Date of this Version
Published in Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council Vol. 12, No.1 (Spring/Summer 2011). ISSN 1559-0151
Within recent years, a remarkable groundswell of support for study abroad has emerged. In 2001, the American Council on Education reported that 75% of the public believe that study abroad should be included in a student’s college education (Hayward & Siaya, 21–25). Three years later, the NASULGC (National Association for State Universities and Land Grant Colleges) Task Force issued A Call to Leadership urging university presidents to focus on international education as a means of enriching student learning and achievement, and the United States Senate passed Resolution 308 declaring 2006 as the Year of Study Abroad. Even more recently, the Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act, which is designed to leverage governmental resources to expand the number of students studying abroad, received unanimous approval by the House of Representatives and will be heading to the Senate soon.
In many ways, this broad-based support is understandable. American students’ understanding of the world is remarkably shallow. As the U.S. Senate noted in its 2006 resolution, “87% of students in the United States between the ages of 18 and 24 cannot locate Iraq on a world map, 83% cannot find Afghanistan, 58% cannot find Japan, and 11% cannot even find the United States” (Vistawide). The Lincoln Commission, which was established by Congress in 2004, also explained, “What nations do not know exacts a heavy toll. The stakes involved in study abroad are that simple, that straightforward, and that important” (3).