Being an exchange student can open your eyes in various ways, not only does one get the opportunity to enhance ones life with bunch of experiences but even more important; the exposure to new cultures.
By new cultures I'm not referring to my host country USA, in most it reminds of scandinavia because our interconnected western society replicates itself. No, I'm hinting on completely different cultures like those of Asia and South America. Having spent vast amount of time around especially chinese students it occurs to me that they have a completely different mindset.
At first I thought it was winner mentality that drove them to study around the clock and devote their entire life to nothing but the books. But it is slowly occurring to me that these students study more out of necessity than will. It seems that their family and peers put an enormous pressure on their shoulders to constantly turn out top grades and performances. And indeed they do; chinese students are among the smartest in US.
So why am I questioning a culture that obviously fosters success?
I choose to believe that great leaders cannot be derived from books and studies. Why? Because though the educated mind is an important asset of every student, one most also learn to cope with society and the people around us. If you're completely cut off from everything else except from studies, how are you supposed to educate yourself as a human being with unique values?! It is of course important to do well in school but if you cannot socialize your worth as a future leader diminishes drastically. If you don't have the people skills you will never rise from doing the repetitive work and toe the line.
In short, I'm advocating that every student most create a passion in life other than studies. Get out there; explore and travel the world. It offers so much more knowledge than bo