One of the great failings of the American education system, in our view, is that young people can graduate from university without any understanding of poverty at home or abroad. Study-abroad programs tend to consist of herds of students visiting Oxford or Florence or Paris. We believe that universities should make it a requirement that all graduates spend at least some time in the developing world, either by taking a “gap year” or by studying abroad. If more Americans worked for a summer teaching English at a school like the schools started by young women in Pakistan or in mercy fistula hospital (HEAL Africa in Congo) our entire society would have a richer understanding of the world around us. And the rest of the world might also hold a m0re positive view of Americans.
This quote is from Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. It is my reluctant summer reading (how many times have I attempted to read it?) but this quote is just exactly what I wish I could repeat over and over and over again to every student I meet.