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Student Alyssa Lanz poses for a snapshot in Egypt while studying at the American University in Cairo, taking classes in Arabic and political science, and working with New Women's Foundation, a research center in Cairo focusing on women's rights. (Photo courtesy of Maya Frost)

Alyssa Lanz poses for a snapshot in Egypt while studying at the American University in Cairo, taking classes in Arabic and political science, and working with New Women's Foundation, a research center in Cairo focusing on women's rights. (Photo: mayafrost.com)

Everybody knows the straight and narrow, up-and-out formula for American success: good grades, good scores, good college, big debt … good luck.

My guests today, Maya and Tom Frost, say forget it. There’s a better way, they say. And the path leads abroad — early.

Stay home studying for SATs and taking on college debt, and you’re guaranteed nothing in this topsy-turvy economy. Go abroad — as early as high school, especially for college, they say — and you’ll find low tuitions, big adventures, and the future.

This hour, On Point: A new American way in the world. Going global, right from the start.

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.


Maya Frost joins us in our studio. She’s the author of “The New Global Student: Skip the SAT, Save Thousands on Tuition and Get a Truly International Education.”

At Frost’s website, you can read about the students (such as Alyssa Lanz, seen in the photo above) who are featured in the book.

Also joining us in our studio is Tom Frost, husband of Maya and father of their four daughters.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    This is great. If there’s one thing Americans need it’s a bigger world view and this is a way to help start that early.

    But, even old farts (like me) need to travel outside the US on a regular basis so we don’t get stuck in our local perspective.

    One piece of the resistance to this that younger people may not feel as much as older travelers is fear of terrorism and the liability of being an American abroad after eight years of Bush and American unpopularity outside the US.

    Keep up the good work Frosts, this is important.

  • Sam E.

    I actually considered going to a foreign college for graduate studies. I chose not to but the reasons I considered it were

    1. The tuition was probably going to be about 1/4th what it would have been at an American university.

    2. I knew because in the U.S I couldn’t get into an elite school there would be some types of jobs that would be very hard to get in my field.

    3. I wanted the experience of living abroad and learning about a different culture.

  • Mr.Independant

    Great idea if you speak the language of the country that you want to go to and want to get more experience or learn that language, and the culture.

    Some things that all students should understand however, if you get arrested for anything in another country your on your own. The extreme case is that young woman in Italy, who is now facing many years behind bars.

    It would good if these realities of going abroad could be discussed as it seems that a lot Americans seem to think that the laws don’t apply to them when abroad. For instance in the picture above the young woman is in Egypt. One thing you do not want to get caught doing there is drinking in public or being drunk. The other, stay out their politics.

  • Justin

    Our son just recently completed his 1st year at the University of Toronto and is taking summer courses there. The application process was much more straightforward and easier compared to US schools. No essays, recommendations. Cost for international students approximately 30K $CAN (good deal even at parity). Toronto has a very good academic reputation (very competitive) and features a great diversity in student body and wonderful urban environment. We’d recommend it

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    Maya, right on. You’re exactly right about doing it early while the brain is still plastic and kids are not stuck in ruts. And, it’s not like the rest of the world isn’t connected; going abroad doesn’t have to be going into a developing country although it can.

    This is great.

  • Robyn vom Saal

    Tom, GREAT topic! I attended the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, in Brussels, Belgium for college and graduate school, getting a BA in International Affairs and Economics and an MA in European Politics. I had a totally different college experience than many of my friends here, and was exposed to perspectives not many Americans would have encountered. I now have friends all over the world, and feel I am a much richer person for the experience. I highly recommend spending any amount of time in a foreign educational environment.

  • Ronda

    I studied abroad my junior year of high school and it changed my life. I was also able to study for and take the SATs abroad, as well as search for a college. I studied with AFS and it was by far the best year of my life.

    Since then, I studied abroad in undergrad and graduate school, but my high school experience was the most formative. During my time with AFS I was immersed in the language unlike any other time I spent in Europe.

    I would absolutely recommend that any high school student study abroad with AFS.

  • Putney Swope

    This is timely, the NY Times is posting this story today.

    Amanda Knox, an American college student accused of murder.


  • Violet

    This sounds great! I wish I would have taken this path during my college years — what a great way to develop confidence, independence and maturity.

  • Eric

    I’m a university student and have thought extensively about studying abroad or attending graduate school abroad. I wonder while studying abroad do you feel like more of a tourist and if not what sort of cultural identity does this experience foster?

  • Sara

    After negotiation and pushing my college adviser he agreed to give me some credit for going to Brazil for a semester and volunteering with 5 other people, who happened to be women. Our group was from the US, Japan, Jordan and Estonia, an amazing experience.

  • matt good

    I wish I had known about and considered this when I was in H.S. and college… Do you have any tips specific to studying grad school abroad?

  • Mike Lange

    I am a professor at a small New England college, and I cannot agree more with the guests today on the benefits of studying abroad for American school kids. I teach a lot of first year students, and what they lack most is intellectual maturity – an awareness of a world larger than themselves and their limited experiences. Living abroad provides a student with more experiences, but it also does more than that. It shows a young person that there is a wealth of experience beyond what they themselves CAN have. By really encountering otherness, a young person’s mind can be opened to understand everything – the familiar and the new. The largest hurdle I face with my students is convincing them that an idea or interpretation outside their own small, blinkered world can exist, let alone have some validity.

  • Eirc

    I studied abroad and lived abroad. American Colleges take much better care of their students than international schools I’ve seen, but I don’t think that’s all good–abroad the students are expected to be adults and take care of themselves. It also helps that their parents aren’t right there to fix everything for them.

    There are risks, but I think that’s the point–are you going to spend your life trying to control everything and be safe, or are you going to embrace life and live it.

  • Rob Kaplan

    Could the Frosts please list how college bound students “find” colleges and universities that place a high value on high school based experiential programs? Perhaps even list a few examples?
    Thanks very much!

  • Caitrin

    It sounds great, and I wish that I had done that as a teenager. I travelled for ice skating beginning at a young age and became a global citizen through that. I used to visit food markets and explore the culture, unlike my fellow skaters who would go to shopping malls.
    I have twin boys and I hope to do something as you suggest.
    HOWEVER, what about the American economy.
    Yesterday I was just thinking about the fact that American colleges attract so many foreign students that it must be significant to our economy for so many reasons.

    I hear what you say about brain plasticity in the teenage years, but how do you reconcile these issues?

  • juli

    Thank you very much for addressing this important topic—
    We lived in the U.K. for 4 years and my children learned so much from that experience.
    My daughter is interested in going abroad for college and is a Junior in high school here in the U.S. She is very anxious about the whole college admissions process here.
    Looking forward to reading this book!

  • Clinton

    I regretted never going abroad as an undergraduate, and now have graduated and am thinking about graduate school abroad. Advice, resources, experiences?

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    The money issue brought up by the gentleman who called from Detroit is sort of a red herring. It’s not a money issue (as Maya said), it’s an imagination issue.

  • Jenn Varekamp

    So glad to hear this “On Point”. I think this is truly one of the best ways to educate yourself. I do think there are many ways to do this. I should say that during college (early 90′s) I studied abroad in Europe and shortly after again. At 25 I back packed around the world for 8 months with my best friend and actually met my husband on this trip. (He is from Holland) , but we met while working on a farm in Australia! This 8 month trip throughout the south pacific and southeast Asia and into Europe was the most educational experience I have had in my life and quite life changing. I now teach at college level and encourage my students to travel and study abroad in any capacity. I actually now teach a travel course as well and take students aborad.

  • Putney Swope

    Sorry Mrs. Frost but this whole thing is about upper middle class families sending their children abroad.

