International Education is More than Programs

When attending a musical in Austin, Texas, recently, the usher handed me a program. And some programs on television last less than an hour when you count the commercial interruptions. Many colleges and Universities advertise programs. All of these have at least two things in common: 1) they don’t last, 2) they are not meant to last.

This is why I don’t want to have students or faculty or parents see study abroad through the lens of programs only. I want to suggest that it’s the wrong ‘p’ word. Instead, there are at least three other ways to see study abroad and the view through them is much more interesting.

 

Pathway

An international experience is a decidedly colorful, meaningful, and robust marker on one’s journey, so it’s part of a pathway.

Why Students Should Still Study Abroad

Since the academic year started, both beheadings from militant groups and the coverage of Ebola have gone viral. Concerned parents want to know if their son or daughter will get a disease or if life outside the United States is safe. Judging solely by the cable news outlets, one would remain almost paranoid as one crisis after another seems to get around-the-clock coverage.

Yet, nearly 300,000 U.S. students will study abroad in a given year and that is still a good thing. And yes, students should still consider study abroad and there are many reasons, but let me briefly explore three of them.

First, we live in an interconnected, economically interdependent, and increasingly globalized world.

London, England

The first time I traveled abroad was to study abroad. And this was in London, England. While there is not space here to recount the impact that experience has had on my life, let me take the opportunity to list out a few lessons learned for any that may study or travel abroad.

1. Think beyond College and beyond the next semester now.


When I studied abroad, while at College, some well meaning people called it a "once in a lifetime" experience. I always disagreed with this. Instead, I saw this as part of my pathway and journey and as soon I left London, I knew I would return. I did not know I would return over 10 times, but I knew I would return because I saw global citizenship and humanitarian work as part of how I would live my life. Your life is the thing that you get one shot at....not your travel.

Why Students Should Still Study Abroad

 

Why Students Should Still Study Abroad

Since the academic year started, both beheadings from militant groups and the coverage of Ebola have gone viral. This week, shootings in Paris covered the airwaves. Concerned parents want to know if their son or daughter will get a disease or if life outside the United States is safe. Judging solely by the cable news outlets, one would remain almost paranoid as one crisis after another seems to get around-the-clock coverage.

 

Yet, nearly 300,000 U.S. students will study abroad in a given year and that is still a good thing. And yes, students should still consider study abroad and there are many reasons, but let me briefly explore three of them.

Education Will Save Your Soul (or something like that)

I am all about school. Seriously.

Investigate my lifestyle and you’ll see that education has got its fingerprints all over my life. My house smells of graduate programs and GPA’s that burned up many a report card. My three kids have collected a stack of honors certificates with gold seals dating back to the nineties, and they do their homework before they eat cookies. My husband, a somewhat unorthodox scholar, has joyfully contributed to the madness by earning degrees in postmodern literature, accounting, education, and theology. In short, every day our family trots off to five different classrooms and makes nice with Education. It’s not bragging; it’s part of our privileged American upbringing. 

What has education given me? A world that’s bigger and more textured than it was before--a sprawling globe of beautiful foreigners, mind-expanding matter like black hole theories and computer gadgets and microscopic things, philosophical ideas that I might not have ever considered before, and sometimes the utterly gorgeous uselessness of information that drives my curiosity and throws opens my curtains. Education takes tiny, insular people and lights a fuse under them, exploding to bits the depressingly narrow alley that keeps us poor, closes our minds, and makes us dull. Education improves everything. 

continue reading

Waiting for Superman DVD Review

Several months ago, I had the pleasure of seeing Davis Guggenheim’s documentary about teaching called “Waiting For Superman” in theaters (Click here read the full review.) To summarize, I liked the film, but felt it had one or two shortcomings in its final message and was frustrated that Guggenheim stayed clearly on one side as opposed to being more objective.  Tomorrow, it hits DVD and BluRay for general release.  I had the chance to sit down with the film again and see what the total package offers.

