How would you define global citizenship? What does it mean to you—is it about being aware of other cultures, or perhaps helping to work towards improving communities locally and abroad? Here at EF, we believe that to be so.
We also believe that global citizenship is integral to 21st century learning, and the firsthand experiences and learning that global citizens enjoy certainly help to define this movement. For students, becoming global citizens can benefit them in other ways—skills such as problem solving, communication, collaboration, and cross-cultural awareness will benefit them immeasurably in the global era in which we live. Through experiences such as educational travel, students can ultimately acquire these skills.
Such skills as problem solving, communication and collaboration, and cross-cultural awareness are all relevant individual benefits to the global era in which we now live. Through experiences like educational travel, these skills can ultimately be acquired.
1) Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
Problem solving is an important 21st century skill as the issues the world faces continue to grow in scale. Critically thinking about the global issues is imperative; using methods such as inductive and deductive reasoning, as well as analyzing how various elements interact with each other, will help students produce innovative solutions to these issues.
The definitive goal of global citizenship for students is to actively participate in the world, and to work for progress. This is why original thought is so fundamental to the process. Through educational travel, it is possible for students to observe global problems and consider them. Only then can they begin to create and explore effective solutions.
2) Community and Collaboration
Social media has already given us the opportunity to engage the world, and to experience a global citizenship education to varying degrees. A true global citizen, however, uses this sense of community to improve the world around them. Communication is not only a crucial skill for a global citizen to possess, but it is also an important life skill as well.
Through international travel, and open collaboration with new people from different backgrounds, cultures, languages, and values, travellers are able to improve their verbal and nonverbal communication tactics in a variety of contexts. As a result, their ability to work with a diverse range of people increases dramatically. This collaborative approach is so vital to problem solving for global citizens, as enacting change in the international arena requires the efforts of people from different cultures, who share common goals, understand each other, and are able to apply their unique backgrounds. For the global citizen, collaboration is all about cultivating solutions.
3) Technology Skills
In the 21st century, technology is ubiquitous and we are surrounded by information—it’s at our fingertips 24/7, yet we must be able to best use both to effectively foster global change.
By travelling and seeing the world firsthand, young people are encouraged to develop their own perspectives, thus enabling them to become active users of media rather than passive recipients. Evaluating online information critically promotes individuality, and through that the development of new ideas.
Adaptability is one of those qualities that any world traveller will learn. When abroad, nothing ever goes perfectly—there are always challenges, whether it is a language barrier, getting lost in an unfamiliar place, or flight delays. The ability to adapt to changing circumstances and deal with obstacles is invaluable. A true global citizen learns adaptability from their travels and keeps a positive attitude when the road gets rough.
5) Cross-Cultural Awareness:
Learning how to communicate with people from different cultures can be challenging, but it’s also necessary in order to develop our tolerance and empathy. Global citizens possess cross-cultural skills, meaning they understand that differing values, languages, and customs do not equate to differing goals for the world. Cultural immersion is undeniably a part of travelling and coming into contact with different people. This immersion allows travellers to identify with others, develop compassion, and look past cultural barriers to collaborate efficiently.