Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Being Abroad Is Not Enough

Some interesting quotes from the article "The Foreign Legions", via WorldHum:
The number of students going abroad may be growing — to about 6 percent of American college students, not counting those who don’t get course credit — but their profile has not changed. The latest figures available from the Institute of International Education, for 2004-5, indicate that 83 percent of participants were white; 10 years earlier, 86 percent were white.
There is a consensus today, much like the one about science and math studies after the launch of Sputnik 50 years ago, that globally fluent graduates are essential to American competitiveness. International exposure, whether study, volunteer work or internship, has become a must-have credential.
And for a generation whose life is calibrated by a multicolored spiral daily planner, just being abroad is not enough.
Not all students are prepared to cope with the challenges that arise from being immersed in a foreign society. "There are students who aren’t ready to separate themselves from American culture and language," says Eric Singer, dean of international studies at Goucher College, in Baltimore, which has begun requiring students to earn at least three credits abroad. "They don’t want to be challenged about language, food, sports or what have you," he says.
Not to blow our own horn here, but SPACE could actually give you a huge advantage as a high school student *applying* to college.

Imagine an overseas, cross cultural experience, doing something worthy with long term, local, indigenous impact, in the context of a well prepared team, expert team leaders and careful, well connected, expert mission hosts. Elements of this experience also include pre-field cross cultural training, post field processing and re-entry, and being a part of a community of friends with the cause of making a difference for humanity's sake, even after you return home.

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