During International Education Week 2015, WES Student Advisor asked you for submissions for our third annual Essay Contest. The prompt was inspired by a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – "Intelligence plus character: That is the goal of true education" – and asked readers to explain how studying abroad can impact a person beyond academics.
We received some great submissions, and over the next month we’re going to share with you our favorite four. Today, we share with you the first runner-up, written by Nastaran Navari, of Iran. Good job, Nastaran!
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As Dr. King said, “Intelligence and character should be the goals of education.” Most people see education as a tool for earning money. They think that cash is the only result that a good education can have; however, this is not the case. We go to school and educate ourselves in order to gain a broad understanding of societal issues, to understand the values of our surroundings, and to make the world a better place for future generations. Fulfilling these goals requires a better system of education.
Every education system around the world should focus primarily on the main points of a valuable education because then we can have better societies. Intelligence and character, two main goals of education in Dr. King’s point of view, are possible in an environment with diversity and quality instructors. These criteria can be fulfilled when you study in Western countries because students come from different backgrounds and nations. Take myself as an example: Before 2015, I was studying in Iran, and now fortunately I have the opportunity to study in the multinational country of America. Here I have found many opportunities to discover myself and my capacities, and meet new people with different perspectives and ideas, which is really awesome and cool. This experience has helped me to think more deeply and look more curiously into things around me – to better understand my own social and educational development, which is priceless.
Back in my country, I was not able to express my opinions freely, and that affected me negatively because I was not able to broaden my point of view. The other important qualities of a good education can be fulfilled by studying in other countries like America because of their social structure and their beliefs in human equality, which are, sadly, all too rare in some third-world countries.
-Nastaran Navari, 2015