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Students Who Study Abroad Fare Better in Job Market

FILE - Chinese student Xiong Xiong poses for a photo in Beijing, Sept. 23, 2019. Xiong Xiong, an electrical engineering student at Beijing Jiaotong University, said he would like to pursue graduate-level studies in the U.S.

Collaboration between U.S. and foreign nations is essential to higher education, said educators meeting this week in Washington.

“We believe always as educators, and as scholars, that we grow from interaction with others,” said Sri Zaheer, dean of the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. “We grow from ideas from working off the developments of others. That’s how knowledge advances.”

“We’re not just concerned about a particular country or a particular state,” she added. “We are concerned about our impact on society and our impact on the world. And the only way we can do it is through better collaboration.”

Students adapt better

Mary Dana Hinton, president of College of Saint Benedict in Minnesota, agreed.

“U.S.-China collaboration enlivens our work in higher education, both a professional impact on our students as well as what I would call a peace-building or humanistic impact,” she said.

She noted that 97% of students who study abroad are likely to be employed within 12 months of graduation, according to a study at the University of California-Merced, compared with 49% of the population overall.

“So, U.S.-China collaborations, like other international education programs, equip our students to go out into the world and find employment,” Hinton said.

Another benefit of global education abroad is that 80% adapt to diverse work environments better, and alums of global education programs make at least $6,000 more in starting salaries than those who don’t study abroad, Hinton said.

“So, you can certainly make an economic, business or professional case for the value of global education,” she said.

Humanistic element

There’s a transformational element, too, Hinton said, that comes out of U.S.-China collaborations: a “humanistic and peace-building” component.

She cited the nearly four-decade-long partnership her university has had with Southwest University in Beibei, China, where the two institutions have a robust student exchange program.

“When you have the student exchanges, it creates a climate of familiarity, a climate of trust, a climate of respect, that enables that research dialogue that enables faculty development.”

Hinton quoted slain civil-rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., to buttress her point:

“I am convinced that men hate each other because they fear each other. They fear each other because they don’t know each other. They don’t know each other because they don’t communicate with each other, and they don’t communicate with each other because they are separated from each other.”

“At its best,” Hinton said, “a U.S.-China collaboration enables us to know each other, to communicate with each other, and to be together in the world.”

Sense of misunderstanding lingers

Kenyon Chan, chancellor emeritus at the University of Washington, said he was a little more skeptical than his colleagues on the panel. He said he feels there’s “a deep sense of disconnection and misunderstanding between the American and Chinese cultures.

“Between America and the rest of the world actually,” he added. “Because we’ve faced hundreds of years of Orientalism where America has viewed the Orient as some mysterious thing and could never understand that thing over there called ‘Asia,’” Chan said. “We always are ‘the other,’ and Asia continues to be, at the very least, a mystery to the American government, a mystery to many Americans, and so the foreignness, the lack of respect for that culture, I think needs to be overcome.

“So, when you do these student exchanges for collaborations, personally I think we first have to get them to confront their Orientalism and go over there with an open mind,” he added.

Reasons for optimism

Sri Zaheer said she feels more optimistic.

“Frankly, the best thing that we can do as educators is to expose young people to international experiences, to have them have international students in their classes, to send them abroad as often as possible,” she said.

Her school, Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, has an almost 100% student study abroad participation, which she feels has given them an advantage.

“We have about 2,700 undergraduates at the school at any time. They cannot graduate unless they have completed an international study experience,” she said.

Carlson started its collaborative program in 1993 with the Warsaw School of Economics in a joint executive master’s of business administration program. They now offer three degree programs in China.

“So our faculty had developed a global mindset” and “they felt that it was really important for our students to have that global mindset as well.”

Employers are positive, too, about graduates with global exchanges.

“They wanted students who are flexible, adaptable, happy to move to other places, comfortable with dealing across cultures, across differences, and there’s nothing quite like a global experience to make that happen,” Carlson said.

Her graduates have had above average job placement, she added.

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It’s Graduation Season – Who Might Speak at Yours?

Honorary degree recipient actor Tom Hanks walks between graduating students during Harvard University’s 372nd Commencement Exercises in Cambridge, Massachusetts, May 25, 2023.

U.S. graduation ceremonies usually feature a public figure who offers advice to young people starting their careers. This spring, graduates have heard from President Joe Biden, actor Tom Hanks, Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa and even Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, who became the youngest prime minister in the world at age 34, told her audience that change cannot wait, even at their age. “To change things,” she said, “you have to take over.”

Read the story from Dan Friedell of VOA Learning English. (May 2023)

What Did Justin, a Golden Retriever Mix, Do to Earn a Diploma?

FILE - Dozens of golden retrievers gather with their owners, and some other breeds, to pose for photos and play together in Boston, Massachusetts, on April 16, 2023.

