For a small group of local teenagers, part of their summer has been spent learning to think critically about global issues. For the past two weeks the students have been learning Mandarin Chinese and Arabic, hearing speakers who work in the international community and learning from one another in the 2014 Summer Seminar of Global Issues.
Gabe Ren, a 15-year-old rising junior at North Allegheny Senior High School said he always thought he wanted to go into international business. But after two weeks of hearing people speak to them about the work they do in refugee camps, researching climate change or in public health, his interests have widened.
"I’ve learned that I may be interested in something else after hearing some of these speakers speak, so it's nice to keep my options open at this point," he said.
Thirty-six local students are in the seminar. They had to apply and there’s a fee to attend. Three foreign exchange students from Pakistan were also part of the program. The students said meeting them dispelled some of the assumptions he had about the country.
The seminar, sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh, ends on Friday.