    Nothing wrong with this in the abstract, but the timing of this is a not very sensitive to the realities that a huge amount of Americans are facing right now.

    Bottom line this is a book tour show, they are trying to sell books.

  • Maggie

    I am a graduate of the Intercultural Relations program at Lesley University and am currently working with study abroad and international students. I think Maya and Tom Frost have a good idea, but I also think they are discounting reality for many students. Leaving the US all together for longer periods of time is simply not an option for many people. For students who are from other cultures, the importance of maintaining close family ties, and tending to family responsibilities comes first, and to assume that these students have the ability to up and leave is naive and discounts their own culture. I believe strongly in the importance of international experiences for students, but we must open our minds to the vast array in which these experiences can take place and train students to be leaders in a global world.

  • Martina

    Great topic & it’s refreshing to hear from parents who think it’s beneficial to have a global education.

    It’s important for young people to know that the world is their oyster from the time they can move around instead of on graduation day.

  • Putney Swope

    The money issue brought up by the gentleman who called from Detroit is sort of a red herring. It’s not a money issue (as Maya said), it’s an imagination issue.

    It is if you don’t have any Richard.

  • Jackie Farrell

    This sounds great. As a mom of young kids though I wonder what grades will be required to take advantage of this opportunity. Is it only available for top performers?

  • Mel Chaplin

    The attitude displayed by the guests is rather “pollyana-ish” in my opinion. It takes a high level of language proficiency to do high school or college level work. My daughter is working on a master’s degree in Madrid. She has met many other foreign citizens and language is a huge barrier to many of them.

    Also not everyone has the personality to cope with the distance from family, friends and the familiar.

  • Lindsey

    Hi Tom, This is a great topic. I was part of a family legacy of Rotary exchange students. My mother spent a year in Sweden and I followed in her footsteps by spending a year in Germany when I was 18. I highly encourage people to take part in the Rotary program, though I would suggest people choose programs carefully because not all of them have the strong support network that Rotary offers. I take slight exception; however, to your guest’s claims of a year abroad being cheaper. The question is: cheaper for whom? Perhaps my own family incurred fewer expenses during the year I was abroad, but there is no doubt that my host families spent their own hard-earned money on my living expenses as well as travel expenses. I was invited on family vacations and was offered many opportunities from my generous host families that I’m sure they were never reimbursed for. I think that most Rotary members have the goodwill to offer this kind of care without an expectation of repayment – I could never have repayed them in any case. But on a large scale, it would be foolhardy to expect to send vast numbers of US students abroad on someone else’s dollar.

  • http://www.surfacematterdesign.com shonna dowers

    This is an excellent, eye-opening topic! My son is only in Kindergarten, in a French-American School, what a great experience for him later on to use the language he’s learning now, or perhaps learn a second one. I will certainly keep this in mind for his future. Thank you!

  • Erin Trish

    I studied abroad in college and thought it was the best experience I ever had. I studied Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins and was the first person from my department ever to study abroad. It took a lot of work on my part to make it happen but it was well worth it. I would encourage students to start early and find the people in your universities who will support you and ignore the ones who tell you not to go.

    But, I would just like to point out that there are some things to consider as far as transferring your credits back to America. For example, if one wants to pursue Medical School in America, the MCAS will not accept transcripts from foreign universities for your time abroad, so you would need to stay enrolled via an American University. The same may be true for law school (I am not sure). This is less of a problem for other graduate studies.

  • Max

    I can speak to the cost issue, at least for Rotary. in 1998, I spent a year between high school in French speaking Belgium, lived with a host family, attended a private high school and spent weekends traveling around Europe. Because of Rotary’s small but generous stipend, In total, my family and I spent less than four thousand dollars for the whole year I was abroad.

    Not only did my language skills help me land a French high school teaching job after college, I fell in love with Belgian food, the Belgian country-side and most importantly, the straight-shooting Belgian people–connections that will last a lifetime. My Belgian host parents will be attending my wedding in Cambridge next month!

  • Erin Nikitchyuk

    I went abroad on a Rotary program when I was 15. It changed my life. I want my kids to be internationally focused as early as possible.

    Last summer we looked into how to extend a necessary trip to Europe into a summer adventure. My children, then 10, 9, and 4, and I ultimately spent 7 weeks in Russia on a “service vacation” at a Russian foster care community called the Kitezh Children’s Community. It was the experience of a lifetime and much more reasonable than returning to the US for the balance of the summer.

    If I had been unable to find a volunteer opportunity that would take such young children (it was a challenge!), I found many wonderful international summer camps as a back up that were as reasonable, if not more reasonable, than I would have spent to send my kids to camp here in America.

    With some research and planning, kids of any age can be introduced to international experiences. My kids know they will be expected to take a year abroad in high school, and/or a “gap year” for more international adventures.

  • Danielle

    I studied abroad and have done research of study abroad programs. By and large I found that American students seek all things American abroad and migrate towards that…missing the enriching foreign esperiences.
    Second point – I teach Spanish at a private elementary school. This is not possible at public schools. When will this become a priority for our young minds?

  • euonymous

    Absolutely awesome. This is such a great idea. We Americans tend to be insulated from the world. Learning other cultures and languages would be a tremendous benefit to the individual and to the US. All those foreign students that used to come to OUR universities certainly took home an understanding of how our culture functions (or not as the case may be). And because they understood us they were in a better position to do business with us and, in some cases, to beat us at our own games. The US needs to encourage our young people to see how we fit into and compete with the rest of the world.

  • Morgan

    Can you talk about the logistics and career planning parents need to do in order to arrange a family living/working/school abroad experience like yours? Did you find it difficult to find work in a foreign country? Sounds like the perfect way to gain perspective and avoid the absurd parenting ratrace here in America.

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    @Putney Swope: we’ll have to agree to disagree. I think these ideas are exactly what families struggling to figure out how to send their kids to US colleges need to hear, no matter what kind of money they have.

    These folks are offering alternatives and not just for upper middle class families.

    The only thing upper middle class about this is the possible idea that more folks who have those kinds of resources have travelled and might value the experience of going to school outside the US. In that way, it’s a failure of the imaginations of folks who are intimidated by the idea and using cost as a way to hide it.

  • Steven

    This study abroad business is curriculum-busting nonsense. Each of my friends who spent his junior year (of college) abroad returned less capable than those who’d stayed. That the credits “earned” abroad are given equivalency at American schools merely diminishes the degrees we grant. Students and faculty come to the States because, well, our institutions are better–more rigorous.

  • Kim

    Like one of your callers, my daughter also got accepted to the United World College. She will attend the US campus in New Mexico, joining 200 students from 84 countries. We are *thrilled* and amazed that an opportunity such as this exists. My daughter also spent part of her sophomore year in Uganda. To see the world from other than an American and Western point of view is not simply valuable for her personally, but essential to us as a society.

  • Hank Lang


    Are your quests familiar with global university rankings. At the moment, just two institutions make annual attempts to compare universities round the world. Shanghai’s Jiao Tong University has been doing it since 2003, and the Times of London Higher Education Supplement, a British weekly, started a similar exercise in 2004. Presently North American universities US and Canada rank academically much higher than their counterparts overseas. If they are familiar with these studies do they have anay comments on the disparity.



  • Ronda

    I think the gloabl experience definitely tops staying at home. It shows that you are able and willing to step outside of your comfort zone and try something different.

    I believe that beign open-minded, versatile, and global adds much more to an individual than having great gades in high school and college.

    The world we live in is rapidly getting smaller and being able to adapt in those situations is both crucial professionally and personally.

