U.S. has to capture “educational moments” to get full benefits for study abroad students

As the U.S. is increasingly internationalizing its campuses, more needs to be done to “capture the educational moments in international education,” such as integrating international students on U.S. campuses and encouraging American students to study abroad in less traditional destinations, World Learning President and CEO Adam Weinberg suggests in a recent Huffington Post blog post.

One such educational moment is the fact that a large amount of international students lack friendships in the U.S., Weinberg explains, referring to a new study by Elisabeth Gareis [the Alliance reported] whose results are “sobering”:

“For those of us who work with these students, the results are not surprising. While we work hard to bring international students to our campuses, we often do not work strategically to integrate them. This leaves too many international students living, studying and socializing only with other international students.”

Being more strategic about housing for international students and finding ways to integrate them into the campus community, especially during their first few months in the U.S., could be a good start to counter these problems, Weinberg suggests.

Secondly, Weinberg notes, more needs to be done to encourage American students to study abroad in locations less traditional than Western Europe or Australia, which half of all U.S. study abroad students currently chose as their destinations:

“We need to redirect where American students are studying and rethink the kinds of experiences they need to have abroad. We need to get them interested in exploring India, China, Indonesia, Brazil, Jordan, Turkey and other places that play strategic roles in their regions and worldwide. Students need to be deeply immersed in these cultures … At the very least, they should be learning local languages and developing language-learning skills.”