We're honored to introduce our new Director, Daniel Dozier, who is leading the evolution of Students of the World. There will be new opportunities and ways to get involved once again - and we need your input. Read his full intro, here:
Dear Friend of Students of the World,
I’ll never forget the moment I learned that I could study abroad – in high school. I was in a summer theatre camp as a rising high school freshman and one of the other participants had recently returned from her junior year in Rennes, France, on a program called School Year Abroad (SYA). She said it was amazing. I had traveled to Paris that spring and had fallen in love with the city. I knew I wanted to apply to SYA and spend my junior or senior year of high school in France. Three years later, as a rising senior, I embarked upon a year abroad that would forever change my life.
Courtney Spence and I met at an event last winter and connected instantly. We bonded over many things -- from the importance of community engagement in tourism planning to the current climate that feels increasingly isolationist. A few months later, we met again in San Francisco. I shared how strongly I believe in the power of studying abroad, as I had personally experienced the benefits. I have participated in nine study abroad programs including: my senior year of high school in Rennes, France; Cape Town, South Africa for a Gap Year; Ifrane, Morocco for spring semester of junior year at Georgetown, Circumnavigation of the Globe doing research for senior thesis, Florence, Italy on a language grant after college, and more recently, Costa Rica, Mexico, and France (again) during grad school and Cuba as a teaching assistant this summer.
We are still exploring the full breadth of Students of the World “3.0” (as we are calling it) and, as we what we will focus on moving forward, we would love your input and suggestions where we can have the most impact. So far we have identified these four pillars of work that we believe could contribute most significantly:
Grants - scholarship programs for students to study abroad through partnering institutions, but always with a focus on storytelling and media
Services - consulting services for destinations, universities and program providers on leveraging the power of student storytelling to promote their place, school, program, etc.
Initiatives - Student Chapters and a toolkit to empower students to replicate the SOW summer program model while in school
Community - engaging our alumni and the broader network of students who have participated in study abroad and want to feel part of a community of creative activists at events domestically and internationally
Fundamentally, so much of what Students of the World is about, is building empathy. And so I want to conclude with a quote from a book by Arlie Russell Hochschild:
The English language doesn’t give us many words to describe the feeling of reaching out to someone from another world, and of having that interest welcomed. Something of its own kind, mutual, is created. What a gift. Gratitude, awe, appreciation; for me, all those words apply and I don’t know which to use. But I think we need a special word, and should hold a place of honor for it, so as to restore what might be a missing key on the English- speaking world’s cultural piano. Our polarization, and the increasing reality that we simply don’t know each other, makes it too easy to settle for dislike and contempt.
We must not give in to fear or anger. We must stay strong, full of love and empathy for the other – in our own country as well as beyond our borders. I know you haven't heard from us much lately, but we are looking forward to reconnecting with all of you as we revive and reimagine the next steps for this organization that has been such an important part of all of our lives.
I am also pleased to announce that we will be hosting our first social event, this Halloween in San Francisco - and you are invited! So please join us for a night of celebration when we remember where we’ve been (remember this video?) and look forward to where we want to go as an organization and a community.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out via firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, thoughts or if you want to get more involved.
Yours in solidarity,