The 21st century is an exciting time, full of hope in the future that lies ahead of us. While we cannot predict what will happen in the future, we know that the nations and cultures of the world will become increasingly interconnected. Our students are the leaders that will shape that future and must understand the diversity and intrinsic value of all persons. Unfortunately, many students get most of their information about other cultures from news snippets, TV shows, and movies. Due to a variety of reasons fewer than 4% of all American college students participate in study abroad programs. Through its Global Academic Initiatives ECU, working with more than 50 partner institutions in more than 30 countries, provides live, interactive, diverse experiences to more than 2400 students around the world each year.
We have chosen to use low cost, sustainable Internet based tools to create the virtual environment in which these experiences occur, effectively removing the barriers of access often encountered. ECU has played a leadership role in creating technology based interactive global activities for students. For more than a decade, Global Academic Initiatives has been building active partnerships to provide unique experiences to students. From entire courses to occasional lectures and discussions, students from around the world learn together in the Global Classroom.