Tag: Study Abroad

Tales of a Travel Chaperone

Funny story concept well executed by the man doing the chaperoning of fifth graders to Spain: Dave Barry. 

Our group consisted of four dads, 18 moms and approximately 27,000 children. There was no way to get an exact count: They move too fast.

Our group assembled at Miami International Airport (motto: “Our Motto Has Been Delayed”). All of us wore identical ill-fitting T-shirts with our group name printed on them. That’s how you let everybody know that you’re a group of sophisticated world travelers.

The Washington Post Magazine covered similar ground this weekend. John Kelly joined a group of junior high students touring Washington D.C.

I began to recognize the symptoms of Stockholm syndrome about four hours into my day touring Washington with the eighth-graders of Centreville, Mich. I was starting to identify with my captors.

‘I Studied Abroad in Africa!’: Fair or Unfair?

Students who have ventured to Africa are getting called out on the Tumblr I Studied Abroad in Africa! for “wearing your ‘traditional’ African clothes, eating ‘weird’ foods and taking as many photos of black children as possible.” Fair or unfair? (Via urlesque)

The Onion Reports: More Colleges Offering Dick-Around Abroad Programs

This just in from America’s finest news source: A growing number of colleges are now offering their students “the chance to spend every night partying in pretty much the same way they would have at home.” Lehigh University senior Christie Oden says she’s “dicked around in France and Australia.” She continues:

“I tell everyone I know: Definitely dick around abroad if you get the chance. It’s the best thing I did in college.”

For students like Oden, who are seeking opportunities to waste enormous amounts of time in a specific field, some schools offer specialized programs for dicking around abroad. Engineering majors at MIT, for example, can spend a semester in a drunken haze at the school’s Munich location, while juniors studying art history at Northwestern University may sign up for a year of yanking their puds in the museums of Paris.

(Via Adam Karlin)

Studying Abroad in the Arabic-Speaking World on the Rise

The numbers are still small-ish, but they’re growing fast. From the New York Times:

Between 2006 and 2007 the number of American students studying in Arab countries rose nearly 60 percent while China had only a 19 percent increase and England, 1.9 percent.

Many of the students are looking to gain a better understanding of the Arab world, and they’re also finding their experiences and Arabic-language skills are making them hot prospects for jobs.

Students in these programs are also writing some great travel stories.

An Unexpected Trip

Katherine Lonsdorf went to Jordan to broaden her views. An assault by a cab driver changed her perspective forever.

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Why Aren’t Students Reading Travel Books?

Students at all grade levels read a lot more fiction than nonfiction—think Mark Twain and J.K. Rowling. As Tom Kuntz points out in the New York Times, a recent survey found that of the top 20 books being read these days by high school students, only two are nonfiction.

Many observers are rightfully questioning why students aren’t reading more nonfiction.

Writes Jay Mathews in the Washington Post:

Educators say non-fiction is more difficult than fiction for students to comprehend. It requires more factual knowledge, beyond fiction’s simple truths of love, hate, passion and remorse. So we have a pathetic cycle. Students don’t know enough about the real world because they don’t read non-fiction and they can’t read non-fiction because they don’t know enough about the real world.

It’s a conundrum. But it seems to me great nonfiction travel narratives would be a perfect solution—or at least a start.

Travel writers often approach their subjects with what’s known in Zen as beginner’s mind. They write about places from the perspective of an outsider. They’re students of the world. Ideally, they take readers on a journey—a real adventure—that is fun and entertaining and, yes, educational.

I’m thinking of writers like Paul Theroux (“Dark Star Safari” or “The Old Patagonian Express”), Tim Cahill (“Road Fever”) and Bill Bryson (“A Walk in the Woods”), just to name a few.

Any other suggestions? What about a bestselling book like “Eat, Pray, Love”?

Machine Guns in the Afternoon

Machine Guns in the Afternoon Photo by Stephanie Carrie

Stephanie Carrie went to Russia to walk the streets that Gogol walked. She didn't plan on practicing her language skills at gunpoint.

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The Morning After: Breakfast at Balmer’s

The Morning After: Breakfast at Balmer’s Photo by Terry Ward

Terry Ward explores a travel rite of passage in Interlaken, Switzerland

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Plato Was a Backpacker

shadows, beach, plato Photo by Kent Wang, via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Frank Bures looks a long way back to fellow traveler Plato and the seeds of wisdom

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Unlocking Beirut

When Catherine Watson left Lebanon's capital city in the 1960s, she carried home the key to her former apartment. Forty years later, she returned with her prized souvenir and found it could still open doors.

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Number of U.S. Students Studying Abroad Triples

About 175,000 students earned college credit abroad in the 2003-2004 school year, triple the number from 20 years before, according to a story in today’s Washington Post. The Post emphasizes the local angle. Study abroad programs are particularly popular in the Washington D.C. area “where so many students come to study international affairs,” and one local college, as we mentioned here previously, requires study abroad in order to graduate. But writer Susan Kinzie points out that it’s not only a local phenomenon.

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The Places We Find Ourselves

Her official title was faculty sponsor. But in the confusion of post-Katrina New Orleans, Kristin Van Tassel realized the slippery nature of the roles we all play.

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Ciao, Bella

The rains came to Siena, and Sarah Schmelling fell ill. But Signora Franci stayed at her side, bringing velvet slippers, tea, and lessons in basic human kindness.

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