  • Greg

    I don’t feel California’s educational system prepared me to make the right decision with respect to my choice of major. After doing the whole AP thing and graduating third in my high school class, I ended up going to UC for 4 years, studying something I wasn’t interested in, then dropped out. Luckily I’m a renaissance person with plenty of interests and skills. Things are fine. But I feel I missed a great opportunity during those formative college years.

  • Rags

    A good friend of mine attended the United World College and from all the stories I have heard, it was a great education and an experience of a life time. You study with people from all over the world with a lot of hands on courses.

    It is a great idea to study abroad both for the perspective and the experience.

  • Rosemary Schmid

    I agree that study abroad is important, but I don’t support the idea that it is only valuable if it’s an independent activity

    My husband and I lived abroad (US Army) in Germany – MY first experience abroad. When it came time for college, all of our students have had a year abroad – and all of them have a world view. HOWEVER, they were attending schools abroad as part of their college experience abroad, and I really think it was better to come with peers from their home college. Their courses transferred and, while we take it for granted in the USA, people come here from overseas BECAUSE of the US approach to higher education. Sure, the EXPERIENCE of living abroad is valuable, and attending a school abroad gives experience, but I still think the USA does or can do the best when it comes to encouraging the next generation to be creative, innovative, and inventive. WE teach toward an attitude of life-long learning, rather than getting a job.

    I teach international students who come to the USA to study, and that’s what they come for – the life-long learning attitude.

    Can’t call in so this is second best.

  • Dave

    I was raised in Africa and having lived in the USA for the last 10 years, I’m amaized how little Americans know in regards to other countries…..may be these foreign programs would help in enlighting young Americans.

  • Joe B.

    French is a dying language.

  • Sarah

    Great idea — but what about kids who havea learning disability, add, and/or are on medication . . . should we as parents still try to overcome our overprotectiveness?

  • Titi

    I came to America as a international student, it opened the whole universe to me, I have no concept of boarders,I hunger to see the world. It would be very unfair for me to raise a child who thinks the USA is the entire universe, so yes am going to send my child to school abroad, experience the whole world. Its not elite, for me to afford it, he wont wear the latest sneakers of nig designer clothes. Priorities! Priorities! But he will be President or Secretary of State one day.

  • Rosemary Schmid

    I was listening and keying in. I have four grown children who were all students abroad – on to Taiwan, two to Japan, and one to Denmark.

  • Shannon Duncan

    I come from a working class family where my brother and I were the first to ever attend college in both sides of our family. I attended a UWC (United World College) in the US and it was an amazing experience. It’s a 2-year program and is comparable to the AP system in the US. 75% of the student population was from abroad. I had roommates from Hong Kong, Yugoslavia, Sweden, and Ecuador. I learned more from this experience than I did when I attended college to get my undergrad. The IB curriculum is more rigorous than anything I had in college. I am still in contact with several of my classmates who live all over the world. I hardly talk to anyone I went to undergrad US college though. Unfortunately, the Davis Scholarship the caller mentioned wasn’t around when I attended, but they were able to give me a scholarship that partially covered tuition.

  • Nicole

    I just graduated in May from a Rhode Island University. What are my options for going aboard?

  • http://www.catherinecorman.com Cathy

    The bigger point is critical: all of us in the United States need to learn to be global citizens. It’s never too early or too late to learn the lesson.

    Rather than framing the discussion in terms of high school, why not open the discussion so that you’re acknowledging a wide variety of maturity levels, learning styles, and incomes? Some students are happiest in experiential settings and therefore blossom when they can be living with a family, doing community service, working in some capacity — and that happens most easily over a summer. What about “WOOF”-ing — working on organic farms around the world? Peace Corps? Amigos? Exchanges? Teaching in international schools?

    In high school, during summers, between high school and college, after college, during retirement — it’s ALL good.

  • Jane Palestini

    Our famuly has hosted several high school exchange students from other countries, but we are always surprised at how few US students seem to take up this opportunity despite scholarship funds being available.
    It has been a wonderful experience for us, getting to know some wonderful young people, and seeing the benefits for them of living abroad.

  • Mel Chaplin

    Your caller list seems to be skewed to “happy talk”. Are all your callers so enthusiastic? No one has had a bad experience?

  • Gilbert R. Caldwell III

    Great program. Check out http://www.journeycn.com for my son’s summer program in the beautiful coastal town of Qingdao. He obtained his undergraduate degree in the USA, but studied in the Netherlands with his college, then on his own post graduate in Qingdao, China. He lives their now and runs an English language school and exchange programs. This program is reasonably priced. Gil Caldwell

  • Ronda

    As an African-American high school student, I was often questioned about leaving home and my parents were questioned for letting me leave; however in the longrun it was definitely worth it.

    I will say that there are some challenges that are unique to students of color, but I feel that these experiences helped shape who I am today. It was difficult to deal with and understand at 15, but looking back it was just another life experience.

    As for the money, it was not easy as I do not come from a rich or wealthy family. I saved, my parents saved, and came up with some interesting ways to raise money. It was not easy, but it can be done. And just as college is an investment, so is this type of experience. It is much more valuable than the money spent.

  • Kathy

    I lived in France and Germany with my parents at age 12, then did a summer exchange program to Belgium when I was 15. I studied in the Soviet Union for a summer at age 19, for a semester at age 21, and for a year in grad school at age 23. After graduate school I worked in Russia for 5 years in the 1990s, including working for a Russian company. All of this was great. The hard part was fitting back into American society when I moved back to settle down and start a family at age 34. I soon realized that most of my friends were far away at a time when I could have used a closer network. I wouldn’t give up the foreign experiences for anything though.

  • tokiko

    For a year between the end of Elementary and the start of middle school my son and I tavelled for a year. Both ends were punctuated by Summer math and science programs delivered on the campuses of Stanford and Mount Holyoke ogranized by Johns Hopkins. After elementary school at Berkeley Carrrol in Brooklyn, Kyle gained admission to BB&N in Cambridge then took a year sabbatical during which he completed a creative writing and math tutorial online. After a wonderful and challengeing year traveling through the UK with a four month homestay in Oxford, trips to Paris and Snowdonia in Wales and a month-long trek through Egypt.

    Kyle graduated from BB&N to attend RIT, then transferred to BU and is currently at the end of a year off where he has worked in New York…He spent a two week vacation in Florence…

    I hope he will continue to explore the world

  • sam

    Another approach that moves students in this direction is to take advantage of high school summer abroad programs. My son, ready to leave summer camp behind, spent post-freshman year summer in Ecuador doing community service, building a museum and teaching English to young children in the Andes. The summer before his junior year found him in China, living at a Beijing university, studying the Chinese economy and art and traveling. Post-junior year, he worked in Boston’s inner city, surely another world for most suburban teens. All this made him attractive to the college he will attend, which selected him to start his freshman year studying in Great Britain. He’s becoming an internationalist by building experience upon experience without missing the joys (and trials) of high school at home. He’s worldly, independent, tolerant and thinking international relations as a major.

    The abroad programs cost less than summer camp and the experience so much more enlightening and, likely, life-shaping.

  • Rosemary Schmid

    A P.S. and side remark:

    In fairness, you should have had some people on who are part of study abroad programs sponsored by various US colleges and universities. And how about the Experiment in International Living. The point should not be on this approach to going abroad, but to the actual experience of being a “foreigner.” And, how can you mention being abroad without mentioning that our military have been at the forefront of learning about other people by being assigned abroad. There are folks who never leave the comfort zone of their military installation, but many more go out and see what life is like.

