The popularity of traveling and studying abroad is just one of many indicators that our world is rapidly globalizing. Many of today’s students embrace an international identity, demonstrated by their concern for and involvement with a range of pertinent global issues. From signing petitions online and attending virtual conferences, to participating in local activism – these students are plugged into what it going on beyond their own borders, and feel empowered to effect change where it’s needed most.
Undergraduates who attend university in Italy are particularly well positioned to develop a critical international awareness. In the bustling metropolis of Rome, within the heart of the Mediterranean, they can observe, learn about, and participate in events that shape the world around them.
By the end of their degree, these students have developed the core characteristics of today’s global citizen:
Public Awareness and Participation
Non-profit organizations, national committees, and global campaigns are examples of initiatives designed to promote public knowledge about an important issue. They typically have many roles for volunteers who want to get involved during their spare time. Whether you’re helping to promote a cause through your Twitter account, organizing a local demonstration, or working to raise funds through a charity event, you are dedicating time and energy to a cause that impacts society as a whole. Undergraduates who study abroad in Rome have the opportunity to pursue internships at UN agencies and NGOs, gaining firsthand experience with expert change-makers.
Global citizens understand that small, individual gestures can combine to make a powerful force for good. Advances in digital technology have made connecting with likeminded individuals across the world easier than ever, creating a chain of participation without borders.
Romans place a great emphasis on eating locally grown, fresh food—which means that when you buy produce at the market, you can rest assured it didn’t travel far to get there. But can you say the same about your laptop, smartphone, or sneakers? When we look closely and critically at the things we own, we might realize that we know very little about their social and environmental impact.
Factories producing mass-market goods are typically set up in developing countries, in low-wage environments with few established labor laws. Human rights and environmental violations are often the price we pay for easy access to our favorite consumer goods. Global citizens are aware of these realities, and use their freedom of choice to invest in and support more responsible methods of production.
They might make a special effort to buy products made within their own country, or from companies with transparent and ethical manufacturing processes. Global citizens will continually question where products come from (and at what cost), encouraging others to consider how unseen populations across the globe are impacted by the supply chain.
Perseverance in the Face of Adversity
Because of their commitment to wide-reaching causes and movements, global citizens develop an enduring will to persevere in the face of adversity. They understand that meaningful changes take time to cultivate – and focus their energies on sustainable solutions. Individuals who are aware of their social, ethical, and political responsibilities are usually willing to hang in for the long term, are excellent collaborators, and patient problem-solvers.
If you feel inspired to study abroad in Italy, chances are you’re excited to learn about new cultures, join a diverse community of students, and gain experience living in an international city. To us, that sounds like the makings of an engaged and powerful global citizen!
Did we forget something? What other characteristics do you think define global citizenship?