Can social media tools and the blogging community directly impact international education and help to increase international and intercultural understanding? Absolutely! A very real opportunity is currently in progress.
DID YOU KNOW? that only 1 percent of United States college students study abroad each year?
DID YOU KNOW? that 95% of the world?s population growth over the next fifty years is expected to occur outside Europe, yet four European countries dominate as the leading destination for U.S. study abroad?
DO YOU BELIEVE... the opportunity to gain the valuable global skills today?s employers are looking for is something that should be accessible to all students
Right now there is a congressional initiative to dramatically increase opportunities of study abroad for students in the United States, the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act, a program that will establish "an innovative public-private partnership to create a more globally informed American citizenry" by:
- Increasing participation in quality study abroad programs.
- Encouraging diversity in student participation in study abroad.
- Diversifying locations of study abroad, particularly in developing countries.
- Making study abroad a cornerstone of today's higher education.
The U.S. House version (H.R. 1469) has passed. However, the bill is currently being held up in the U.S. Senate. Due to election year politics, this bill has been wedged into a difficult position. If the legislation does not pass by the end of this year, it will die.
Among the more than 35 higher education and educational exchange associations supporting this bill are NAFSA and ACE. The University of Minnesota's student newspaper, Minnesota Daily, featured an article about the bill from a student perspective, "Study abroad bill hopes to send one million students overseas".
NAFSA: Association of International Educators has released a video of the late Senator Paul Simon speaking of his thoughts on international educational exchange upon which the Simon Act is based.
NAFSA has also set up a Facebook group "Join the Movement for Study Abroad". The goal of the is to encourage people to send letters to U.S Senators asking them to pass the Simon Act this year. For further information and to access a sample letter, please visit NAFSA's web page about the Simon Act and consider joining this effort, either on Facebook or by contacting a U.S. Senator.
What do you think of the Simon Act?