  • Margaret Desjardins

    The International School of Boston, right here in Cambridge (PreK-12)is a totally bilingual program all the way through, and offers both the IB and the French Bac. 1/3 of the school is French, 1/3 American, and 1/3 other nationalities. We are a totally American family, and yet my daughter, now finshing 6th grade, is bilingual and takes Geometry, Spanish, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, and History/Geography IN FRENCH. SHe takes Algebra, History, English, Music, Art, Technology, and Social Studies IN ENGLISH. It is an amazing opportunity for an international experience right here in the US>

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    Congratulations Robert.

  • Cathleen Gable

    While high school student earns points in the competitive process of gaining entry to top colleges and universities, the deeper benefit of high school study abroad is instilling in the student an ability to be comfortable beyond their comfort zone and to see the world through differnt eyes. Cultural immersion, fluency in a foreign language, truly understanding another way of being evolves into a solid starting point for global understanding on a much deeper, experiential level.

  • Pat

    To those parents who are reluctant to send their children abroad, communicating with your children via Skype over the is free and is a great way to keep in touch with them.

  • Maureen

    My daughter recently graduated from high school after an exstremely stressful senior year. She has made a very mature decision to take a gap year before starting college. She has been accepted to Amherst College and they are very supportive of gap year students & are holding her space & fifnancial aid for 2010.
    My question is if there any international programs for internships or apprenticeships that have scholarships that she can take advantage of during this year.

  • Mary Mosiman

    What about students who need student loans? As a single mother, my daughter would not have been able to go to school without grants and student loans..even if we saved money, we would not have had the money up front to pay for the tuition, and expenses.

  • Eric

    “No one has a bad experience?” I’ve worked with hundreds of study abroad students. Almost all would do it again, and most say it is the best experience they have had.

    There are negatives–people get sick, a few have had psychological issues that got worse overseas. Even then, most are glad they did it. Very rarely, a student will be expelled from a program, arrested, or even die. Then again, that happens in the U.S. too.

  • Sandy

    Great program. I’m very disappointed with U.S. public and parochial education. Currently my son has a science teacher who repeatedly tells her students that she doesn’t believe in global warming and “just forgot” to get the school involved in the annual science competition that it has been involved in for years! I’m thrilled to hear the ideas presented by your guests; however, I do question, as have many of your listeners, justhow accessible these options are for low income, minority, etc. and I’d like to hear your guests talk more about this using specific examples. Just as an FYI, at their April 2009 meeting, The Rotary Foundation Trustees decided to end some Rotary programs, including funding for the Cultural and Multi-Year Ambassadorial Scholarships. Effective 1 July 2009, The Rotary Foundation will no longer fund these scholarships.

  • Nicole

    I just graduated in May. I am was wondering what my options are for “going global” if someone could email me some options. nsouza87@gmail.com

  • Kathy

    Both of my daughters spent a year abroad as high school students and I agree with all of the good things said by others about the benefits of this experience. No one has mentioned _hosting_ an exchange student, however. While not the same as leaving the country, it is also an eye-opening experience for all involved and a great way for someone with younger children to get involved in an international experience.

  • frederic C.

    I’m surprised at the rate of comments for a topic that I thought would have a very small appeal.

    It may be that many On Point listeners have direct or secondary experience with study abroad.

    Richard, some people have no excuse for lacking imagination but, poverty can really squelch imagination.

  • Jeanne deMartinez

    Your program this morning about attending college abroad left the impression that international education and foreign language studies are not available or effective here in the United States.

    Many of your callers seemed to have run FROM school options here in the U.S. and have run TO opportunities abroad.

    What a shame.

    I have been a language teacher since 1973. So much of this education and experience could have been achieved within the context of U.S. public school education if only — if only there had not been so many shortsighted decisions about priorities.

    Jeanne deMartinez

  • PJ

    Margaret Desjardins – I just checked the tuition rates on the International School of Boston – it would cost me 18K per year to send my 6th grade son. I have two children. My income is around 30K per year. I’d love to send my children to such a nice school, but look at the math. Financial aid is limited at this school. So you see, this does seem to be the privilege of the upper classes.

  • Erin

    This is a great topic! My daughter is starting Kindergarten in the Fall, and already we are looking to diversify as much as possible. So many lessons learned in childhood are not ‘classroom lessons.’

    With 4 daughters, what kind of emotional & psychological support were your guests able to offer to their girls in their time abroad? Surely teens and young adults need a parent from time to time.

    I also would like to echo the comment regarding cost. Host families do incur additional costs, but, at the same time, they know what they are signing up for.

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    @frederic C: Of course. I agree. Poverty might also prevent a family from sending or even considering sending their child to an American college or university.

    However, as the Frosts said many times, if there were a cheaper alternative overseas then at least one of the obstacles is imagining that as an alternative.

    It’s not just people who don’t have the means who lack imagination, many Americans who have the means lack the imagination to see how this might be useful for their kids.

    I’m beginning to think that how much a parent has travelled outside of the US and the types of experiences they had doing that travel might also be part of the problem. If someone hasn’t ever been out of the country it’s not an easy sell to convince them that it’s a good thing. And, like it or not, travel definitely overlaps with education and resources: more educated people with at least some resources no doubt travel more and so, might be more likely to see this as a good thing for their kids.

    I’m not attempting to say its right for everyone but as someone who did not do this as a student but logged a lot of miles abroad for business I can say from my experience travel opened me up and because of this I think it’s something to consider for many American families.

  • Cheryl Dowdell

    Hi Tom, Americans forget that the BA/BS from colleges and universities generally provide an education, occasionally classical, not job training. Your guest is on a promotional tour for the book and I wish more was said about most of the half year/semester study abroad programs from third party vendors seeming more like a long vacation.
    My first 2 sons graduated from the University of Rhode Island (2006, 2009) from the International Engineering Program (IEP) with two degrees.
    Each earned a BA in German and a BS in Chemical and Civil Engineering respectively. It took 5 years, with the 4th full year in Germany. September through February starts the year at Technical University Braunschweig. Try taking Statistics in German! A paid internship with a German company follows through August. Both sons traveled to 13 European countries and visited the former East Germany. Both came back as minimalists and proud and happy to be US Citizens.
    The cost for that year? Approximately $5,000 for URI tuition and German student housing. Both were self supporting during the internship. An affordable, fabulous experience and right here in New England. Check it out.

  • Mary Kelleher

    Interesting program this morning.
    While no one will deny the importance of broadening one’s education ,and obviously traveling and living abroad is one of the best ways to achieve that, might I suggest an easy first step in educating young American global citizens:Improve language study and introduce Geography into the US education curriculum, in both private and public schools.
    As an Irish born mother of 3 grown girls, educated both in Ireland and in the US and as an independent education consultant helping to guide US high school students into colleges, I have a lot of experience of both European and US education. Why do so many foreign students want to study in the US? Very simply: US universities and colleges are way superior. That is why my own children all attended US colleges, partly on scholarships.Yes there are some exceptions for specific programs …EG St Andrew’s Scotland for international relations.
    I have just worked on transfer applications with a US freshman college student who spent her first year at an English top ranked university. She found it fun in that it alowed her to socialize in London night clubs but it was a very demoralising academic experience with no access to professors. She will be transferring back to college in the US.
    While I admire and laud your speakers today, it sounds as if their childrens’ education became their main job. Let’s be realistic… this is not an option for the average family.
    One other point: The Davis Scholars program through United World Schools ( mentioned by a caller)is open only to the most exceptional students….one of my students just graduated from the program in Trieste Italy.She is an academic star.

  • Putney Swope

    I have nothing against anyone studying abroad and nothing against people in higher economic levels who can afford this. However this program was really about selling this Maya Frost’ book. There is a bottom line to everything. Imagination has little to do with the struggles of the majority of Americans who’s wages have not not kept pace with inflation and the cost of living in general. This show was, is and for upper middles class people like the Frost’.

