As I made my way back from a week-long soccer trip in Scotland with 30-odd BB&N boys, I found this topic to be incredibly relevant, to say the least. Watching our students navigate in unfamiliar territory, some cautious and tentative, others showing the signs of seasoned travel, it was so evident how important global understanding is, and there's no doubt that this need will only increase in time.
At the end of the week, I was so impressed with all of our boys on several levels - thankfully, but not surprisingly, their behavior was one of them!. Firstly, they showed a willingness to try new things and push out of their comfort zones – haggis was ordered on more than one occasion at our meals, as well as other foods unfamiliar to them. Second was their strong desire to get to know about people from other cultures. We were lucky enough to have receptions planned after a few of our games, and both visitors and hosts eagerly dove in to cross the culture gulf that had been narrowed by their common love of soccer and allowed new friendships to form. Watching them swap Facebook and other social networking addresses illustrated the power and potential that technology will certainly play in these young adults' lives. Lastly, to listen to them speak about their newfound appreciation and affection for another culture demonstrated the power of these kinds of interactions and how strongly they can inform opinions and beliefs.
Given this experience, I came away feeling that we do a very good job preparing our students for a more integrated global future. They are open to new thoughts and perspectives, unafraid to take risks, and capable of synthesizing these things into a modified outlook. Where I feel there's more that we could do is in helping to teach them why this is so important. How do we take learning opportunities such as this and help them see their world as a part of a bigger stage? I feel that if we can generate better and better results here, we can feel confident that our students are not just globally integrated, but ready to lead globally.