It was so gorgeous yesterday that as I was walking around, I thought my whole town looked just like one of those glossy college viewbooks — you know the idyllic pictures of students lounging on the grass, being studious. I inhaled those when I was picking a college. Apparently, that US shiny-student lifestyle is the new hot export.
According to the New York Times, US universities are racing each other to set up outposts abroad — and their campuses are becoming neighbors all over the Middle East. In the Persian Gulf country of Qatar, students can head to "Education City" and study medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, international affairs at Georgetown, computer science and business at Carnegie Mellon, fine arts at Virginia Commonwealth, engineering at Texas A&M, and coming soon, journalism at Northwestern.
To find out why colleges are rushing to take extended trips abroad,
Overseas programs can:
- Help American universities raise their profiles.
- Build international relationships and attract top research talent who, in turn, may attract grants and produce patents.
- Gain access to a new pool of tuition-paying students, just as the number of college-age Americans is about to decline.
But not everyone is wild about the idea. Dana Rohrabacher (R- CA) is reluctant. “I’m someone who believes that Americans should watch out for Americans first. It’s one thing for universities here to send professors overseas and do exchange programs, which do make sense, but it’s another thing to have us running educational programs overseas.”
What do you think? Do we raise our profile by sharing our educational system? Or should we hunker down and make sure we educate at home the top priority?