Portrait of a Young Global Citizen

By Wayne Russell

Meet Andrew, a 13 year young man. When I first met him he was four turning five. We met in Shanghai, China: He a kindergarten student, I his teacher. Now Andrew is about to enter 8th grade. With the help of technology and a relationship with his parents I have stayed in touch. What motivated me to write this piece is two-fold. One, I am excited to reunite with Andrew and his family this summer (His family still lives in Shanghai). Two, his mother recently posted a short video clip of him playing his ukulele (He also plays the piano and guitar very well).

When I think of Andrew, I think "global citizen." Andrew was born in the United States and then at the age of three he and his family relocated to China. During their stay in Asia, Andrew has also lived in Vietnam for one and a half years. While is Vietnam Andrew became fluent in Vietnamese, a language that has two more tones than Chinese's four. In addition to his Chinese being pretty good, he is currently learning a fourth language, Tagalog. Tagalog is spoken as a first language by a third of the population of the Philippines.

One day Andrew will enter the workforce with a number of competitive skills. He will not only speak more than his mother tongue, English, but he will be well experienced in working with people from all around the world (He attends a quasi-international school with classmates from many different countries). Andrew will know how to communicate with people with vastly different cultural and family backgrounds and will be able to work through problems when perspectives are night and day.

Andrew will be a well-prepared and competitive citizen in our ever-expanding global economy. I look forward to following one of our future leaders.

Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours.