There are a lot of countries to choose from if you want to study abroad. “International education should be part of every student’s academic career,” said Mike Pompeo, U.S. Secretary, to start the International Education Week 2018. But what is international education?
According to Fanta Aw, SIS Hurst Senior Professorial Lecturer and AU VP of Campus Life, international education is about the mobility of students and scholars who come to study, work or teach in another country. It’s not just about student mobility, but it’s also about research scholars coming to the other countries to do work, teachers moving to other places for teaching, and those doing community-based service-learning. International education ‘s primary objectives are to promote knowledge and cultural capital, to learn about places and cultures, and to gain intercultural skills in the process.
Studying abroad allows students to have an international experience in their education that would make them have a wider array of understanding of social, political, economic, environmental, and other issues. A lot of stories already proved how studying abroad helped them to better their lives, to contribute to their societies and communities, and to empower themselves more effectively as citizens of their respective countries. Though it may seem that students really benefit from international education, who really benefits from it?
There are different benefits of international education on several levels. One is studying abroad gives students an international experience related to one’s field of study, another country’s culture, economy, way of living, and others. Also, international education may be a form of cultural diplomacy. According to Institute for Cultural Diplomacy, it is best described as a course of actions, which are based on and utilize the exchange of ideas, values, traditions, and other aspects of culture or identity, whether to strengthen relationships, enhance socio-cultural cooperation, promote national interests and beyond. Another reason may be for work. Some employers allow their workers to go and gain qualifications elsewhere, as businesses need a workforce with the knowledge, expertise, and talents to compete internationally in this global economy.
International education is important not just to the student, but to the countries involved as well because it extends awareness and cultural resources, gives the opportunity to learn about places and cultures, and develops intercultural competencies of the people involved in the process.