Why International Studies?

Walking through the city at night

NEW YORK, August 5, 2008—Today's students are preparing for a world where success increasingly requires the ability to compete and cooperate on a global scale. Globalization has had a pervasive impact on the U.S. and other nation’s economies. Since 1990, 3 billion people in China, India, and Russia have moved from closed economies into a global one. One in five U.S. jobs is now tied to international trade—and the trend is rising.

As a recent report by the Committee on Economic Development states, "U.S. employers will increasingly need employees with knowledge of foreign languages and cultures to market products to customers around the globe and to work effectively with foreign employees and partners in other countries.” Economies and cultures are becoming more interconnected through technology, and the digitization of production is making it possible for people to do increasing amounts of work anywhere and anytime. Global production teams are becoming commonplace in business.

Health and security matters likewise cut across regional and cultural boundaries. In this highly interdependent world, virtually every major issue that people face – from global warming to terrorism—has an international dimension. In American schools and communities, world trends in migration and immigration have generated enormous cultural and linguistic diversity. For example, according to the California Department of Education, in the Los Angeles Unified School District, 56 languages are spoken.

This trend is mirrored in districts throughout the nation. Knowledge of other cultures will help students not just tolerate, but seek out opportunities to interact with classmates from different countries, a needed foundation for work and citizenship in the 21st century. American secondary schools must equip our students for the opportunities and challenges of globalization. Many countries in Europe and Asia are preparing students for the global age by raising levels of education attainment and college readiness, by emphasizing international knowledge, skills and language acquisition, and by fostering respect for other cultures.

To be successful global citizens, workers, and leaders, in addition to math, science, and technology education currently promoted by the United States, all students will need to be knowledgeable about the world, be able to communicate in languages other than English, and to be informed, active citizens.

You Might Also Like

In a new Asia Society publication, Chris Livaccari explores how multilingualism is a key aspect of life for most people in the world—and has been throughout history—and is a rich source of engagement, playfulness, and joy.
Those who speak (and think in) different languages also organize knowledge and understanding in different ways, and these different modes of organization help us to think more flexibly and to see issues from different perspectives.
When encountering a new language for the first time, it’s important to grasp the unique patterns and contours of the language—to hear its music.
A new publication by Chris Livaccari that makes an eloquent case for language learning as a means to enhance and deepen students’ capacity for processing information and analyzing the shape of the world.
Foreword by Milton Chen, senior fellow at The George Lucas Educational Foundation, chairman of the Panasonic Foundation, and a frequent speaker on educational innovation.
60 years of Asia Society education work culminate in launch of Center for Global Education.
"Language is a currency for trust, and respect; it provides bricks and mortar for building an ability to explore the beauty of diverse cultures, traditions, and historical perspectives."
Accomplished Chinese learners share what they've gained from the language.
Graduates of the Chinese Language Flagship Program at Arizona State University are proof that attaining a superior level of Chinese in four years is feasible.
Workforce development in afterschool and summer programs prepares youth for the 21st century.
Use this toolkit from Mapping the Nation to raise awareness and support for global education!
High-quality afterschool programming leverages hands-on learning experiences and community connections to prepare youth for success in college and the workforce.

Connect With Us

Asia Society
725 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021
t: 212-327-9260
education@asiasociety.org

Follow Our Blog on Education Week

Newsletter