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Building the Global Citizens of the Millennium Generation

July 12, 2010

Like many of us, my husband and I had an opportunity to travel a bit this summer. More specifically, we journeyed to Seville, Spain on a mission to meet our daughter -- who was completing her semester of studying abroad-- to escort her home safely to the States. For us, it was an opportunity to see more of Europe, but to my daughter it was an opportunity to extend her study abroad experience a little longer-- even though it meant toting her baby-boomer parents around with her. When my daughter met us at the airport in Seville, I could not help but notice how at ease she was speaking Spanish here and there and traveling on the buses and railways in Spain. My husband and I quickly noticed that she had gained a new confidence and resilience, and by her own admission, had visited five countries and many more cities including Morocco, Venice, and London. My husband proclaimed it to be a classic case of mission creep, and he was just relieved that we had arrived before the tally of countries escalated.

As I watched my daughter get along in Spain and France, I realized that many of our young adults would know and react to the world differently than previous generations because they embrace the global context-- the global village. Instead of our protecting her and bringing her home safely, we were following her, asking her advice on how to explore Spain, and waiting for her to translate for us. For my daughter, like many young Americans, she first began to travel on the Internet. It was through the Internet that she first started to explore other countries and to compare the architecture, health policies, environmental practices, and customs of various countries.

At Cheyney University, each year with the leadership of Dr. Tara Kent, we send a few students abroad to study and explore through the Keystone Honors Academy. Additionally, Professor Norma George works tirelessly to send students to Middleburg College to study languages other than English. Additionally, she has brought numerous international scholars to Cheyney University to help encourage our campus community to expand our worldviews. Further, Professor Norma George works with students to apply for study abroad programs including the Fulbright international studies programs. It is easy to identify Cheyney University students who have studied abroad, it is gratifying to see that their views have expanded beyond anything you can possibly learn in books. Like my daughter, students who have studied abroad project a new level of confidence and understanding of the global context. These are the types of graduates who will be competitive in the global economy and who will understand the nuances of international trade and negotiations. As Harriet Fulbright reaffirmed when she gave a 2009 Commencement Address at Cheyney University, international education and educational exchange are important diplomatic tools and bridges to world peace.

Michelle
 

Tags: global citizens , study abroad

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COMMENTS

The one constant with  today's new generations is their lack of constancy and predictability. The thought that we would be able to predict who they will be or what they will do, must be let go. It is the ability to think and move with flexibility that distinguishes today's youth from yesterday's, and that will allow them to function globally. Our youth are moving us from a society where we assumed that we were in charge of the world and that our way was the right way, to a society of universal individuals who are able to function across time and space. Recognition by Cheyney's president that there are multiple intelligences and valuable talents among people, that reach beyond those traditionally sought by institutions of higher learning, poises Cheyney at a place where we will go beyond the relatively small percentage of potential students that all colleges are competing for and open avenues that are virtually untapped...avenues that are invisible to the eye trained solely upon the reflection of ourselves. Travel and learning new languages and cultures allows us to be able to better recognize and appreciate the differences, talents, strengths and potential of those right here among us.  To have just a glimpse of the world America has already become; one needs to simply travel back just a few years and reflect for a moment on the notion there would be a president of the United States with the name Barack Hussein Obama. Can we imagine who are the potential Baracks and Michelles we have on our campus at this moment?   
 
Lut R. Nero 12:37AM 07/13/10
The one constant with  today's new generations is their lack of constancy and predictability. The thought that we would be able to predict who they will be or what they will do, must be let go. It is the ability to think and move with flexibility that distinguishes today's youth from yesterday's, and that will allow them to function globally. Our youth are moving us from a society where we assumed that we were in charge of the world and that our way was the right way, to a society of universal individuals who are able to function across time and space. Recognition by Cheyney's president that there are multiple intelligences and valuable talents among people, that reach beyond those traditionally sought by institutions of higher learning, poises Cheyney at a place where we will go beyond the relatively small percentage of potential students that all colleges are competing for and open avenues that are virtually untapped...avenues that are invisible to the eye trained solely upon the reflection of ourselves. Travel and learning new languages and cultures allows us to be able to better recognize and appreciate the differences, talents, strengths and potential of those right here among us.  To have just a glimpse of the world America has already become; one needs to simply travel back just a few years and reflect for a moment on the notion there would be a president of the United States with the name Barack Hussein Obama. Can we imagine who are the potential Baracks and Michelles we have on our campus at this moment?   
 
Lut R. Nero 12:36AM 07/13/10
I was fortunate as a 17 y/o HS senior to live in Ankara, Turkey - where my dad was stationed with the Air Force. It was my first time in a truly foreign culture (I had been to Canada a few times). It was an astonishing and rewarding experience that I have never forgotten - and which has continued to inform and shape my world view. It is absolutely true that one can never truly understand one's own culture without ever having been exposed to another. I learned more, and continue to learn more about American culture through my travels to other places than I ever could have learned in any classroom. Every semester I exhort my students to forego the expensive designer clothes, the upscale cars, the latest cell phone technology, etc. and use their resources to go somewhere else in the world for a summer. I don't know if any have taken my advice - but I do know that our students who travel abroad come back changed - and for the better.
 
Brad Buchner 9:16PM 07/12/10

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