Kathleen Megan wrote an article in The Hartford Courant this month concerning a case of discrimination in the University of Connecticut. Colin Carlson, a 13 year old prodigy was denied to attend an African ecology course involving a summer field study in South Africa. Even after his mother offered the university to go with him so as to become liable for his child, the university kept a firm “no” as an answer. On the other side, the university of Connecticut remains silent, even if they say their most important consideration when letting students study abroad is safety.
First of all, considering a 13 year old capable of attending a double-degree carrier is considering that the individual is intelligent and mature enough to deal with the duties and responsibilities that this implies. If this person fulfills these, why would he or she not be able to benefit from the rights and advantages of it?
Studying abroad is an important decision to make and before taking the step, the student should feel prepared and comfortable with the idea of being away from their family, friends and culture. Once he has thought about all of this, age should not be important. Age and maturity are sometimes not linked so age should not be considered as a factor when deciding whether a student is prepared to study abroad or not.
Safety is very important for students abroad no matter the age of the individual, so once again, it is not a question of how old someone is, but how responsible these people are.
Back to the article, Colin Carlson’s teachers and mentors all stated that he is a very good student, responsible and mature. The reason why the University decided not to accept his request is still unknown. We will follow this case closely, so as to discover what justice will determine as fair or ethical.
What is your take on this? Do you think a 13 year old should be allowed to study abroad? Please share your opinion in the comments. We are interested on your opinion on this topic!