    This was posted on a piece about Amanda Knox in the NY Times today. It seems to be from a person who has an interesting incite into some of the less positive aspects.

    I feel for this young woman.

    At the same time, and I say this as one who has participated in a year-long, university-affiliated study abroad program and who has lived on my own in Europe, it is equally true that American students (”snowflakes” in the current parlance) do not behave like big boys and girls when they attend American universities and they behave even worse when they are abroad. For whatever reason, they really do seem to think that local laws do not pertain to them. Mama and Daddy can make it all better if something goes wrong, and that right there is a BIG if, not a when, because they do not seem to even entertain the notion that something might well go wrong.

    I am a professor now, and I see it all the time: students who who have mental illness, and their parents allow them to participate in a study abroad…and then they are shocked, SHOCKED when that poor young person has a severe breakdown and needs to be sent home (and then they try to sue the university); I’ve seen students who are hippie crunchy granola types go to countries where having (but not purchasing) hash is legal and guess what? They get busted trying to make a purchase and are ASTOUNDED when Mama and Daddy can’t say the word and make it all go away like a bad dream (and of course, once again, it is All The Fault of The University). I could go on and on, really, I could.

    What about that young woman from England who is now pregnant and got sentenced to life (and was lucky not to get the death penalty) after she was busted trying to smuggle heroin?

    Whether or not Ms. Knox is guilty, and whether or not she is getting a raw deal from the Italian legal system, PLEASE, Mama and Daddy…have a good long talk with Precious Snowflake before you allow him or her to do a study abroad. Show your little Prince or Princess this article. If you allow your offspring to participate in study abroad, it is up to YOU, Mama and Daddy, to make good and darned sure that your son or daughter understands that actions have consequences. I KNOW that universities stress this, over and over and over. Part of writing a letter of recommendation for a student’s application to a study abroad requires assessment of just this issue: does the recommender feel that the student is emotionally mature? And yet…some of them are, at least on the surface, emotionally mature…until they get off the plane and suddenly, just like magic, they feel that they have landed in the penalty-free zone known as There Are No Rules That Apply To Me So Let Me Just Go Buck Wild.

    Speak to your kids. Show them this article. Make good and sure that they get it.

    Otherwise, keep them at home where they’ll drive their local professors crazy, sure, but at least they won’t rot away in a foreign prison.

    Up to you, Mama and Daddy, up to you…

    Cali S.

  • Van

    I also disagree with Putney. San Francisco State University has more than fifty percent of its study abroad participants going abroad for a year from under-represented groups. The danger in Putney’s point of view is that she would offer less to those groups because of her perception about what they may want. We provide information to parents to explain the value which alleviates many of the concerns they may have.

  • Liz Brown

    I just took at look at the Rotary International website and discovered that they have unfortunately discontinued their study abroad scholarship program – Ambassadorial Scholarships – effective July 2009. I know that the couple being interviewed relied heavily on these to provide their children with their overseas educational experiences.

  • Ethan Behan

    I put myself through a masters program at a predominant University in Australia. Having studied abroad multiple times during my undergraduate degree I thought it would be great to complete a Masters of International Politics at a US Dept. of Education accredited university overseas. My thought was that it would help me in my field to have a wider global perspective by attending a university with a large international population. Regarding the gaining of a very different pespective on international politics, this assessment was correct. Additionally, the cost of education was much more inexpensive then in the US. However, upon returning to the US I believe that completing my masters overseas actually hurt me. In almost every job interview I had, one of the first questions I encountered was “why did you complete your degree outside the US?” and this wasn’t typically stated in a positive way. My answer was the reasons I mentioned above but I can’t get past the fact that I really think this has held me back in getting jobs. Additionally, if someone studies in the US they have the ability to network much more and intern in their field, particularly at a place they may wish to work in the future. I’m still all for studying abroad and in many cases completing degrees overseas, but students need to really contemplate what they would like to be doing after college and what would be the best way to achieve this goal. Going overseas for their degree may or may not be the way to go.

  • John

    I wished I had studied abroad during my high school and college years. I know I would have loved it.
    But, I agree with Putney’s point about economics in her posts – by and large this is the domain of the fortunate upper middle class. But, even they like practically everyone else, are experiencing some form of economic retrenchment.
    My family (or myself and siblings) simply was not in any financial position to afford sending any of us to living or studying abroad if any of us had chosen to do so.

  • Putney Swope

    I’m a guy… I am not saying people should not go abroad.
    People who post here from colleges and universities, such as Van who is trying to promote his or her program are misleading students and parents in my view. They have a vested interest in spinning this to sound like it’s the best thing since Swiss cheese. I would think it depends on what one wants to do and what the motives are.
    If you go abroad and end parting all the time, well that’s a waste of time and if you get arrested in a country like Italy, you can end up in a heap of trouble.
    In Italy your guilt until you can prove your innocent.

    My advice, and I spent 8 years living abroad, is to do your homework and make sure you understand the laws, and the health care issues, you will need private insurance if your a student if the school does not cover you overseas.

    Again this program was for a book promotion and these people are upper middle class. How many people can afford to sell everything an just move to Argentina.

  • Jay Harris

    Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Simon Study Abroad Act, part of the Foreign Relations Authorization bill (H.R. 2410). Now it moves to the Senate. The Act would provide significant funding and a very bright spotlight for undergraduate study abroad
    (for more information, see http://www.nafsa.org/public_policy.sec/commission_on_the_abraham)

  • Linda Patrick

    To the caller from Detroit. Get out. Would you live in a desert if there were no food or water, and no prospects of any anytime soon ? Self preservation should be driving you. You can go back and visit anytime. There is nothing sentimental about living in a dying rust belt city.

  • http://socialvaccine@gather.com Brennan M.

    excellent topic for SOCIOLOGY and policy recommendations. Based on “INVISIBLE STATISTICAL CULTURAL! NORMATIVE VALUES” that is- some people/persons [Americans] don’t fit WHERE they are and low self esteem KILLS THEM*!
    Imagine a “preemptive patriation” that finds the sore thumbs quantitatively and QUALITATIVELY , and quietly focus on simply “getting them on the plane” [boat, bus, train...] and letting faith and destiny do the rest.
    These “invisible statistical cultural normative values” are something “we” would really NOT like to think, know, or stress about. but like a CANCER once removed , society and indeed CIVILIZATION will thrive.

    And the “non-Normal” teenagers![14!!!] will have an environment MORE LIKE TRADITION -what made many Americans and Immigrants successful… environmentally.

    *”them” could [flip to] become “igno- innocent” cultures. self-esteem desperate poverty , worlds of conspiracy [W. Latin America deperados and our incompatability -patriation is normal. and CULTURE is NORMATIVE -psychology is blind

  • Brennan M.

    imagine KURT COBAIN [dead at 27] when he was 14 or 15 going to UK , AUSTRALIA or N.W. EUROPE, where English LEFT-HANDERS and blue eyes are normal, esteemed! and cherished. suicide is often a cultural failure [STATISTICAL NORMS]. CULTURE! invisible but TOXIC.
    “To move” is technically known as a-”GEOGRAPHIC” and needs deepest cultural [alien] consideration. A.N.N.Y.T. to find the critical “prime cases”. FOR AMERICA!

  • http://socialvaccine@gather.com Brennan M.

