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Getting a different perspective through travel or immersing oneself in another culture is key to not only comprehending foreign ways, but is imperative in learning the art of comprehension. If you can learn a language, read and understand that culture's great literature, your perspective will have widened, and you will have learned to live as others do. If we are to solve our problems and survive, we need as many empathetic, enlightened individuals as we can get.
Education is about understanding and appreciating a wide range of perspectives on an idea, and international education allows students and teachers this experience. I have enjoyed teaching and learning internationally as the opportunity opens up layers of understanding that are invaluable.
I agree that International Education is becoming more and more important. As we grow more and more dependent upon a global economy, the view of education changes. Once, the goal of educators was to turn out acceptable factory workers. That was really one of few options for a productive member of society. Then, the goal of educators was to turn out acceptable university students who could go on to obtain a degree in some respected field. Now, the goal of educators must shift again. Educators must turn out students who are globally aware and able to participate in the world at large rather than just their own country.
National borders are becoming less and less relevant, and I think it benefits our students to get involved in international education programs. Failing that, I think we need to place an even greater emphasis on learning second and third languages, as many students do around the world. I see no downside to international education. It is a much-needed remedy for American exceptionalism on the one hand, and a way to prepare our students for the practical realities of a global society on the other.
I keep in touch with many of my students after they graduate from high school and I have noticed that many, many of them are seeking opportunities to study abroad during their college years. It doesn't seem to matter what degree they are pursuing, they are finding a niche for themselves somewhere outside the U.S. and without fail, these students come back raving about the experience. Their academic and social learning is greatly expanded.
Given that I work in a district where the majority of students do not value education, I look at international education with the utmost respect. Many reports have come out about the level of educated minds in nations outside of America.
I think it's going to be come more and more important as technology continues to make it easier and faster to communicate with those from different cultures. We must learn how to be open and accepting of other peoples' beliefs and practices and being valid from their point of view and therefore important for us to take into account when we deal with them. The United States doesn't do well at honoring the cultures of other people - we have assumed for too long that democracy in the American pattern is the only "correct" form of government for all people, in all places, regardless of traditions and background experiences and attitudes.
And the best way to acquire that attitude of openness to new ideas is to experience living in the midst of them!
I value it very highly. I think everyone benefits from it: the students who study abroad, the teachers who teach them, the students in the host country who study alongside them, the local community, etc. Some of my very favorite students over the years have been "international" students. I can't think of a downside to international education.
Well, as somebody who has worked in both the international education sector and the national education sector, I greatly appreciated my time in the international education sector. It certainly gives you a wider understanding and knowledge of education in a multicultural context and the way that learning can be enriched by diversity.
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