At a meeting in Germany recently, Secretary of State John Kerry was asked by a former exchange program participant to comment on why fewer Americans seek an exchange experience in Europe than Europeans do in America. Secretary Kerry said, “That’s a really good question…. I need to find out.” He referred to the importance that the Administration attaches to scholarships for study abroad, and he said more scholarships are needed.
Secretary Kerry is a strong supporter of international education. In 2001, then-Senator Kerry sponsored Senate Concurrent Resolution 7, calling for the establishment of an international education policy for the United States which would, among other things, strive to “significantly increase participation in study abroad and internships abroad,” and “promote greater diversity of locations, languages, and subjects” involved in study abroad. This resolution passed the Senate unanimously. It was the right policy then, and it’s the right policy now. Regrettably, the United States still has not articulated such a policy. So it’s important that Secretary Kerry know the answer to this question: Why has this objective of his resolution (not to mention the other objectives) not been accomplished—or even attempted?