The Importance of Building an International Community

June 11, 2013

For 30+ years, we've been helping students develop the skills they need to thrive in a 21st-century world. Here's proof that we've had the right idea all along.

As Louis Lavelle writes in BusinessWeek, top universities and business schools are opening their doors more and more to international students, with the goal of fostering cross-cultural connections and preparing their students to compete in a global marketplace.

According to an article written by David Jamieson-Drake and Jiali Luo, Duke University's Director and Assistant Director of Institutional Research, living and learning side-by-side with international students does help you master a new language or broaden your worldview. But it also instills "a host of cognitive skills that are seemingly unrelated:"

the ability to question [your] own beliefs and values; acquire new skills and knowledge independently; formulate creative ideas; integrate ideas and information; achieve quantitative abilities; understand the role of science and technology in society; and gain in-depth knowledge in a specific field.

Jamieson-Drake and Luo drew their findings from a 2005 study conducted at four of the most selective universities, where international students comprise a high percentage of the student body. Based on its findings, "graduates who reported high levels of interaction with international students reported 'significantly higher levels of skill development' than those who reported little or no interaction."

What makes this so significant? As Lavelle writes, "Encountering people with sharply different backgrounds and ideas produces 'cognitive disequilibrium' that promotes intellectual growth." This is something we watch unfold, summer after summer, during each program and session.

At Explo, bringing together students of different cultures and backgrounds is what we do. Helping each of them — from the youngest to the oldest —acquire the skills to prosper in a global marketplace is what we're all about.

By Lisa Merlini

Tag: Exploring Education

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