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Why International Education Still Matters

woman pointing at map, with laptop, passport, camera around
Photo/Element 5 Digital via Pexels

By Corey Blackmar

If you’re like me, you’re reading this from the comfort of your own little spot in the world, perhaps even your makeshift home office or dorm room. We’ve all been well-rooted in these spaces by now, and the outside world seems just a little bit farther away than it was before — but is it?

This week, Emerson College participates in International Education Week, a worldwide initiative marked by several events celebrating our diverse communities and global approach to the pursuit of knowledge and creativity. This year, Emerson’s celebration has moved to the online space, allowing our community members spread across the world to log on and participate.

Related: Emerson Receives Simon Award for Internationalization.

Truly, Emerson has never been quite as global as it is in this very moment. Many students are taking Emerson Boston and Emerson Los Angeles courses online from their home cities, towns, and countries. More still are walking about our global partner campuses in Zhuhai, China; Paris, France; Lugano, Switzerland; and Washington, DC. The same can be said of some Emerson faculty, who are teaching entirely online from their respective corners of the globe.

You may ask yourself, “How can I even engage with or care about global issues right now when everyone is confined to their own homes? I can’t even get on a plane!” Believe me, as someone who loves traveling and has made it a large part of their career, I can empathize. And although there is no replacement for being able to take in the sights of another place in person, that doesn’t mean you can’t still have meaningful experiences or forge relationships with others.

Take this time to leverage the bridge-building powers of the technology at your fingertips: Take an online class in cooking global cuisine; hold video or text conversations with students at other colleges and universities around the world; engage in global civic engagement activities and movements.

Most importantly, share the view from your little spot in the world with others and tell your story. Where you are may not seem particularly interesting to you, but I can assure you that it is of great interest to others. 

Take advantage of every opportunity to expand your worldview — our International Education Week events are just the tip of the iceberg of what is out there to engage with.

International mobility will return, and we’ll all be able to travel again, but let’s not allow our natural curiosity to learn about the wider world be lost in our current circumstances. A global perspective is needed now more than ever. It’s our time to meet the moment.

Corey Blackmar is associate director of internationalization initiatives.

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