Rick Steves recently posted a piece in USA Today about the global economy and the advantages of having a international perspective. He especially emphasizes the study abroad, between those who want to study abroad and those who are able.
Studying abroad, and I would argue. having a volunteering abroad experience opens the world to a young student. International experiences are not just beneficial for career development or for adding something to a resume; they change you. Unfortunately, life changing experiences are not available to everyone. As Mr. Steve notes. “students for whom foreign travel is not easily affordable are the ones who benefit most from the experience.” More and more organizations, university and people realize this. There have been bills to increase funding, both for volunteer and study abroad opportunities and I know many volunteer organizations have outreach initiatives to reach those less able to pay.
One of my favorite items from the piece is he say, “Travelers learn to celebrate, rather than fear”. That is something that is not as easily taught as it is experienced. It is interesting to ponder what our world would be like if we were all global citizens.