First Global Generation: Are We Global Citizens?

A recent NPR article, titled “’Globals’ Generation Focuses on Experience” has caused many journalists and bloggers to ponder the true meaning of the American dream – has it really changed for this generation (current 20-something and early 3-something Americans)?

NPR defined the “First Globals” as members of a generation that have “moved beyond suburban homes and traditional nuclear families, and it’s ones that now goes even beyond U.S. borders…it’s a generation just as likely to watch the World Cup as it is the Super Bowl.”

The accuracy of this definition is supported by various studies that clearly show that the percent of the current 20-something and early 30-something Americans who have traveled abroad is greater than any previous generation. In fact, the International Institute of Education notes that more than 270,000 students studied abroad during the 2009-2010 school year, more than three times what it was two decades earlier.

The “First Globals” are focused on volunteering and working abroad, gaining a wide array of experiences, skill sets and a broader perspective on a variety of issues and cultures. Traveling abroad places value on experience, rather than ownership – the tenet of the ‘former’ American dream. Thus, it appears that the new American dream is composed more of being globally minded and the idea of public service, than commitment to the idea of ownership and family structure.

It is also evident that the advent of the Internet, specifically social media, has greatly contributed to the expansion of the idea of global citizenship. With social media, Americans are able to access a wide array of information, gaining a diverse set of knowledge, which further propels their interest to travel, volunteer or work abroad.

The process of volunteering or working abroad is exciting and its continuously expanding – it is the thrill of being able to “learn about other cultures, meet people from different backgrounds, talk to people with different global perspectives.”

So, do you consider yourself part of the “First Globals”? If not, check out our members and spend a couple of weeks traveling abroad – discover what it truly means to be a global citizen.


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