Thursday, September 16, 2010

Education at the crossroads

Time Magazine looks at college age kids taking a year off from school and either doing community service, or service abroad, and provides some good examples of young people doing some excellent work.

This summer, Monika Lutz's life took an unusual turn. Instead of heading off to college, the high school graduate packed her bags for a Bengali jungle. Lutz, like a growing number of other young Americans, is taking a year off. Gap years are quite common in Britain and Australia, but they are just beginning to catch on in the U.S. Lutz, who grew up in Boulder, Colo., has put together a 14-month schedule that includes helping deliver solar power to impoverished communities in India and interning for a fashion designer in Shanghai--experiences that are worlds away from the stuffy lecture halls.
But come on, most kids who take a year off either work part time jobs or just travel the world and screw off.  The Onion has a very good piece of satire entitled Report: More Colleges Offering Dick-Around Abroad Programs.  Some of the rich tidbits from the article are just plain hilarious.

WASHINGTON—According to a report published this week by the U.S. Department of Education, an increasing number of universities now offer dick-around abroad programs that give students the chance to hang out and do jack shit in another country.
Once only available through a small number of liberal arts colleges, dick-around abroad programs, which seek to immerse students in a foreign environment ideal for screwing off, can now be found in more than half of all American schools.
"Taking time to go fuck around abroad has become essential to a well-rounded education," said New York University dean of student affairs Christina White. "We urge all our students to pick a program that's right for them, whether it's six weeks dicking around in the Spanish countryside, or six months sticking your thumb as far up your ass as you possibly can in Japan or South Korea."
Or perhaps this screw off abroad program may appeal to your college age kid.
"I've dicked around in France and Australia," said Lehigh University senior Christie Oden, a psychology major who spent last spring in the school's popular Holy Shit, Melbourne Is Laid Back program. "I tell everyone I know: Definitely dick around abroad if you get the chance. It's the best thing I did in college.

Read the whole article  when you get a chance and need a good belly laugh.

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