|Transitions Abroad Magazine March / April 2006 Vol. XXIX, NO.5|
Issue Focus: Pre-College International Opportunities, Education Abroad Student-to-Student, Summer Travel
In Every Issue
Abroad at Home
Activist Responsible Traveler
Back Door Travel
Living Abroad In
International Career Adviser
Pre-College International Opportunities
From The Editor
Study abroad is often described as a positive, “life changing” experience by returnees, yet only 1 percent of college students participate, according to the Open Doors Report 2004, published by International Educational Exchange (IIE). This is likely to change, however, thanks to two important initiatives: In November 2005 the U.S. Senate voted unanimously to declare 2006 as the “Year of Study Abroad” and the bi-partisan Commission on the Abraham Lincoln Study Abroad Fellowship Program issued its final report calling for the U.S. to increase participation by U.S. students in education abroad to one million annually by 2016-2017. Among the Lincoln Commission’s goals is promoting study in non-traditional countries, particularly developing countries, and democratizing study abroad so that regardless of socio-economic background, race, or field of study more students will have this critical opportunity.
Senator Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), who introduced the Year of Study Abroad resolution and worked on the Lincoln Commission, wrote in NAFSA's International Educator January/February 2006 (PDF): “The challenges we face as Americans are increasingly global in nature, and our youth must be well prepared for its future. Our national security, international economic competitiveness, and diplomatic efforts in working towards a peaceful society rest on our global competence and ability to appreciate languages and cultures throughout the world. The United States’ capacity to lead in the twenty-first century demands that we school new generations of students in cultural and social realities beyond what they may have grown up with in the United States.”
It is fitting that the Year of Study Abroad coincides with Transitions Abroad’s 30th anniversary. Transitions Abroad founder Dr. Clay A. Hubbs was a pioneer of study abroad, both as an adviser and an educator who advocated its importance and lived its credo. Transitions Abroad was one of the first resources for study abroad students and advisers at a time when little other information was available. Clay recruited Transitions Abroad editors and writers from the ranks of other education abroad advocates—those who are now respected leaders in the field, such as Transitions Abroad international education and work abroad editor William Nolting and former associate editor William Hoffa, who is now writing a book on the history of study abroad.
While education abroad for college and university students is maturing, the concept of international opportunities for pre-college students has yet to come of age. Its importance, however, should not be taken for granted. Numerous anecdotal accounts, including those in this issue’s pre-college section, illustrate how international experiences deepen young people’s interest in and respect for other countries, languages, and cultures. Moreover, according to a 2002 American Council on Education (ACE) public opinion poll, “50 percent of college-bound high school students expressed an interest in studying abroad and 75 percent of students think it is important to study or participate in an internship abroad during their academic career.”
In this issue we explore the international opportunities available for pre-college students and their impact on students' futures in our interview with The Gap-Year Advantage authors Karl Haigler and Rae Nelson, long-time educators and education policy experts.
Another highlight of this issue are the winning articles for Transitions Abroad’s 2005 contests.Transitions Abroad hosted Transitions Abroad’s first-ever Narrative Travel Writing Contest. Guy William Volk’s article, “An Exorcism in Zambia: Working Together to Solve a Problem...and Celebrate Life,” was selected for first place. Shayna McHugh, a recent chemistry graduate from Hamilton College and current Fulbright scholar in Brazil won Transitions Abroad’s 2005 Student Writing Contest for her article on applying for a grant to conduct research overseas.
We congratulate both winners and remind you it's not too early to email your contest submissions for 2006! Submissions guidelines are available at TransitionsAbroad.com.
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