Why study abroad?One of the mistakes I made when I was in college was deciding to spend all four years on campus rather than going overseas for at least one semester.
It seems that MIT has traditionally had a lot of students like me people who decide they can best fulfill their educational goals by staying put once they arrive at their alma mater.
Last year MIT published a task force report (pdf) on how to update and enhance the school's undergraduate program. This report, the result of two-and-a-half years of work, includes a long section on what to do about study abroad.
In the task force's view, the goals of MIT's foreign study programs should be providing students with:
- a better awareness of problems on a global scale, including but not limited to problems that relate to their individual field of study
- the opportunity to understand professional problems within their cultural context, illustrating that other cultures may attach different priorities to these problems and their solutions
- explicit exposure to different educational and research systems, gaining the understanding that those systems can provide equally serious approaches to knowledge
- the opportunity to take a break from MIT, allowing students to step back from their day-today education and understand its deeper value