Let’s make it a requirement for North American highschool students to study abroad for one year. Education is more than the acquisition of skills – it is exposure to different ways of being and the development of a worldview – a type of learning not possible through reading alone.
The world is moving away from being a disparate collection of border-entrenched tribes. (Granted we seem to have regressed temporarily). We are a fascinatingly diverse people, branches on the same tree.
Business know-how in a global environment is only a minor benefit of required learning abroad. Imagine how fear would dissipate, cross-cultural understanding expand. How could we go to war against a people with whom we have lived? Where we have friends, family, acquaintances, colleagues?
We can’t. And that is the biggest benefit of all. No More War.
Iraq, the eccentric uncle in the family, gets on everyone’s nerves, but he is tolerated because he is family. And because he is family, he tolerates us back. And we all just get along.
I’m not the first to suggest shipping education offshore. Senator Fulbright after witnessing the devastation of World War II, introduced legislation to create Fulbright Scholarships. He believed if large numbers of people lived and studied in other countries,