Exploring education differences: What are the pros and cons of studying in America? Overseas?

Sure, American students get a bad rap for how they perform on standardized tests. But as some international students quickly discover, our teens probably lead the world in self-esteem.

We asked three writers to describe the differences they have experienced between American and foreign schools.

Being an exchange student from Taiwan introduced Mary Wu to American confidence and a habit of disrespecting teachers. Likewise, Dami Gilbert’s time in Nigeria taught her to appreciate flexibility over discipline, while Mairead DeBruin’s routine at Avalon School feels unconventional even by U.S. standards.

Finally, two YourTurn contest winners suggest how President Obama should tackle education reform.

The question is: Can U.S. schools deliver what teens want and still make America competitive globally?

children studying

Exploring education differences: Life inside a Taiwanese school

There’s an old Chinese saying taught to schoolchildren about how they should always show respect for three kinds of people: Parents, teachers and the Emperor.

school buildings

Exploring education differences: Life inside a Nigerian school

Education is valued in Nigeria, which ThreeSixty writer Dami Gilbert appreciates. But she’ll take the flexibility and comfort of U.S. schools over strict discipline every time.


Exploring education differences: Life inside Avalon School

It’s a small place, down off University Avenue in St. Paul. The building is a converted warehouse full of all the kids who refuse to fit in anywhere else.

YourTurn winners: Advice for President Obama's second term

Check your inbox, President Obama. You’ve got mail from our contest winners.