The Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) and Boston Latin School (BLS) recently announced the creation of the Robert and Joanne Fallon Global Scholarship.
Through this scholarship program, the full cost of one of CIEE Global Navigator Summer High School’s programs will be covered for three students. For this upcoming summer, students can choose between various programs in Japan, South Korea or Thailand on topics like language, culture, pop culture and environmental justice.
“CIEE Global Navigator programs prepare high school students to navigate across languages, engage with cultures and address global or local issues in today’s interconnected world,” said Matthew Redman, vice president of High School Study Abroad, Teach and TEFL programs at CIEE. “Through this partnership, we’re excited to extend this opportunity to Boston Latin School students and honor Ro and Joanne Fallon’s lifelong dedication to global education.”
In addition to cultural and language immersion, Redman said that study abroad experiences help students stand out on their college applications. Participants can also get four college credits for their summer abroad.
This scholarship program was established to honor Fallon, who served as director of CIEE for 18 years. Fallon, who was also a graduate of BLS, and his wife Joanne, served in the Peace Corps as well as worked for a number of international organizations in Asia.
“We believe it is important for young people to understand and study this complex area of the world and applaud CIEE and its partnership with Latin School to make study abroad programs in Asia available to deserving BLS students,” said Fallon in a statement. “We could not be more appreciative of CIEE for making these Asian study scholarships available.”
The Global Navigator program runs two sessions for four weeks over the summer and participants are drawn from grades nine to 11. High school students can choose between programs focused on foreign language immersion in French, Spanish, Italian, German, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese or Arabic, developing a service-learning project or one that highlights topics such as visual arts or international relations.
BLS has participated in the Global Navigator program since its establishment in 2015. One of BLS’ core values has been global awareness, according to Thomas Kennelly, program director for history and global understanding at BLS. To meet graduation requirements at BLS, students must take four years of a language and the school offers five languages.
“This program is one of many efforts that we have to provide our students with that opportunity to meet people from other countries, other cultures and other backgrounds,” said Kennelly. “They can travel to different parts of the world and develop a better understanding of what people, places and issues are like around the world.”
Kennelly said for those students who participate in the language immersion programs, many plan to major or minor in a language at a postsecondary institution. Additionally, he found that participants come back to BLS with stronger leadership skills and have a better understanding of the country they were in. Through the program, students are also able to interact with their peers from around the U.S. as well as from other countries.
“It’s been a great partnership for our school and has provided really transformative experiences for our students,” he said. “Everyone that participates comes back very excited. When they get back, they are all so eager to share with their classmates and teachers and encourage others to participate in the program.”
Although the high school program has only been around for five years, more than 8,000 students from across the country have participated in it. Additionally, more than 50% of the student participants did not identify as Caucasian and 85% of them received financial aid, according to Redman.
“CIEE’s mission has never been more important than today. As our economies and challenges are becoming more global, growing global citizens that are able to work across cultural differences is critical,” he added.
Redman said this program goes beyond building academic skills.
“Students also develop ‘workforce ready’ skills that are harder to develop in a pure classroom environment but that will make a lasting impact on their college career and beyond.”
According to composite score data from the Global Navigator program, 93% of participants reported that they improved their communication skills and can now navigate across cultural differences. Additionally, 95% said they came home with a more global perspective, 92% felt more self-confident and 96% found themselves to be more independent.
“Employers recognize that the main skills they will be looking for in the 21st century are written and oral communication, critical thinking, teamwork and the ability to work independently,” said Redman. “All things study abroad participants excel at.”
“It will help them demonstrate their maturity and their ability to step outside their comfort zone,” he added.
Sarah Wood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.