White House Adventures with Adventure Girl

White House Adventures with Adventure Girl

by Stefanie Michaels

Being “Adventure Girl” over the years, has offered me a life full of opportunities and adventures. I’ve been able to fly in Zero Gravity with astronaut, Buzz Aldrin, followed up with an invitation to NASA to see an Endeavor spacecraft launch. I have sat at the dinner table full of diplomats discussing world views with my friend and egyptologist, Dr. Zahi Hawass while I was in Egypt. Most recently, I interviewed spiritual guru and author, Dr. Deepak Chopra about his new book, Future of God, discussing his views to enlighten and broaden philosophies on believing.

Each adventure I mention above, has added educational and personal value to me, and always incorporates traveling. Without travel, it would not have been possible to connect to these wonderful people, nor learn from each and every one of them.

Great snapshots of life, indeed. Who knew (no one more surprised than me!) I would be lucky enough to walk down this path that started as a not so random choice to be a journalist… then, “Adventure Girl.”

I have another “something” to add right up there on top of my list.

An invitation by The White House to come to Washington, D.C. to partake in a summit on study abroad travel.

Two days ago, I dropped into D.C., got my credentials, and stepped foot onto those majestic grounds at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I joined 99 other bloggers, media, influencers, and educators.

During the three-hour summit, we heard from senior White House staff about the need for our nation’s youth to travel abroad, through educational opportunities from government supported programs to private sector initiatives.

For example, The Gilman Scholarship open to Pell Grant recipients, sends students overseas for free–a hot topic, since we all know college, not to mention studying abroad can be expensive. There was also an update from the Peace Corps–members can now choose their destination for duty. Previously, a corps’ member was assigned a location by the organization.

These are just two of the options I learned about from the experts who spoke that day. There are many more choices for our Nation’s youth to see the world, and have opportunities to be shaped into adulthood from experiences they would not otherwise be privy to.

Overall, the White House’s message is clear. Only 1.5% of college students travel abroad, which is not only shocking, but criminal in my humble opinion, and thankfully, the Obama administration wants to help make changes to this dramatically low stat.

It’s a passion of mine to get people traveling and learning. I’ll be working closely with the White House to help shepherd along information for parents, teachers, and students by connecting them to study abroad programs, opportunities and mentors that can help facilitate educational travel.

Also, please follow the hashtag #Studyabroadbecause on Twitter, tag @adventuregirl in your tweet so I see it, and share your stories with me.

Together we can grant the spirit of study abroad travel to our next generation of “global citizens”.