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Presidential Quotes on the Merits of Study Abroad

Whether you identify as a Republican, Democrat, or anywhere in between, we all have one thing in common: a love of travel. And the more travel the better, right?

Turns out, we're not the only ones who support cultural understanding through educational exchanges. Below you will find some inspiring quotes from important political figures who advocate for the necessity of studying abroad.

"The fact is, with every friendship you make, and every bond of trust you establish, you are shaping the image of America projected to the rest of the world. That is so important. So when you study abroad, you’re actually helping to make America stronger."
- First Lady Michelle Obama

"No one who has lived through the second half of the 20th century could possibly be blind to the enormous impact of exchange programs on the future of countries…"
- Bill Clinton, former US President

"The spirit of seeking understanding through personal contact with people of other nations and other cultures deserves the respect and support of all."
- Gerald R. Ford, former US President

"Simple exchanges can break down walls between us, for when people come together and speak to one another and share a common experience, then their common humanity is revealed. We are reminded that we're joined together by our pursuit of a life that's productive and purposeful, and when that happens mistrust begins to fade and our smaller differences no longer overshadow the things that we share. And that's where progress begins."
- President Barack Obama

"…International education cannot be the work of one country. It is the responsibility and promise of all nations. It calls for free exchange and full collaboration…The knowledge of our citizens is one treasure which grows only when it is shared."
- Lyndon B. Johnson, former US President

"Our nation must engage with the rest of the world. But to be successful, we must listen. Our interaction with the world must be a conversation, not a monologue... these exchanges are a strategic pillar of our nation's public diplomacy."
- Dina Habib Powell, United States Department of State

"There is a flickering spark in us all which, if struck at just the right age…can light the rest of our lives, elevating our ideals, deepening our tolerance, and sharpening our appetite for knowledge about the rest of the world. Educational and cultural exchanges…provide a perfect opportunity for this precious spark to grow, making us more sensitive and wiser international citizens through our careers."
- Ronald Reagan, former US President

"I just think we can't do enough of this [student exchanges]… And when you get young children traveling internationally, I think they come back different people. And you can't put a price tag -- you can't put a value on that."
- Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education

"International exchanges are not a great tide to sweep away all differences, but they will slowly wear away at the obstacles to peace as surely as water wears away a hard stone."
- George H.W. Bush, former US President

"…the exchange of students…should be vastly expanded…Information and education are powerful forces in support of peace. Just as war begins in the minds of men, so does peace."
- Dwight D. Eisenhower, former US President

Megan Lee

Megan Lee is an international educator, traveler, and writer. She currently leads study abroad programs in China and the South Pacific. Keep up with her on Twitter @peglegmeg and Google+.