The American Council on Education defines global learning as “the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that students acquire through a variety of experiences that enable them to understand world cultures and events; analyze global systems; appreciate cultural differences; and apply this knowledge and appreciation to their lives as citizens and workers.”
According to the “Project Atlas,” a collaborative global research initiative that focuses on maximizing the understanding, measurement, and use of international student mobility data, over 4.1 million higher education students studied abroad in 2013, 1,043,839 studied in the United States in 2016 with an increase of 7.1 percent comparing to 2015.
There would be an infinite list of reasons that can perfectly explain why international education is crucial and essential for young generations; from discovering a new culture, passing through the adaptation, and the ability to overcome unforeseen difficulties, to knowing different people and making new friends.
Learning a new language, deepening knowledge on certain subjects, and improving communication and relational skills are just some of the benefits that everybody can report after such an experience.
What is usually not mentioned, talking about this topic, is the social and ethic side of a global education system.
To grow international students who are well aware of today’s big issues in order to develop future citizens who are able to make better and conscious choices in a global economy is one of the toughest challenges modern society has to face.
In this sense, all the universities’ aim should be to train and teach professionals capable of taking on the challenges and grasping the opportunities emerging from international markets and scenarios. At the same time, shaping people who are aware of their own being and worth.
Communication plays an integral role in making people understand how important is to everybody to increase the social quality of education.
Seventy-eight percent of American admissions officers say social media has changed the way they recruit, according to the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts.
The ways millennials get informed is different from the other generations before, so universities have to transform how they involve prospects in the decision making process.
If 50 years ago higher education was only for a little portion of people, now the access to university has become more popular and with this, also the level of teaching has risen.
The next step is to continue to improve this level but taking into account also the new challenges we have to face everyday, that are different from 50 years ago. Grades and marks are no longer the drivers on which we have to build the future generations; the experience they can get and the personal development they can go through are indeed important.
Also the business world has changed a lot in the past 15 years. From the most classic profession, the research of new profiles able to make the difference in this evolution is the key of success. A cardiothoracic surgeon nowadays has to be a great communicator and keep up with technology, besides knowing how a heart works.
Boundaries between jobs are no longer sharp and defined as before. In a sense, being up-to-date is an imperative for the education system.
Every university should commit itself to creating a better leading generation, with a different business ethic— pointed towards a social, cultural and gender equality, the eradication of racism and homophobia and a common sense of responsibility.
What all the changes in the administrations all around the world can teach us is that a new way of doing politics is required, a better understanding of the international dynamics is strongly needed and a special care for the environment is what to expect from who will lead the planet tomorrow. The only way we can defeat fear is knowing what is on the other side, embrace it and learn to get along with it.