International Education week is a joint operation of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to promote programs that encourage worldwide exchange. The main objective is to prepare Americans for a globalized market and encourage students from abroad to study and share cultural experiences in the United States. This provides a unique opportunity for the cross-cultural exchange of moral values and ideas. I think it’s incredibly important for this to be part of our education. There are numerous lessons to be gleaned from an international education that are not accessible from the classroom. I think an international education experience is the best way to develop a broad understanding of global issues. In today’s interconnected world, it’s important to understand that what you do here in Indiana or elsewhere, has implications worldwide—and what better way than to discover them firsthand?
Founded in 1948, the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers states that, in regards to foreign policy, “International exchanges have often been cited as one of our strongest and most effective public diplomacy tools.” We cannot effectively lead a world we do not understand. This understanding is crucial for a nation that pursues global issues and faces global threats. I believe that every student should be given the opportunity to be educated internationally—especially as a means to better understand the cultures we affect, and are affected by. International education is a worthwhile investment that institutions should make for their students; it should not be reserved solely for privileged students. This is why the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education wish to promote these types of programs and experiences—there is a lot to gain, and little to lose.
An international education is one of the most rewarding experiences you could hope for. Personally, I’ve had the opportunity to study in Costa Rica and Mexico— I’ll be the first to tell you, the statistics are right! I gained a life changing perspective of the world that continues to be at the root of almost every decision I make, academic or not. I encourage all students to pursue and international education—I can ensure you that your moral compass will be challenged and expanded, it will be of great benefit to you, the United States, and the whole of nations.