April 4, 2008 3:40 AM Subscribe
If you were writing a book/essay about the motivations of over-ambitious young people, where would you look for research?
posted by divabat to Society & Culture (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
One of my friends was asking me why young people (often like myself) would go through all that effort to apply for opportunities (conferences, courses, fellowships, etc) overseas, then go through the hassle of trying to find funding for them. Why not, she asked, just save up your money and apply, or go to something in your own turf?
In my reply, I had mentioned Government grants, and she said that she'd rather her tax money go towards a charity for the homeless rather than "to send an over-ambitious teenager overseas to chat with the UN". That term inspired me to think about doing a book or essay on such "teens" (or youths) - the ones who go conference-hopping, or travel on unorthodox study abroad programs, or hike for weeks in Tibet, or so on. Why do they want to do so? How did they support themselves? What challenges did they face?
To do this though, I need to do extensive research on the background issues so that I know my argument holds water. Which areas can I research to flesh out my arguments?
So far I'm considering:
* Currency values across the world (what can $1000 buy you in different places, for example)
* Why events/conferences/programs charge the amount that they do, and where the money goes to
* The percentage of Government budgeting towards different fields (education vs war vs medicare etc)
* Funding opportunities for young people in this position
* Attitudes towards overachievers - Tall Poppy Syndrome, Impostor Syndrome, etc
* The impact of such programs internationally (for example, the argument that short-term study-abroad/service programs only benefit the student, not the host)
My main argument is that side costs (such as travel) are usually the high and hard-to-fund costs, that Government funding for these efforts aren't very high, that there is very little private support for individuals, that not all countries have such opportunities in "their own turf", and that there are strong benefits to networking and doing service internationally. Would that work? What do I need to look up to make my argument stronger?
Has anyone else done work on this before? What else should I be looking at?