Skip to content | Skip to navigation
Once in a while, people really surprise me.
I tend to not have the most positive attitude about the human race. We do some pretty horrible stuff, most of it directly to each other, as if life is a competition to screw over the other guy.
But recently I have been quite impressed by something that I've been seeing at work.
As some of you already know, I work for a company that creates language-immersion summer camps; kids come for 1, 2 or 4 weeks every summer to be completely and totally bombarded by the language and culture of another country (we cover 14 different languages, with a 15th being added in 2007). We also have abroad programs in 10 countries.
Most of the kids who sign up for this are from pretty wealthy families, simply because the program is expensive. We have to hire native-speaking staff from all over the world, as well as shipments of international food, realia, etc. to create an authentic experience.
But recently I've been working with our scholarship and development department, recruiting and registering kids who come from underprivileged families, where they wouldn't have the money to come normally. These kids have to write entrance essays about why they're interested in the particular language and culture.
Most of these kids are absolutely amazing people. I am so, so impressed by the things that they say, and the reasons why they want to experience a language. Especially from the kids who are interested in the less-commonly taught languages like Arabic and Korean. They're not motivated by the possibility of a career in government, they've just had their interest sparked by events in those parts of the world, and they want to do something positive. They feel that one of the best ways for them to promote peace is to experience what life is like somewhere else.
Of course, at 14 it is easy to be naively optimistic about global events. But maybe some naive optimism is exactly what we need.
Problem is, there will always be incompetent politicians because those kids who actualy care about other people are usually above manipulating people and the system to win votes and power. But the fact that there are a growing number of altruistic youth is good and maybe someday, we'll come up with a system of government where manipulators and con-men will not be able to take over the government.
When you are climbing, climb, when you are resting, rest. -Arno Ilger
I've been wondering lately if this is just the fate of our generation. Our grandparents never asked to make it by on nothing to survive the Depression. Our parents needed to go to college to make the best of their world. And now college education is taken for granted, and study abroad is becoming a major part of college education.
Even out here in rural South Dakota kids are starting to become more globally minded (although this is usually not more than a long holiday abroad and some souveniers) so much so that a kid in the newspaper wrote an opinion article telling his peers they should stop being so cocky and flashing their "drop in the pan" abroad experience around like they are better than everyone else. This is happening in "the middle of nowhere" South Dakota!
Global perspective is becoming a tool people need to survive. Kudos to these kids for starting off early. And I'm really glad your company is pursuing financially less fortunate kids too.
Please contiune to vote AND post.