Becoming a Global Citizen

Why it is important to learn world history

A global citizen symbol
Credit: Wikimedia

A global citizen symbol Credit: Wikimedia

TeresaH, Staff Reporter

Asking “why do we need to know this?” would be an acceptable question in a math or science class but not in world history. Despite the shared complaints among students, world history is one of the most important classes in high school. Knowing world history allows us to make informed judgements in politics and educated conclusions regarding global concerns.

World history is a broad topic which introduces us to other cultures, allows us to see humankind’s progress and prepares us for international participation in a way that U.S. history cannot. High school students are the future politicians and representatives in global conferences. We need to understand other ideologies and be educated to be taken seriously in international affairs. Awareness and understanding are important in cooperating and holding a respectable stance in global concerns.

However, world history is not restricted to politics; it teaches us of a diverse and multifarious world, of human challenges and progress, of change and continuity, of loss and gain, of alliances and divisions and of perseverance but most importantly, it unites us with a common and shared story.

I understand that it may seem trivial to know who Qin Shi Huang is, but world history makes us more aware of world connections and interdependence. And although this knowledge may seem unnecessary in day-to-day life, world history is what prevents us from becoming the “ignorant American” stereotype, i.e. being self-centered, overly-patriotic, irrationally nationalistic and opinionated in topics we know nothing about. And while a high school student has the right to complain about taking a class which they perceive as ”useless”, it is important to remember that knowledge is what makes us credible and respectable to the people we share the planet with.

Remaining uneducated in these universal topics, makes us naive and close-minded. World history is meant to raise awareness and broaden our understanding of the past, present and future. So, in becoming a global citizen, you become more perceptive of your surroundings outside of the U.S. and come to understand the incredible complexity of humans.