International Student - Import? Export?
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Friday, November 17, 2017
By Mingyan Li (TREI Intern)
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As an international student from China who studied at a university in the United States, I have always seen myself as a type of import to the states. This is easy to see since I am here in the States, which corresponds to the definition of an export in my mind – transport outside the origin country. My internship at the Global Opportunities (GO) Center consists of conducting research on exports in the Piedmont Triad Region. The concept of import and export that I cognize from my current research has overturned the original concept I had on the subject. I started to realize that being an international student in the United States makes me the receiver of an educational service, which is exported by the region where the educational institution is located (in my case, Greensboro, NC).  In a post by the International Trade Administration in the September 4th, 2012 issue ‘Education as a Top Service Export’, it is written that Education Service ranked high in the top ten service exports.

The consideration of international programs being a form of export seemed odd at first, however, it is also a fact that I pay to get educated and receive services provided by hired faculty. Although the service provided to me remains in the United States along with the institution, I am still a carrier of the aquired skills and knowledge. These skills and my knowledge would be exported out of the States at the point that I return home to China. I am proud of being an international student because I am both learning the culture of Americans in the States, and also bring my unique culture to the environment. November 13-17, 2017 is identified throughout the nation as International Education Week – an entire week created to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange. It is most valuable to me that I have the opportunity to learn and experience multiple cultures while studying abroad in a country so different from mine.

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