A Good Mix

by Lindsay McMillan

While schools across the country are recruiting international students for a mix of success, until last year there was not much research done on why a large international population is beneficial to American students. Researchers from Duke University surveyed over 5,000 U.S. alumni from four universities and found significant benefits. Graduates who interacted with international students in college not only went on to speak a foreign language and relate well to people of other cultures, but they also developed various other cognitive skills.

Some of these skills include: the ability to question their own values and beliefs; acquire new knowledge independently; formulate creative ideas; integrate information and ideas; understand the role of technology and science in society; and gain in depth knowledge in a specific field.

Interacting with people of sharply different backgrounds produces “cognitive disequilibrium” that promotes intellectual growth and thus the development of global citizenship.   

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