“A Thirst For Knowledge”

I keep forgetting to post about this great conversation I had at lunch last week. I was eating with fellow students in my program: D., T., H., S., and I were all sitting at a table. H. said his friend G. from undergrad wanted to meet us briefly, so G. came over and we talked for a bit. G. is from England and lived there until a couple months ago, when he moved to the US to continue advanced graduate work at the university I’m attending.

After G. had to go, S., who is from Nigeria, remarked that G. made the right decision to come to the United States because there are "more opportunities here" (that’s a direct quote of what she said). When D. and H., both Americans, asked her to elaborate, she launched into an explanation praising our higher education system. Our universities have more money and therefor more resources, she said (G. studies a scientific subject that requires specialized equipment). "Plus, Americans have this incredible thirst for knowledge that is unmatched anywhere else in the world," she continued.

I thought that was such an interesting statement. I like it a lot – partly because I believe it is true. We do an incredible amount of academic research in this country. We have the money (and therefore resources) to do so – but I also think there is something in the American ethos that pervades our research and makes us have this "thirst for knowledge," as my friend S. says.

Anyone out there with experience in American academia and non-American academia have any thoughts on this?