Tuesday, January 6, 2015

How Studying Abroad Can Change the World: Essay Contest Winners, Part 4

In the fall, WES Student Advisor asked readers for submissions for our 2014 Essay Contest. The prompt was inspired by a Nelson Mandela quote -- "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world" -- and it asked readers to describe how studying abroad can help change the world.

This month, we've shared with you three of the winning entries. Now, in the fourth part of a five-part series, we're showcasing another one of the winners: a piece by Purva Gautam, who argues for education as a tool to combat poverty.

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Education is a form of learning in which the knowledge, skills, and habits of a group of people are transferred from one generation to the next through teaching, training, or research. Education plays an important role in shaping an individual’s career. Education helps people earn recognition and respect in society. But merely gaining knowledge doesn't make one educated. Education is complete only when we learn how to live, how to hope, how to pray and how to behave with others.

Once a man was walking in the desert when a voice called him and said, “Pick up some pebbles and put them in your pocket, and tomorrow you will be both sorry and glad.” The man obeyed, and the next morning when he reached into his pocket, he found diamonds and rubies and emeralds. And true to the voice, he was both glad and sorry. Glad that he had taken some – sorry that he hadn't taken more. The same is true with education.

Therefore it is very important to have a complete education. Education can truly change an individual. It can drive away the clouds of ignorance and bring light to a person's life. What is the main cause of poverty in many countries? It is only literacy that makes people devoid of their rights and hence makes them poor. Education is both the cause and the consequence of poverty. If people are uneducated, they may not value the importance of education; they may allow their children to go uneducated, creating a vicious cycle that renders future generations increasingly uneducated and, as a result, more impoverished.

Education can be achieved in many ways. Local schools are the most common path. But gaining education from abroad can change a person’s life. By studying abroad, a person can gain knowledge about the culture and education level of various countries. Also, it helps to enhance one's vocabulary; you may be able to learn as many languages as are spoken in the country in which you study. Nelson Mandela said, "Education is the most powerful weapon which one can use to change the world." And this saying is completely true.

-Purva Gautam

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Congratulations to all our 2014 Essay Contest winners, and thanks to everyone who participated!

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