I wanted to use this open blog post to thank the international students who shared, not only the stories of higher education in the countries, but their own personal stories as well. It has been extremely interesting hearing and understanding the differences in, not only higher education, but all education in countries such as China, Syria, Jordan, and Greece. The emphasis put on education at such a young age is mind-blowing to someone who has grown up under the American way of education. To see how much family and culture play a role in the education of children in some of these countries is fascinating. The idea that a child’s whole life can be, and is, mapped out in some of these countries according to one test that is taken when the student is a teenager is daunting to say the least. The cultural and family influences and pressure that is put on these students is something that most people in the U.S. will never know about and certainly can not understand.
The international students who shared their stories actually gave me inspiration and pointed me in a direction to my own education. I am an unconventional student, who until recently, (I am 45 years old), never knew what kind of career or job I wanted in my future. For me to know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life when I was 17 or 18 years old sounds insane to me. I have traveled to both Europe and Asia and never thought to try to understand the differences in education. After hearing these stories, from the international students, I have found a new respect for students who can uproot their lives and come to a new country to grasp toward a better future in their own country. It is astonishing to see international students succeed and thrive under these circumstances. Leaving your family, your friends, your country, your way of life and striving to succeed away from everything one knows is something that, for me, would be very difficult.
I just want to say thank you, again, for sharing your stories and helping me see that things are not always what they seem and that the human will can achieve so much in this world. Your stories have not only educated me but inspired me to be the best person I can be, not only in the sense of gaining a higher education but in life, as well. Thank you!!