Foreign Students Attend US Naval Academy

    30 April, 2014


    From VOA Learning English, this is the Education Report.

    The United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland prepares young men and women to become officers in the navy or Marine Corps. The school was established in 1845 on a land where a military fort once stood. Students are called midshipmen.

    The Naval Academy provides undergraduates four years of study in 25 major areas. Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics are especially popular.

    Many Naval Academy graduates have become important American Leaders. Former President Jimmy Carter, for example, was a midshipman. Senator John McCain, a former presidential candidate also graduated from the school.

    Foreign Students Attend US Naval Academy
    FILE - US Naval Academy

    Foreign students also attend the Naval Academy. Currently, there are about 60 of them. David Ochy is from Panama. He notes some difficulties with life in a new country.

    "Leaving the comfort zone of your country, to come here to a culture and language completely different from your own and adapt, has been a challenge," said Ochy.

    Student Santiago Gonzalez-Ayer of Spain says the academy has helped him feel more a part of a new culture.

    "It opens a cultural horizon so that one understands American culture better, and is more involved in the culture," said Gonzalez-Ayer.

    The Naval Academy says its job is to develop a student skills, character and understanding of others. International program director Tim Disher says, the U.S. Navy gains from the academy's acceptance of foreign students. He says this is especially true in a world increasingly connected through technology.

    Tim Disher graduated from the Naval Academy in 1981. He says, at that time, only top officers worked with foreign officers and foreign navies. But he says, this is no longer true.

    "We're a smaller navy and our students, even as midshipmen, have the ability to make an impact with our foreign partners. We are creating young ambassadors ...right off the bat, right after they get commissioned."

    He says, the exchange program also helps American midshipmen understand the wide world.

    Paul Angelo graduated from the academy in 2006. He praises the foreign exchange program.
    "It's important that our allies know exactly how we function or operate as a military," said Angelo.

    Midshipman Gonzalez Ayer plans to return to Spain and serve as a naval officer after finishing at the Naval Academy. David Ochy wants to work as an ocean engineer when he goes home to Panama.

    And that's the VOA Learning English Education Report. Visit our website at to test your English Language skills with our quizzes. You can also comment on our programs there, or send us an email to And remember to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. I'm Bob Doughty.