Exchanges in the media

The United States’ education system has failed to prepare the public with the information necessary to “understand the world we live in today,” according to Dr. Sanford J. Unjar, the former president of Goucher College in Baltimore. In an essay published by Inside Higher Ed, he suggests that a “broader familiarity with the world is needed,” through increased efforts of global awareness in academia.

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Study abroad programs in China are seeing substantial drops in enrollment of American students, reports Reuters. Although overall study abroad numbers slightly rose throughout 2012-13, the number of U.S. students studying in China decreased 3.2 per cent, according to the Open Doors report published by the Institute of International Education (IIE). In contrast, the number of incoming Chinese international students rose 16.5 per cent in 2013-14.

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“Mobile students” (those who participated in an exchange program, worked, or studied in a placement program abroad) were found to have lower unemployment rates and earn higher quality jobs than non-mobile students, the Pie News reports.

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Five former U.S. ambassadors to Germany believe that the decision to cut funding for the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange program (CBYX) by 50 per cent “runs contrary to U.S. interests”:

“At a time when our two countries need to work together more closely on numerous transatlantic and global issues, slashing this successful program is the wrong decision for German-American relations.”

Minorities, specifically black and Hispanic students, are the most underrepresented groups in study abroad programs, reports USA Today. According to the Institute of international Education’s (IIE) annual Open Doors report, Hispanic students represent 8 per cent of Americans abroad, while black students comprise only 5 per cent.

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Despite being a “textbook example” of soft power and “the best money we spend overseas,” the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) has experienced consistent funding cuts over the past several years, Foreign Policy reports:

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Shifting current attitudes in the Middle East away from fear and towards trust-building is best accomplished through people-to-people exchange programs, according to Richard LeBaron, a retired U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait. LeBaron suggests that in order to counter terrorism, we need only look at the decade long studies of the roots of radicalization coupled with serious consideration of exchanges as strategic tools rather than “a nice thing to do.” 

The closure of a once commonly used visa track, for post-study international students to work in the U.K., has had negative impacts on British businesses and universities, The Pie News reports.

Funding cuts to the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX), a bilateral exchange program supported jointly by the U.S. and Germany, are facing bipartisan criticism from members of Congress, as well as from the German government. In addition to opposition from CBYX program alumni, the cuts have “spawned an unusual coalition in Washington that is working hard to reverse the partial defunding of the program,” Deutsche Welle reports.

The Indian academic community has voiced concerns regarding the one-sided nature of the Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GAIN), an exchange that only incorporates Indians hosting Americans but not the other way around, according to The Chronicle Of Higher Education. GAIN is an Indian program that will host 1,000 American scholars annually.

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