    Maya & Tom frost, please look at my policy recommendation A.N.N.Y.T. [A safety NET] at socialvaccine brennan m @gather.com [see typed image + icon] . my parents immigrated to CALIFORNIA from WISCONSIN. and it’s NOT the same. I went to preschool [3]in Oaxaca Mex [pacific], Around 20 I was going to go to a KIBUTZ [ISREAL?] my parents crazy idea [I saw London was on the way and started thinking... [I just disappear/liberty! there!!!].
    I went to GUATEMALA at 21 [Spanish] and literally lost my soul!!! there, with my older brother 22 he was having time of his life [cocain] and HE HAD BEEN all over Europe with his future wife]] 3rd world v.d. and america’s health care …complete failure and malice… self esteem.

    when I was 25 I went to the whole EAST COAST FL to N.E. [5 months solo!!!], and really saw the light! and left hand esteem [west america lacks -old boy]

    at 29 I went to IRELAND [5 MONTHS] and I saw how ‘the light’ was actually made [A.N.N.Y.T. & cultural self esteem!]; left-hand-drive countries!! uk…
    I really wish I had gone “indi”& solo[from family especially] anywhere in the atlantic or 1st world as an early teenager. japan , India…
    statistical norms are the ELUSIVE & EVASIVE code to perfection. quantified and qualified!

  • Maggie

    My daughter is going to grad school at University of Wisconsin, Madison after being turned down at UCLA. It is an excellent school as she knows after doing her undergrad there. She went to Madison out of high school after being accepted to Howard University, but just could not turn down the in state tuition. She also applied for school in South Africa but that also had problems. Now you see the problem. As wonder as school Madison is, she was born here and keeps trying to get a broader experience but this seems to always be the best option that presents.

    I wish we had known about this at earlier. Are there opportunities for graduate students?

    Love her close – wish she were far away.

  • Sherry B.

    I am grateful for the focus that the Frosts have brought to the benefits of exposure to new cultures and the eye-opening, life-changing results of more Americans studying abroad. However, I feel the Frosts were a bit disengenous about the “costs” and the savings of doing so. The high school exchange programs they mention rely on a host family to support the student while abroad for housing and meals and many incidentals that the Frosts bragged about as expenses they did not have to fund for their child while abroad. So their savings came at the expense of a host family abroad as Lindsey mentioned in the comments above. The concept behind such exchanges is reciprocity but the Frosts did not mention hosting an international exchange student themselves. If they did so, then they had the extra expense of another body to feed and house and support with their attention and time that should be considered a cost of the year their own child spent abroad. If they did not sponsor an international student in return, then they just shifted their costs to the wallet of someone else.

  • Simone

    I took my SAT’s in Hamburg, Germany in 1983 and my LSAT’s in Hong Kong in 1989. Borders don’t seem to stop standardized testing.

  • Rick Galbo

    I have been listening to the program and this all sounds like a good idea and all. It does have that kind of proving feel to it for students who want to earn that metaphoric prize. How ever by sending these students away to school we are initiating a kind of de Americanizing if you will the education. Right Now in america we are experiencing a drought for scientists and engineers and people of such fields. This idea doesn’t sound as if it will help America become more into the global markets and getting american minds to be science powers. Do you think that this is encouraging a dispersal of the american minds that could of been used by american companies?

  • Brett

    Great topic! I’m a huge supporter of living/studying abroad. I lived in Germany several times during high school and also studied abroad there during college. It changed my life. I have also been studying Japanese for 6 years and plan to get my MBA in Tokyo for about 10% of what it would cost at a US school. I’d recommend a study abroad to anyone! Don’t let your fear of the unknown scare you away – all great experiences in life first require a leap of faith.

  • http://cityhonors.org Elissa Banas

    Very interesting and exciting program! I’ve been taking students abroad for years and our school has had student exchanges with foreign schools.

    A point that goes right along with the program is having a student attend an International Baccalaureate (IB) high school. It can allow for a student to travel abroad during high school as the program is geared towards international students.

    The curriculum is based on internationalism and critical thinking skills and the exams are all essay. The whole program hits the higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy (analysis, evaluation, synthesis) vs. Advanced Placement courses (AP) which are geared towards the lower levels (describe, explain).

    IB is growing by leaps and bounds around the world because more and more schools see the value of an education that stresses internationalism.

    My school has had the program since 1989 and has experienced much success with it.

  • Beverly Smith

    When a family has a low income it may not be possible for them to take advantage of bargains, no matter how good they are. Recently,I’ve heard of students having to leave public colleges because one or both of their parents have lost their jobs. When my twin sister and I applied to college our aunt wasn’t required to provide any support because her income was so low. We were able to go to very selective colleges with scholarships. But our aunt couldn’t have afforded to send us to much less expensive in-state schools either. A bargain isn’t a bargain if you don’t have the money to pay for it.

  • Virginia

    Study abroad is not just for the middle class. The Gilman International Scholarship is given to students at two and four year colleges who qualify for Pell grants, which is a government need based grant for low income students. So any low income student who has a Pell grant is eligible to apply for a Gilman scholarship to study abroad. This is the most well known source of funds for study abroad for those who couldn’t otherwise afford it, but there are others too.

  • Penni Weninger

    I think it’s great for people to go overseas to study for part of their college career. Just a word of caution about getting a degree there: there are many people whose degrees from other countries don’t count here. I have a friend who was a dentist in Poland and her education is worthless here.

  • Anne

    As a point of information, I did the International Baccalaureate Program at a public high school in the US. This program *is* recognized by American Universities (as well as universities all around the world), and I felt *much* better prepared for college than my future college classmates who just did AP. I am now a grad student, preparing to study abroad next year!

  • Premnath Alfred

    Hi Tom,

    My question is why is education so expensive in US. In A developing nation like India the education is so subsidiced to the level of 10 $ / year in college – arts like degrees. And 200 – 300 $ / year for professional colleges.

    Are the education standard so bad / second class – No way the excellent Indian Doctors in US studied the subsidiced education and are on equal level to the American counterpart.

    It is already so difficult to study in this enviornment with so many distraction and when you finish school with so much difficulty why make it even so difficult to go to college by forcing the students to get loan. Shouldn’t going to college be going from 8 th Std to 9th Standard.

    Which is more important being the first to advance is space / educating your kid.

    Which is more important – Finding man in some remote plannet / paying for you childrens college – the Government should have clear choice in mind. When a developing nation can know how to educate its children why not the developed nation. Should not you take care of your own kids before taking care of your neighbour’s kids.

    If you dont know call the finance minister of India to find out how they subcidice education in India.

  • Tracy Edwards

    I absolutely love the idea of “world students.” I have four children (16, 14, 9, 4), and my oldest will be traveling with the People to People Student Ambassador Program Delegation. There is also the opportunity to obtain additional diplomas/degrees through the United World Colleges program and other international programs. He has been thinking to stay local and at home (momma’s boy…lol); however, I am attempting to encourage all my children to think more global. At the present time, I attend UMUC (old student) majoring in a new major, “Global Business and Public Policy.” Therefore, I am a middle-aged example of how great it is to be a global student. Plus, I work for an international law firm. My plan is to teach abroad and take my younger two with me…not sure about how hubby feels about this – He is a Jamaican-born, American citizen and not planning to “hop” around the world. I study Spanish, as well, to become fluent.

  • Premnath Alfred

    There should be government run colleges with subsidiced fees that students can afford.

    To cut the cost you can have online lectures – conferences when you can attend and view from a local college. That way you can reduce the cost of Teaching.

    The law makers should not have the attitude – we went to college by taking loans and through very much difficulty so you also go through that -

    Instead it should be we went through so much difficulty we dont want you to go through and that we will make sure it is easy and affordable for the next generation.

  • Leah

    I am currently between my first and second years at United World College in Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina. All of my costs except for travel are covered by the Davis Scholarship, and the benefit of living with students from nearly 40 other countries is indescribable. Being part of post-war educational reform in the Balkans has made me more self-sufficient and taught me about how the bureaucracies of the world operate. From the UWC alumni I’ve met, many of whom have full scholarships to Ivy League schools, I’d say the International Baccalaureate is only a benefit in university. Not to mention the fact that our unique experiences give us an edge over other students vying for university admission.

