Another Endangered Species

is not only at the university level that foreign students are an endangered
species in the United States these days. That time-honored stable of
the 60’s and 70’s, the foreign exchange student, is disappearing from
high schools across the country.

Long the butt of crude jokes and stereotypes, these
teenaged foreign ambassadors were our first exposure to people who
looked, dressed, spoke and addressed life differently than our parents
and the
other kids in our middle-class suburban universe.

In fact, we would like to take this opportunity to appologize
to little Gretta Erdhoffen from Dusseldorf for  taping those Hogan’s
Heroes posters to her locker.  Only now do we realize how brave
and tolerant these students are, to come
to such
and put
with such
behavior. Or were…

”We don’t really have a lot of research into why it is happening,
but it is happening. There are fewer students," said John
Hishmeh, executive director of an umbrella group for most of the
large exchange
programs in the country.

Last year, 27,742 foreign students visited the United
States through programs accredited by Hishmeh’s organization, the Council
on Standards
for International Educational Travel. There were 44,291 in the 1999-2000
school year and 62,005 in 1993-94.

Is isolationism the new American reality? Do we truly
want to cut ourselves off from the rest of the world? It’s not just that it’s harder for them to get in, many of them have no interest in or fear of coming to America. Is this in any way related to our underwhelming popularity among the youth of the world, many of whom are now studying Chinese?

article from the Boston Globe


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