Making the case for study abroad immersion learning
Just in case you still need to convince someone (a parent?) of the benefits of studying abroad, here are the 13 reasons that none other than the U.S. Senate believes that support of study abroad programs is important and necessary on a national level:
1. Ensuring that the citizens of the U.S. are globally literate is the responsibility of the educational system of the U.S.
2. Educating students internationally is an important way to share the values of the United States, to create goodwill for the U.S. around the world, to work toward a peaceful global society, and to increase international trade.
3. 79 percent of people in the U.S. agree that students should have a study abroad experience sometime during college, but only one percent of students from the U.S. currently study abroad each year.
4. Study abroad programs help people from the U.S. to be more informed about the world and to develop the cultural awareness necessary to avoid offending individuals from other countries.
5. 87 percent of students in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 24 cannot locate Iraq on a world map, 83 percent cannot find Afghanistan, 58 percent cannot find Japan, and 11 percent cannot even find the United States.
6. Studying abroad exposes students from the U.S. to valuable global knowledge and cultural understanding and forms an integral part of their education.
7. The security, stability, and economic vitality of the U.S. in an increasingly complex global age depend largely upon having a globally competent citizenry and the availability of experts specializing in world regions, foreign languages, and international affairs.
8. Federal agencies, educational institutions, and corporations in the U.S. are suffering from a shortage of professionals with international knowledge and foreign language skills;
9. Institutions of higher education in the U.S. are struggling to graduate enough students with the language skills and cultural competence necessary to meet the current demands of business, government, and educational institutions.
10. Studying abroad influences subsequent educational experiences, decisions to expand or change academic majors, and decisions to attend graduate school.
11. Some of the core values and skills of higher education are enhanced by participation in study abroad programs.
12. Study abroad programs not only open doors to foreign language learning, but also empower students to better understand themselves and others through a comparison of cultural values and ways of life.
13. Study abroad programs for students from the U.S. can provide specialized training and practical experiences not available at institutions in the U.S.
Source: U.S. Senate Resolution 308 designating 2006 as the ‘’Year of Study Abroad,’’ sponsored by Senators Durbin, Alexander, Feingold, Craig, Akaka, Coleman, and Cochran.