Posts Tagged ‘Susatainable Communities Espiritiential Education’

The Global Student

Global Student Alyssa Lanz

Global Student Alyssa Lanz*

Forget the SATs. Forget the “top college” rat race and high-priced American schools.
Writer Maya Frost says it’s time for American students to go global, look abroad, and get a global education, for less.   Everybody knows the straight and narrow, up-and-out formula for American success: good grades, good scores, good college, big debt … good luck.
Many in countries throughout the world know the value of thinking and behaving in terms of “global community” as evidenced by the numbers of foreign students, but American’s have tended to be more insular compared with our global neighbors.

Recent guests on NPR’s On Point in WBUR in Boston with Tom Ashbrook’s, were Maya and Tom Frost, who say “Forget it. There’s a better way. And the path leads abroad — early.”
Stay home studying for SATs and taking on college debt, and you’re guaranteed nothing in this topsy-turvy economy. Go abroad — as early as high school, especially for college, they say — and you’ll find low tuitions, big adventures, and the future.
Listen to the interview: A new American way in the world. Going global, right from the start.

Global Student
Global Student

The book is called: The New Global Student: Skip the SAT, Save Thousands on Tuition, and Get a Truly International Education
Chapter One’s title is: “Creative, Not Crazy, Our Family’s Story”,
It starts with a quote from Thomas A. Edison – “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.”

Frost’s opener starts, “In the summer of 2005 my husband and I decided to sell everything and move abroad. There’s nothing too unusual about that these days-except that we had four teenage daughters at the time, and the youngest of three were about to enter their freshman, junior and senior years of high school. This book is about the lessons they learned, and the loopholes we discovered –while shepherding our kids through high school, into college and beyond.”  She goes on, “Luckily, we stumbled upon a number of affordable, accessible, and stunningly advantageous strategies that American parents anywhere can use to help their kids get both an enriching education and perspective-shifting international experience. Sweet bonus: they add, “We saved a couple hundred thousand dollars in the process.”

She writes, “We’re not on a crusade of any kind and our exodus wasn’t spurred by fear, exasperation or legal problems; it was simply a matter of following our instincts in order to give our kids what we felt would be a series of amazing opportunities for learning and creativity.” Frost says that when others hear their story, “they can’t help but make assumptions about us. Some we found hilarious.” She adds,  “We had a ton of money and/or serious connections.” Their answer..”Hoo-boy! That’s a good one.” They had “no bonus, corporate cushion, windfall or an uncle who died.”

Mt Spirit students in Peru
Mt Spirit students in Peru

Another assumption was that “we were oddball parents”, Their response is: “Quirky, They think we must have been the kind of people you whisper about at parent meetings or avoid when you run into them in the grocery store.” They add, “The boring truth is that we were nice, normal people, leading ordinary lives.”
Another assumption was that they were disconnected or just plain miserable where they were.  Their response: “Well, no more than most people living in suburban America. Another assumption they encountered:  “Our girls were enmeshed in a scandal at school that necessitated a quick exit to protect their social standing.”  Their response was “Sorry- no gossip here.”

Frost says in her book that they had two  “harebrained” ideas.
One,  that they needed to become “flexible and innovative in order to be prepared for an exciting future full of all kinds of impossible-to-predict opportunities.” Harebrained idea number two was that “we wanted our daughters to develop empathy and responsibility in order to become upstanding global citizens.”

Mountain Spirit Institute’s experiential programs in the USA, Peru and New Zealand are about getting students out into the world. Our webpages devoted to Peru cultural immersion for university students have information on college credit, logistics, curriculum  and connections.

Check out some blogs written by young Americans spending time abroad here.
Read Maya Frost’s special message to students here.

Image#1, Credit:
Alyssa Lanz poses for a snapshot in Egypt while studying at the American University in Cairo, taking classes in Arabic and political science, and working with New Women’s Foundation, a research center in Cairo focusing on women’s rights.

Outdoor Kids Bill of Rights

MSI VP Bob Stremba

MSI VP Bob Stremba

MSI Board Member Attends “Kids Outdoors” Conference

Mountain Spirit Institute board member Bob Stremba of Fort Lewis College’s Outdoor Pursuits, Durango, Colorado, recently attended a conference aimed at addressing initiatives of getting children outside more in the natural world.  This  “No Child Left Indoors” initiative has a strong advocate with Colorado Lt. Governor O’Brien who is currently soliciting suggestions in writing Colorado KidsOutdoor Bill of Rights.

Stremba shared his findings at this week’s Mountain Institute staff meeting and asked what others in MSI thought about developing curriculum that can be replicated and offered throughout the USA to schools, summer camps and community recreation programs. Said Stremba, “Colorado residents in communities throughout the state are giving feedback on this exciting intiative. He added, “There are about 8 to 10 sites in Colorado working on this, and there will likely be partial government funding for such programs.” Those at the meeting agreed this direction is a good fit for Mountain Spirit.

Revenge of Gaia
Revenge of Gaia

Founder Randy Richards said Mountain Spirit’s core values focus on body mind and spirit, spiritual experiential education, (or a term coined here “espiriential” education), learning from indigenous wisdom, environmental education, sustainability, social responsibility and service.  He added, MSI was founded on just the values for which the  ‘Kids in the Woods’  iniative is striving.”

Sustainable Communities Programs Director and MSI board member Brenda Dowst mentioned that she has noticed programs “popping up all over”  her region in Nova Scotia,  and said that including the Indian nation people to teach about giving back, the earth, about appreciation and understanding of the earth would be vital to such education.

She also refered to James Lovelock’s book,  Revenge of Gaia, where he warns of the perils of ignoring nature and that our survival of a species, in its present numbers, is in question. She added her reason for bringing up the book in the meeting was that it could serve as a touchstone for moving such programs forward.

Sustainable Communities Director, Brenda Dowst
Brenda Dowst

Colorado Kids Outdoors‘ statement of purpose states it  “is a collaboration among organizations in the public, private and nonprofit sectors for whom the shared goal is increasing outdoor activity for children. The purpose of this effort is to create a comprehensive framework within the State of Colorado to support efforts of many diverse organizations to provide opportunities, environments and infrastructure for children throughout the State to spend significant quality time in the outdoors. The elements of this framework must include:

  • Development and adoption of public policies at the state and local levels that reflects a very high priority for the goal of ensuring that all Colorado’s children, in particular minority and underserved children, have access to safe and healthy, structured and unstructured, outdoor experiences;      (see resources below and.. (more…)