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The White House Wants More Students To Study Abroad. That's Great, And Here's Why.

My study abroad program was called Operation Iraqi Freedom. It was my first time overseas, and being exposed to such a different culture was amazing. Once I got done in the military and started college, I wanted to study abroad under less ... strenuous circumstances. But it seemed too expensive, so I let that dream die. I'm not alone, and The White House wants to change that.

The White House Travel Bloggers Summit on Study Abroad and Student Mobility had a packed agenda full of great speakers, but it was Evan Ryan, assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs, who really caught my ear.


You might be thinking that traveling abroad sounds like an unnecessary extravagance — especially when you take into account how expensive college already is. But in this super-connected world, we can't afford to pretend that the American experience is the only one that matters.

Ángel Cabrera dropped this stat during one of the panel discussions. He would know; he's the president of George Mason University. So I believed him when he said this:


But that doesn't change the fact that studying abroad is daunting for a bunch of reasons. It's no surprise that Assistant Secretary Ryan showed us these slides.

Worse, studying abroad has a diversity problem on two fronts.

Fortunately, I was able to learn about some organizations that make studying abroad more accessible to students and adults who want to expand their horizons.

I think studying abroad is an incredibly important experience for young people. Too many Americans have no experience outside their hometown, home state, or home country. The more we experience, the more we appreciate.

Did you study abroad? How has your experience affected your life? Do you think more students should study abroad? Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #StudyAbroadBecause or by clicking the image below.

Photo from Dole
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Photo from Dole
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