opera, Stephane Lissner, has argued that such prices amount to “discrimination of young people”. Under his watch, an estimated extra one million young people have snapped up opera tickets at discounted prices since 2014. In June this year, the Paris Opera launched a first-of-its-kind live action game inside the theatre whereby young people could race around trying to solve a range of Phantom of the Opera themed puzzles – selling 20,000 tickets.