“As we observe International Education Week, Phillip A. Min, Consul General, U.S. Consulate General, Chennai, writes about the power of intellectual exchange.”
This morning over 100,000 Indian students will wake up in the United States and prepare for classes, research and study. Years ago, I too found myself in a classroom halfway around the world from my home.
As a graduate student at the University of Washington, I took time off to pursue language studies and conduct research in South Korea. I remember fondly the kindness and wisdom of my professors, the friends I made from Korea as well as many other countries, and the adventures we shared as I explored the land my maternal grandparents emigrated from eighty years earlier. The year I spent studying overseas helped mould me into the individual I am today. It taught me to be resilient and self-reliant, and exposed me to different cultures and points of view. It also gave me a greater appreciation for my own country, which influenced me to eventually become an American diplomat.
My experiences as an American student, and later a teacher, overseas shaped my view of the world and my place in it. Today, as we celebrate International Education Week (IEW), I am proud to be one of millions who have benefitted from international education and exchange. You can be one too.
Every day, the U.S.-India education partnership grows deeper through the efforts of our governments and academic institutions. The Fulbright-Nehru programme, administered by the U.S.-India Education Foundation, has nearly tripled in size since 2009, with approximately 300 Indian and U.S. students and scholars participating annually.