Justin is a service dog and accompanied his owner (who graduated with honors) to every single class for four years. The student’s university honored the dog’s hard work with his very own diploma, which he accepted, tail wagging, in front a cheering stadium of other graduates.

See Justin’s walk across the stage in this story from Bill Chappell of NPR. (May 2023)

What Are US Diplomats Doing to Further International Education?

FILE - U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks in Denver, Colorado, April 28, 2023.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken touted his department’s achievements in a recent address to NAFSA: Association of International Educators. The State Department has relaxed student visa and study abroad requirements. In fact, it issued over a half-million student visas last year – the highest number in five years. Blinken, who spent part of his childhood in France, thanked educators for “helping us to see the world through another’s eyes.”

Watch his remarks in this press release from the State Department. (May 2023)

Soon-to-Be Graduates Put COVID Behind Them

Soon-to-Be Graduates Put COVID Behind Them
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During the COVID-19 pandemic, learning lagged for students around the world, including the U.S., where many had access to online learning. Now these soon-to-be graduates say they are behind in certain subjects because of time missed at school. VOA’s Laurel Bowman sat down with high school seniors on the cusp of graduation. Camera: Adam Greenbaum, Saqib Ul Islam.

Former US Congresswoman Liz Cheney Urges Graduates Not to Compromise With the Truth

Former U.S. Congresswoman Liz Cheney, a Republican who represented Wyoming, delivers the commencement address at Colorado College, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, May 28, 2023.

Former U.S. Congresswoman Liz Cheney implored new college graduates to not compromise when it comes to the truth, excoriating her House Republican colleagues for not doing enough to combat former President Donald Trump's lies that the 2020 election was stolen.

In a commencement speech at Colorado College, the Wyoming Republican repeated her fierce criticisms of Trump but steered clear of talking about his 2024 reelection campaign or her own political future.

Cheney, who graduated from Colorado College in 1988, recalled being a political science student walking into a campus building where a Bible verse was inscribed above the entrance that read, "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."

"After the 2020 election and the attack of January 6th, my fellow Republicans wanted me to lie. They wanted me to say the 2020 election was stolen, the attack of January 6th wasn't a big deal, and Donald Trump wasn't dangerous," Cheney said Sunday in Colorado Springs, connecting her experiences as a student to her work in the U.S. House of Representatives. "I had to choose between lying and losing my position in House leadership."

In three terms in office, Cheney rose to the No. 3 GOP leadership position in the House, a job she lost after voting to impeach Trump for the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol and then not relenting in her criticism of the former president.

Cheney's speech touched on themes similar to those she has promoted since leaving office in January: addressing her work on the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol and standing up to the threat she believes Trump poses to democracy. She also encouraged more women to run for office and criticized one of the election-denying attorneys who worked for Trump after the 2020 election for recent remarks about college students voting.

"Cleta Mitchell, an election denier and adviser to former President Trump, told a gathering of Republicans recently that it is crucially important to make sure that college students don't vote," Cheney said. "Those who are trying to unravel the foundations of our republic, who are threatening the rule of law and the sanctity of our elections, know they can't succeed if you vote."

In an audio recording of Mitchell's presentation from a recent Republican National Committee retreat, she warns of polling places on college campuses and the ease of voting as potential problems, The Washington Post reported.

Most students and parents in the audience applauded throughout Cheney's remarks, yet some booed. Some students opposing the choice of Cheney as speaker turned their chairs away from the stage as she spoke.

Cheney's busy speaking schedule and subject matter have fueled speculation about whether she may enter the 2024 GOP presidential primary since she left office. Candidates ranging from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley have calibrated their remarks about Trump, aiming to counter his attacks without alienating the supporters that won him the White House seven years ago.

Though some have offered measured criticisms, no declared or potential challenger has embraced anti-Trump messaging to the same extent as Cheney. She did not reference her plans on Sunday but has previously said she remains undecided about whether she wants to run for president.

Though she would face an uphill battle, Cheney's fierce anti-Trump stance and her role as vice chairwoman of the House committee elevated her platform high enough to call on a national network of donors and Trump critics to support a White House run.

A super PAC organized to support of her candidacy has remained active, including purchasing attack ads on New Hampshire airwaves against Trump this month.

After leaving office and being replaced by a Trump-backed Republican who defeated her in last year's primary, Cheney was appointed to a professorship at the University of Virginia and wrote "Oath and Honor," a memoir scheduled to hit shelves in November.

Two of Cheney's five children as well as her mother are also graduates of the liberal arts college.

Cheney's speaking tour appears to be picking up. She is scheduled to appear Thursday at the Mackinac Policy Conference in Michigan.

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