Our Shrinking World
If you are genuinely interested in our ever-shrinking world and the phenomenon called "global culture," I would suggest you find and read a copy of the August 1999 edition of National Geographic magazine. It is enlightening and fascinating!
Many times over the past decade and a half, I have heard people in and out of higher education discussing "a gloabal economy" or "our increasing interdependence on workers in other countries" to manufacture goods and products. This issue of National Geographic adds some meat to these bones with great images and several thought-provoking articles.
From one of these articles, I found it very interesting that the people of the world speak more than 6,000 languages, but in the next 100 years half of those languages may be lost as traditional cultures change.
This loss of traditional cultures does not only mean a loss of languages, it also means there is a loss of knowledge. Consider the untapped knowledge available about the medicinal use of plants from the healers in native tribes around the world. This knowledge may indeed disappear as cultures disappear.
My purpose here is not to boost National Geographic sales, but to lead into this rather special issue of Berea Alumnus. Our goal for this issue is, we hope, to enlighten you regarding the growing internationalization taking place at Berea.
The cover photo features two first-year students, Lydia Longstreth, from Knoxville, Tenn., and Ha Nguyen, from Hanoi, Vietnam. who are roommates at Berea. Neither student has had a previous international experience, and in the story entitled "Friends", they describe what it is like to live with someone from another culture.
Also in this issue you will learn about how Berea makes international students feel more at home through the Host Family program, how the role of the International Center is expanding to benefit both students and faculty, how a new program, Berea Abroad, is allowing more students and faculty to study abroad and how immersing themselves into a culture far different from their own is helping Berea students understand our global society.
The staff has put a lot of thought and planning into this issue, which is my last. I hope you enjoy it.