  • Barb Kilkka

    Both high school and college experiences abroad have value, and having seen my own children (and myself) go through them, I want to suggest to parents that one of the key advantages of the high school experience that an organization like Youth For Understanding offers is that it is based on a family living experience. Your child will have parents along with all the advice, encouragement, guidance and love that they offer. As a high school age child, they are much more likely to be truly wrapped into the family structure than an independent college student would be. Most college students at study abroad centers spend much more time associating with other Americans and are less likely to assimilate than a high school student in a local school and family, to which they have accountability as a family member.

    We started hosting Youth For Understanding exchange students when the oldest of our four children was in fifth grade. Our children were able to learn from their successes and challenges. Many families seem to wait until their own children are in high school to have this experience, but our children were much more accepting and tolerant the younger they were. Having brothers and sisters on three other continents made them citizens of the world before they left our home and prepared them to do so. When they did become old enough to consider study abroad, they were ready for the responsibilities and challenges they would face.

    There are many scholarships available for high school study abroad (look at the Congress-Bundestag scholarships to Germany or the ones from Youth For Understanding to name a couple), and it is remarkable that relatively few students try for some of them. Our investment in our daughter’s high school year in Finland paid off in terms of the college scholarship she later received plus very desirable internships she later received in foreign countries—because she had proven you could drop her in another country and she could learn the language and function in a new environment. At the same time, we saved some expenses we would have incurred at her American high school: pay-to-play sports, the cost of the car and transportation costs we would have provided that year, school trips, etc.

    Working with the non-profit programs that provide a lot of local country support is probably the best way to make this happen.

  • Pat

    One of the best reasons to study abroad is that by leaving the country in which you were raised, and living in another culture, you develop a perspective about your own culture that you would never otherwise achiever. You learn that some things you thought were universal are actually unique to being an American. You also become exposed to different ways of looking at the world, and how the rest of the world views the US. By doing so, you develop greater tolerance for those who do not share your beliefs, and a deeper understanding and appreciation of your own country. If everyone did this, the world would be a better, safer place.

  • http://www.annemironchik.com Anne

    Fabulous show tonight. What struck me was the point about preparing students for an unpredictable world. What a brilliant notion to embrace an unpredictable world. I am inspired even though I’m neither a parent nor a college student. I’m a musician and you’ve reinforced the importance for me to seek out performance opportunities at colleges and other venues overseas. Thank you, thank you.

  • http://www.onlyredheadintaiwan.com/ Robert

    Thank you, Richard.

    By the way, this is the study I mentioned:


  • Putney Swope

    I have also been studying Japanese for 6 years and plan to get my MBA in Tokyo for about 10% of what it would cost at a US school. I’d recommend a study abroad to anyone! Don’t let your fear of the unknown scare you away – all great experiences in life first require a leap of faith.
    –Posted by Brett

    Brett I have a little surprise for you, that %10 of cost you think you will be saving will be eaten up by the cost of living in Japan. For instance a cantaloupe can cost as much as $10 per pound or more. If your going to Japan for the experience, to learn the language and culture that’s great but to do so because it costs less is foolish and you will go broke.

    The more I read the comments here I can’t help but feel this is still the realm of the upper middle classes. How many high schools in South Central LA or other poor and areas have programs that send students overseas.

    The Frost’ are on a book tour, this program was about selling books. It was not about them being altruistic and into “public education”.

  • Mary Kelleher

    I posted yesterday on this ‘blog’.
    I could not help but notice the high number of posted comments between morning and evening shows as compared with other ‘On Point’ topics. It seems that this topic, or a variation of it, is worth addressing again…..INMHO the inundation of responses speaks to a high anxiety on the part of American families to the high cost of US college education. In a world of imploded savings and much insecurity,many are seeking ways to educate their kids well without breaking the bank.Studying abroad can be a solution but not for many.As an independent education consultant I addres it as an option but mostly discourage it, and I myself was educated abroad, in Ireland.Just this morning I was forwarded a resume of a young man, college educated abroad with a major in finance who is finding it difficult to get job interviews. Of course his chosen major is not ideal this year particularly, but a key missing item in his education abroad, was a connection into the US business network, which is where he wants to live and work.

  • Amy

    The topic was great, but it’s frustrating that the author seemed completely unable to recognize that this is not an option financially for everyone. The fact that they say they make less than six figures COMBINED as if that means something, shows how out of touch with reality they are. Average household income (ie combined, if there’s anyone to combine with) is around 50k a year (before the recession). So saying “under six figures” tells us little other than to imply they are still well above average.

    Whenever cost was brought up, they only said how much they “saved”–as in less money spent than they would have otherwise, but money spent nonetheless. Nothing was mentioned about students who rely on student loans, financial aid and scholarships. Talking about how you don’t have to spend money on soccer shoes is nonsensical to families to can’t afford to send their kids to team sport activities, much less India. Nor was anything mentioned about older students or students with family commitments.

    Perhaps a future guest could be someone from the organization Class Action, (http://www.classism.org/) to help your listeners (and guests) get a little more realistic view of the world.

  • Putney Swope

    Amy six figures is anywhere from 100k up which is way above the average in this country. However t his is relative to where one lives. In NYC 100k is not much.
    In Burlington VT it’s a very good living.
    I agree with everything your saying here, I too thought these two were very out of touch. I did not want to say this before, but they also were a bit smug. Not many people even if they are making six figures can just move to Argentina. Which they failed to mention has one of the highest crime rates in South America on par with Columbia.

    Something to think about…

  • http://www.NewGlobalStudent.com Maya Frost

    Hello all–Maya here.

    Just wanted to clarify a few points.

    My husband and I are not even CLOSE to wealthy–in fact, we earn an annual salary in the mid-five figures–TOGETHER. We did sell everything, but we had a modest 1800 square foot home so it’s not as though we made out like bandits on that–though we did sell at a good time (2005) compared to now.

    One of the reasons we wanted to go abroad was because we knew we could save money each month while earning the same salary and having a better lifestyle. The challenge wasn’t money–it was how to make our small company virtual. We did that despite the fact that it’s a business that sells products and requires shipping, inventory, sales, etc.

    And although it is true that most students who go abroad are white and upper middle class, we’re trying to change that by sharing information about how to do it safely and inexpensively. ANY family can contact their local Rotary Club and see about sending their student abroad for a year during or right after high school, and in most cases, that year abroad will cost much LESS than the year in the United States, where it is expensive to pay for even the basics for high school students attending a public school, as our kids did. Really–do the math and see how the school activities, sports, parties, clothes, cell phones, car insurance, prom dresses, and lessons add up. Now, compare it to a year abroad for less than $3,000.

    Also, the Rotary Youth Exchange program is going strong, contrary to one post here. However, the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarships for master’s degree programs has been discontinued.

    And yes, the book has a whole chapter on how to stay safe abroad by avoiding the American bubble and being aware of one’s surroundings. Those who get into trouble abroad tend to be those who are drunk, hanging out in tourist areas where they are easy targets, or engaging in behavior that is illegal (even in the US).

    There are many wonderful and AFFORDABLE opportunities to study abroad and lack of money is not an obstacle–but lack of information/imagination is. Get informed, picture the possibilities, and go discover the world for yourself. (And yes, read the book if you choose–it has valuable info and inspiring stories.)

  • http://www.NewGlobalStudent.com Maya Frost

    Maya again–two more points.

