Thursday, March 23, 2006

College Credit for Shoe-String Travel?

Nick Kristof, a regular contributor to the op-ed page of the New York Times, recently encouraged American universities to offer college credit for the kind of independent, low-budget travel that puts young people face to face with the realities of the world today. This type of travel - outside the bubble, close to the ground - is far more educational and inspiring than anything that ever happened in a dusty lecture hall. Kristof is a role model of mine, one of the best journalists alive today. I'll post an excerpt from his college credit proposal below (which I found through Carl Parkes' Travelwriter's blog). It's an excellent idea - write letters, tell your friends - let's get this thing off the ground.

"Traditionally, many young Britons, Irish, Australians and New Zealanders take a year to travel around the world on a shoestring, getting menial jobs when they run out of money. We should try to inculcate the custom of a 'gap year' in this country by offering university credit for such experiences."

"So here's my proposal: Universities should grant a semester's credit to any incoming freshman who has taken a gap year to travel around the world. In the longer term, universities should move to a three-year academic program, and require all students to live abroad for a fourth year. In that year, each student would ideally live for three months in each of four continents: Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe."


Anyone unfamiliar with Kristof's work would do well to check out "Thunder in the East," a collection of articles from Asia that he co-authored with his wife.


Blogger ryan libre said...

that is a great idea, and in fact it is already very possible. Most all universities offer independent and special studies classes. you dont need to be at your university to take these "classes". if you want more info on how to do it please mail me.

4:14 AM  
Blogger Shyun said...

unfair to those who can't afford to travel.......

10:39 AM  

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