I have argued that college students today should develop a global perspective, especially if they want to address the world’s most pressing challenges. But barriers exist to students obtaining that perspective. College tuition is on the rise, students and families are pressed to find the resources for a semester abroad, and despite the promises of a global education as part of the undergraduate degree, few schools actually dedicate the resources required to deliver that promise.
At Semester at Sea we are focused on scaling the impact of our educational model.¬†We are forming new partners in the countries we travel to not only so we can provide sustainable opportunities for students to gain hands-on international experience but also to leverage our ship as a resource for the communities that we visit. Semester at Sea is a traveling university and has an impact beyond just the students who travel with us. We will see that impact taken to new levels on the Spring 2013 Voyage with Unreasonable at Sea.
We also want to use our program’s history and network of alumni to reach students on campuses around the world and equip students with opportunities to make a difference. ¬†This is why we are starting the World Change event series. Our first will be held on the Campus of CU Boulder and we are bringing together a group of individuals to help students take their desire to make a difference and take the next steps in gaining the experience, the education, the skill set that puts them on a path to realize that dream. Semester at Sea is the perfect launching pad for that type of student but students can and do chose form a wide-variety of excellent study abroad programs and opportunities. Universities should do everything they can to remove the barriers and increase the number of students going abroad and in turn increase the impact of their educational programs.
I started off this series by stating my level of optimism and confidence I have in college students as future leaders in addressing the world’s most pressing issues of our time. I wish I had the same level of optimism for our universities and government who need to provide additional resources necessary to ensure the opportunities for all students to study abroad and gain a global perspective.
Until such a time when all students have the opportunity to study abroad we will continue to advocate for support for international education. We will convene thought leaders to motivate students to make a difference in the world, like our upcoming event in Boulder Colorado ‚Äì World Change, and look for opportunities to innovate like we are doing with the Spring 2013 voyage with Unreasonable at Sea.