Exchanges in the media

In a speech today outlining his vision for American foreign policy, delivered at West Point Academy, President Obama spoke about the importance of educational exchanges.

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Student exchanges between the U.S and its Western Hemisphere neighbors are being limited due to financial, social, and political obstacles, writes Roberta S. Jacobson, the Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, in the Huffington Post.

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Bills are being considered in the Minnesota and New York state legislatures that would require colleges to disclose more information about their study abroad programs, Inside Higher Ed reports.

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In response to a proposed $30 million cut to the Fulbright program, Fulbright alumni from around the world “have come forward to explain how the program shaped their lives and changed their perspective,” the Arkansas Gazette reports. Several alumni from Arkansas, Sen. J. William Fulbright’s home state, said that their in-depth experiences in other countries changed their perspectives “not only on the other culture, but on their own government.”

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A growing body of research indicates that study and work abroad experiences foster an “ability to think more complexly and creatively,” which can lead to more success as a professional, Time magazine reports. Time points to three different studies on the subject:

“The Fulbright Program is one of the best opportunities that America has to improve its relationship with the rest of the world,” according to a recent Huffington Post blog post by Fulbright Fellow and English Teaching Assistant Jonathan Rice.

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A blog post in The New Yorker discusses the potential value and challenges posed by the rising number of F-1 high school students coming to the U.S. Quoting data provided by CSIET (the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel), the post notes that “between 2007 and 2012, the number of F-1 students at U.S.

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Even as relations between the U.S. and Russian governments hit a post-Soviet low point, due to the crisis in Crimea, administrators of educational exchange partnerships say business is largely continuing as usual, Inside Higher Ed reports.

Inside Higher Ed quotes Dr. Dan Davidson, President of the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, who notes that:

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The Fulbright Program is “a fundamental piece of America’s higher education infrastructure,” writes Jarrod Hayes in the Washington Post, providing “a critical opportunity for our collective braintrust to build the intellectual capital upon which our society relies”:

“The Fulbright scholars program is…central to everything colleges and universities do for our society. It supports faculty from all over the U.S.—red states, blue states, and states in between—to travel abroad in an effort to build connections with other societies and bring those connections and experiences home to their students and communities. It also brings the world into the classrooms of our children by funding the research and teaching of scholars from other societies visiting American colleges and universities.”

“In very many ways, the Fulbright program embodies the United States: an ambitious, diverse, globally connected program aimed at moving forward and at the forefront of taking on the difficult challenges that our societies and the world faces. And so preserving the Fulbright program is in a sense preserving who we are as Americans in the 21st century.”

Gaining international experience could benefit students when they enter the job market, aCNN article reports.

With only one per cent of American students studying abroad, “studying abroad isn’t a common experience for most U.S. college students,” CNN writes, adding that “finances, time constraints and safety are some of the challenges U.S. students face when deciding to spend a semester or two overseas.”

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