No fear of Ebola or the unveiling of CIA torture documents could stop the promotion of studying abroad and global citizenship. Yesterday the White House hosted its first Travel Bloggers Summit on Study Abroad and Global Citizenship to promote study abroad opportunity for youth and college students highlighting U.S. Government initiatives and strategies for encouraging American students to study, volunteer, and work abroad.
Remarks by senior White House officials Ben Rhodes (Ass't to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor) Evan Ryan (Assistant Secretary of State for Education and Cultural Affairs (ECA)), Denis McDonough (Chief of Staff) Penny Pritzker (Sec.of Commerce) joined hosts of the Travel Channel, National Geographic, Yahoo Travel, the Peace Corps and others on the occasion.
Said Rhodes, recounting his time studying abroad in Europe, "To thrive, we can’t rely on the traditional contacts and exchange programs…. We have to get out of that comfort zone. It’s (studying abroad) a chance everybody should have. There is value in studying abroad."
The value in studying abroad creates global relationships, forms alliances and opens the opportunity to learn, and value, other countries yet reports indicate that 90% of US students have not studied abroad.
With the support of several organizations that include the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) - for youths under 25 years old; the Young SE Asian program, The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Abroad, The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange National Security Language Initiative for Youth+, the Benjamin Franklin Summer Institutes American Youth Leadership Program, and others, the White House announced that they are opening an official Study Abroad office to promote the importance of studying abroad.
Said McDonough of his 1991 study abroad opportunity to Spain, "I remember being fascinated and confused. [It's] a wonderful country, it helped me hone my foreign language skills."
The summit also addressed ways for students to pay for their travel abroad experience, expressly through making college and student loans affordable.
The White House is also instrumental, too, in its 100,000 strong initiative geared towards getting one hundred thousand students to study abroad, and to encourage exchange students to study here in America. Visit here for more.