There is a commentary on the film with Guggenheim and producer Lesley Chilcott.  Guggenheim is quite talkative and enjoyable to listen to while Chilcott chimes in as necessary.  He actually addresses some of my concerns right out of the gate – he says that he intentionally chose a side because his first documentary essentially follows teachers silently and lets the events play themselves out.  From that experience, Guggenheim said he wanted to make a strong statement.  The difficulty of course is actually calling the film a documentary when it is so strongly biased.  When does it become propaganda?

continue reading

Your Worldview!?

The children at the Shalom school are inspiring, and they have worked their magic on me. Without education their future isn't bright, or it wouldn't seem bright to us Westerners. In America it's stressed that if you don't finish high school then your future will be flipping burgers and digging ditches. Here finishing primary school is barely a goal, flipping burgers and digging ditches is a career, and anything more is a gift from god. When I get home from Burkina I plan on fund raising money for the Shalom school. I want those kids to have all the tools necessary for their education. Even though they'll most likely never have electricity, I want to fund raise enough money to spoil them in every other regard! Look around and be thankful for what you have. We are a a society privileged to the fullest. It takes coming somewhere like this, and working on a day to day basis with the people to truly be grateful. If you think you are, well think again.
continue reading

Renewed Enthusiasm!

Okay, when I first came to Africa I pledged to blog at least once a week, which obviously hasn't come true. Here's what I've prepared in the way of excuses: We didn't get internet for the first two months; I forgot which email I used to set up with blog site; I am way too busy. Obviously the later isn't true, and in reality the reason for no blog in the last month is more from apathy than anything else. Due to sudden realization that time goes by faster if you're always busy I've decided to redouble my efforts in blogging and teaching. I've added two more classes to my schedule, outside of my normal students for Heal the World. I'll be teaching one class split into two units every Sunday, one unit focusing on grammar and basic English, and the other more abstract, focused on conversation through fun activities, from debates on international topics, to playing cards, to skits. Also, every Thursday I'll be teaching our guards Emmanuel and Jean Baptiste for an hour or two. Two of the nicest guys in the world, gave them a composition notebook and a pencil last night for our first lesson! It's going to be a big project, Emmanuel will have to learn how to write, and Jean Baptiste doesn't know much French, so crossing the language barrier is a little difficult. 
continue reading

Forget the Enlightenment, Be Enlightened

The plight of public education has been a topic of debate worldwide for quite some time. Who has access? Who has the capacity? Are the teachers teaching properly? Are students growing?
 
Maybe we need a paradigm shift and that's what this video shows.
 
it's worth a look:
 
After you watch the video, I would be curious if you think this works in the West or if it's wishful thinking. Are there any paradigms like it that you know of being practised aroudn the world?
 
Like it or not, public education and the future of the next generation is linked and whether you home school, private school, Christian school, charter school, magnet school, public school, or skip school, this will effect all of us.
continue reading

here we go

I have taken a long hiatus from this. But I see the benefit to blogging. To process the day. To remember what God is doing around me, through HtW and I. No promises...but I want to make this a regular event. Hope some benefit comes from it...if even just for me. 

 We started the Teacher's College this week. An unceremonious start to a new era in our work - bringing what we have learned to scale. It could seem scary, taking on more - committing to more families, kids, smiles and disseminated thoughts. I once said to Patrick (VP comm.) - let's go big or go home. He was a bit taken back, but my perspective was and is that this work isn't worth sleepless nights unless it really reaches the masses. I hear Mother Theresa when she says she looks at the individual, not the masses - but that doesn't work for me. If I wanted to help the individual I would sponsor a kid, donate my clothes, etc. Which are all good things to do, and in fact if we all did that, I wouldn't have to look at the masses. But were not, so I do. 

continue reading
Syndicate content

Bloggers in Education


Sign-up for the Newsletter
Sign-up for the Newsletter
Get the latest updates on relevant news topics, engaging blogs and new site features. We're not annoying about it, so don't worry.