Travel abroad? You bet!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

We continue to be amazed at the ever-growing phenomenon of the vast array of overseas travel now afforded our college students through their schools, and sometimes even targeting our junior high and high school students.

Such trips are shocking on several levels, especially for students from the 60s and 70s, whose "big trip" each school year was maybe a skip day at the local roller skating rink, or a short bus trip to the city museum.

Today, as has been going on for several years now, our students have incredible and frequent opportunities to travel abroad during semester interims, for hands-on study in their major fields, or simply with a group of fellow students for spring break, or Christmas vacation, or summer studies.

The fact that today's young students and their parents don't even blink at the costs and complexities involved with extended overseas travel is a testimony to the courage and intrepid spirit displayed by many young students seeking such unknown adventures in foreign lands.

We know of many such students who have returned with a higher level of maturity, a validation of their career choices, an increased sense of social awareness, and the molding of lifelong friendships that develop and sustain with peers they would never have met without the opportunities now out there.

Way back in the day, perhaps the Foreign Exchange program started this ball rolling, along with colleges and instructors who think outside the curve and are unafraid to climb mountains to see what's on the other side.

The Chronicle Times' own "Man in Mongolia" Brett Campbell is one of those intrepid young students now living the dream as he serves a two-year stint in Mongolia with the U.S. Peace Corps. He dd not know what to expect, what fears and dangers he might encounter, or even if he would wash out because it just wasn't for him.

But, like all other young students who take the gamble, Brett is embracing the challenges, adapting to a totally different lifestyle with few creature comforts, and, basically, learning and achieving by accentuating the positives, however few and far between they may be.

We firmly believe, that through this "sharing" of our students and their ideas and ideals, this world will continue to shrink and, hopefully one day, we all become as one without hatred, borders, or wars.