Recently over 3,000 people gathered to roam the cyber halls of the inaugural Virtual Study Abroad Fair hosted by the U.S. Department of State, College Week Live, and the Institute of International Education. This online event got me thinking about whether or not technology actually can make it easier for different people around the globe to truly connect, share resources, and exchange ideas. There are those of us who would complain about the depersonalization caused by social media and the divide that digital media creates between individuals and real life experiences. And I have, on occcassion, wondered if my constant internet use, emails, and social media posts have put distance between myself and everyone else in the world.
“I'd rather be in Philadelphia"
For some reason this is what President Reagan said (quoting the humorist W.C. Fields) after being shot. I had good reason to agree last month after speaking at the opening of the 31st Ivy League Model United Nations Conference (ILMUNC) organized by University of Pennsylvania students.
“What does one wear to the White House?” was one tweet I read as I prepared for a truly unique DC event. On Tuesday, December 9, I joined 100 of our country’s most influential travel bloggers—from big players like Yahoo Travel to start-ups like Adventure Girl—for the White House Travel Blogger Summit on Study Abroad and Global Citizenship. For IIE and our colleague organizations, the topic is so close to our hearts: how do we encourage young Americans to study, volunteer, and work abroad?
This year's CIEE annual conference addressed the "three Cs" that are making it hard for our students to study abroad: Cost, Curriculum, and Culture. It was my privilege to speak at the luncheon, which was then devoted to working groups to come up with ideas on how to reduce obstacles in each area. Many good ideas were reported and will be shared as part of CIEE’s commitment to IIE's Generation Study Abroad initiative, which also included a generous package of $20 million in scholarships and actions designed to help students throughout the United States to take advantage of international opportunities.
Three weeks before IIE's fall Generation Study Abroad commitment deadline, I packed a suitcase full of newly released IIENetworker magazines and flew back to Oregon, my home state. My destination was Idealist.org headquarters in Portland, where PDX Abroad had gathered 26 higher education professionals from Oregon and Washington to hold a Generation Study Abroad Think Tank. The event, which was modeled after IIE's March 2014 roundtable discussion titled "What Will it Take To Double Study Abroad?" was the first such event organized spontaneously.
It was my privilege to be one of the keynote speakers at the China Annual Conference for International Education in Beijing. The other was a former foreign minister. As it turned out, we both never had the opportunity to study abroad. Although our jobs later gave us the chance to travel— in Minister Li's case to 183 countries—we both spoke about the opportunity we wished we had.
In an increasingly inter-connected world, the ability to work successfully in a diverse workplace is more crucial than ever before. And the need for cross-cultural skills to negotiate an evolving, global economy has never been greater. To that end, study abroad can contribute vitally by furthering students’ foreign language abilities, enhancing cross-cultural communication skills and also providing a potentially life-changing international experience. Here at the Institute of International Education, we have encouraged students and educators to make study abroad an integral part of higher education. To help students get the information they need, IIE recently published “A Student Guide to Study Abroad,” a comprehensive resource on study abroad that is packed with essential tips and information for students looking to study abroad, which I co-authored with Stacie Nevadomski Berdan, an international careers expert.
Friday, October 25, 2013
As we continue to live in an increasingly globalized world, cross-cultural competence has become an essential skill for succeeding in the global marketplace. Studying abroad is a great way for students to expand their horizons and can open up a world of personal and professional opportunities that will enable those who have the opportunity to study abroad to become effective global citizens. However, some believe that the merits gained from studying abroad aren’t worth the time or cost.
Monday, April 15, 2013
Guest blogger Susquehanna University Provost Carl Moses writes about the school's award-winning Global Opportunities program:
As I child, I was fortunate enough to have opportunities to travel with my family and explore different parts of the United States. I marveled at the expanse of the Grand Canyon, the bustle of New York City, the quaintness of a New England fishing village, the peacefulness of an ocean sunrise. Those experiences, contrasting in many ways with my southern rural surroundings, opened my eyes and gave me an appreciation of the diversity of the American culture and its people, as well as ways we connect with each other across that diversity.
Monday, March 25, 2013
Pitt Community College in Greenville, North Carolina was one of the recipients of IIE’s Andrew Heiskell Awards for Innovation in International Education at IIE’s Best Practices Conference last week. Pitt was honored for its International Education Travel Scholarship, which provides full funding for participation in a Pitt Community College Abroad-sanctioned program and seeks to eliminate financial barriers for students and faculty recipients.