Many of the study abroad advisors and program coordinators one meets are in the field of international education because they feel strongly about its importance in higher education in the United States. With the tremendous socio-economic, political, and technological changes which have taken place all over the surface of the planet during the last fifty years, cultures have increasingly been in contact with one another at nongovernmental levels. This contact can lead to misunderstandings, misrepresentations, and the reinforcement of stereotypes which do little to increase cross-cultural understanding. Such tendencies are reinforced by governments' seeming desire for power and religious and ethnic factionalism which create international competitions and frictions that dissuade consorted efforts aimed at solving many of the pressing world issues such as poverty, overpopulation, and the continued overtaxation of the earth's resources. Where does hope lie? Any hope must include increasing the number of people from all countries who have meaningful cross-cultural and/or international experiences. These people will have a greater chance of attaining an understanding of, and tolerance for, other value structures and ways of living. They hopefully would recognize themselves as cultural beings; members of just one of many cultures co-existing on earth, none intrinsically better than any other. Through their own international experiences these people might become more proactive in encouraging societal reform and global justice.
International and Comparative Education
Jones, Bob, "Financial Aid for Study Abroad: Sources of Ambiguity" (1997). Capstone Collection. 1091.