    Yes, we did host exchange students in our home. In fact, we have had over a dozen international students live with us over the years, beginning when our kids were very small. And we are very grateful for the wonderful, generous host families abroad who were willing to support our kids while they were abroad just as we were happy to support those who came to stay with us. Those who send students abroad are, in most cases, not REQUIRED to host a student, though many do out of excitement about sharing in the exchange experience. We hosted students before and during our daughters’ exchanges, but the point still stands that sending a student abroad for a year can cost less than a year in the US.

    And to clarify, the book isn’t about earning a degree abroad, though that can also be a great option. Instead, it focuses on American students who graduate from American colleges but spend significant periods abroad (and transfer their credits back to the US). Two of our daughters graduated from schools in Canada (great education, reasonable price), one at a large US state school and the youngest at a small private college in the US (great scholarships, thanks to her time abroad!)

    Thanks for listening!

  • Amy

    “Really–do the math and see how the school activities, sports, parties, clothes, cell phones, car insurance, prom dresses, and lessons add up.”

    If you took the approach that, “many more middle-class families can do this than they might realize, it’s not just for the wealthy” I could respect that. But “everyone can” attitude is condescending, and hurtful. I just think you would get more positive feedback if you softened your tone a bit.

    I’ll give you the math (per kid): $250 on clothes I put on my credit card, no cell phone, free lessons through a program called freeschool, and $250/yr on baseball supplies and fees that some years we can afford some years we can’t. Right now if our oldest was of age, we couldn’t afford car insurance for him. Less than $100/mo on food. Parties about $100/year, although we’ve gone without those too in lean times. Our district has a program to provide prom dresses for students who can’t afford them because this is exactly the kind of thing that families CAN’T add up.

    Yet I feel we’re close to a range where we could afford it, but barely, only because our income has increased over the years and I expect it to in the future. Many of my friends couldn’t afford this. Some depend on the money their children’s jobs bring in.

    As for moving… we’re lucky that we bought our house a while ago and aren’t upside down like a lot of people, but we have elderly family members in the area we look after. Most people of lower socio-economic status also depend on a social network of friends for car-repair, home-repair, babysitting, transportation, small loans of money and tools etc. that their day-to-day living depends on.

  • Edward Rao

    Terrific show. I look forward to reading the book. I myself studied abroad in the 1970′s. Having graduated from an elite college with a B average, I was unable to get into an American medical school. I wasted a year in grad school before realizing that I could study medicine abroad. I ended up in India, in the same state that my parents are from, studying medicine in English. My entire 4 year education cost me $ 11,500.00 !!!. I left school with a medical degree and no loans. Of course, it was a very maturing experience. My first year classmates were all 18 years old, I was 23. Had I known that I could pursue my “Bachelors” degree in medicine, I would have skipped the 4 year liberal arts degree. Keep up the great programming Tom !!!!

  • Putney Swope

    Edward Rao from what I understand you can’t practice medicine in this country with a medical degree from a lot of foreign countries. So if one wanted to be a doctor here in the US are you not wasting your time getting a degree abroad?

  • http://www.NewGlobalStudent.com Maya Frost

    This is in response to Amy, who was concerned that I was being condescending by saying that “any family” can send their kids abroad. I take your comment to heart and will certainly be more compassionate in my responses in the future.

    Yes, most middle class families will spend more per year to have their kids in the US than they would to send them on a program like Rotary Youth Exchange, but there are many low income students who go and pay almost NOTHING for their year abroad. Several students I interviewed paid less than $100 for their entire year abroad both as high school exchange students and during college study abroad! In fact, there are many scholarships specifically for lower-income kids–especially those who are black or Latino–to study abroad. These are based solely on need.

    I do understand the frustration of living month to month–I grew up that way and my family had very little in the way of resources. But I still went to college, studied abroad and my first job out of college (it was during 1982 in a recession) was teaching English in Japan–it was the only job I could get and I arrived with $50 in my pocket and my flight, visa, etc. were all paid for. It completely the course of my life.

    There ARE opportunities out there for families with limited means, but all too often, parents are unaware of the financial assistance available or simply cannot imagine this possibility for their kids.

    I urge you and all families interested in making their kids recession-proof to consider how you might utilize the resources available to you in order to give your kids the learning experiences they need to thrive no matter what the future may bring. If you want to give your kids their best shot at having more financial security than you do, you must look at ways to give them more opportunities than you have had. It’s that simple–and that critical.

  • Paul

    I run a global business. I only hire people who have been exposed to other cultures and are bilingual. They bring something to the table that American students cannot.

  • Rachel Schneiderman

    I absolutely loved this show!!! I was one of these students but late in life, in my mid-40s, when I melted down every obstacle, every yes-but, and with a school loan went to Spain for 2 academic years. It changed my life and gave me the kind of confidence that many years of other kinds of education could not. It’s affected the way I see the USA, which is now not my only country, and also the way I see the rest of the world, confirmed that we are one and at the same time, can learn about and savor each other’s differences. These are not mere words but something I lived and continue to live. I’m now an academic librarian specializing in Spanish & Latin American Literature, among other topics. We can make of our lives what we want if we open our minds and stick with our vision; that is not some kind of pipe dream; it works.

  • bethechange

    I want to believe that “going abroad” can be transformative and life-changing for young people, but what I see is that for many young Americans the experience, whether at an international university or on a backpacking “gap year,” is ultimately about leisure and not learning.

    Young Americans abroad, like their adult counterparts, tend to “experience” another country from the confines of safe enclaves set up to absorb them. You see them all over the world together, in cafes in Barcelona speaking in loud English about their day trips on weekends, in cheap, Indian hotels bragging about how little they paid for things, in the red light district of Tehran already drunk in the early evening. So often, “going abroad” is about taking advantage of different economic structures, as the authors also recommend.

    This was brought home to me recently while listening to a colleague who quite frequently in our work together referenced her year abroad in Spain. On one occasion, she described her single experience in “Africa” – with great authority, of course, since she had been there. On her overnight excursion to Tangier, she was met with men whom she described as continually making advances on her. She described learning from an American couple that Tangier was the site of kidnappings of white tourists for the rumored, underground “sex trade”. She was completely ignorant of her own orientalism, and will continue to perpetuate this perception of “Africa” for the rest of her life.

    It’s true that Americans can benefit from traveling, and I believe that some callers genuinely benefitted personally and probably professionally from their global experiences. Living abroad is not a magic wand, however, to change ignorant cultural attitudes, the way that it is often portrayed. An American abroad can still be an American, especially since so much of the world knocks itself out to accomodate us and our dollars.

    I think some middle-class Americans may be better off wandering around Newark or Detroit for a week than leaving the country. Such an experience may alter perspective more than a beer-soaked year in Europe.

  • mr.independant

    Maybe a year in west Baltimore.
    Or South Central.

  • Jaque

    I wish I had heard about this before I went to college. I always thought the expense would be too much, never even considered it.

    Now I’m living in a foreign country, but I wish I could have started sooner!

  • A.Lanz

    I like this picture Alyssa,good luck love Dad!

Sep 1, 2014
This Friday, Aug. 22, 2014 photo shows a mural in in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago dedicated to the history of the Pullman railcar company and the significance for its place in revolutionizing the railroad industry and its contributions to the African-American labor movement. (AP)

On Labor Day, we’ll check in on the American labor force, with labor activist Van Jones, and more.

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Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (95) recovers a fumble by Carolina Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson (3) in the second quarter of the NFL preseason football game on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh. (AP)

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Ukrainian forces guard a checkpoint in the town of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko called an emergency meeting of the nation's security council and canceled a foreign trip Thursday, declaring that "Russian forces have entered Ukraine," as concerns grew about the opening of a new front in the conflict.  (AP)

War moves over Syria, Ukraine. Burger King moves to Canada. Nine-year-olds and Uzis. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

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