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Internationalizing the Curriculum: Study Abroad as a Tool for Redefining and Reconstructing National Identity in a Global Context
Unformatted Document Text:  France & Rogers 15 excitement for them. Brian explained, “It was weird to hear all this hype that people go to jail for going to Cuba…or it takes like ten years to get the visa.” Not until their return, did these students examine why they were not able to travel to Cuba as U.S. citizens. For Brian it was not necessarily safety, but freedom of movement and privacy, that he was worried about. He thought that as an American he would be constantly watched and restricted in his actions; to him, Cuba would be a police state, and he would be under constant surveillance. He explained, “That’s something as an American you take for granted…that at some moment you can be somewhere and not have someone watching what you’re doing.” And if something were to go wrong, he feared that there would be no chance for U.S. intervention because the U.S.-Cuba oppositional context; “it’s when you all of a sudden feel out of your comfort zone…that’s when you realize, in essence, how blessed you are to be an American.” But during their time abroad, the students realized that it was not them—but the Cubans with whom they were—who were subject to harassment by police officers. As Americans, or at least foreigners, while they were most likely the source of the officers’ interest, they were never the subject of their interrogation. Brian was even faced with “Commie jokes” from coworkers. There was a belief that by his simply living within the bounds of a communist country for an extended period of time that he would automatically adopt an alternative worldview. Travel to Cuba, given this oppositional context, was practically viewed as an anti-patriotic act. Such reactions imply that as an American citizen traveling to Cuba, as a student, would embrace the Cuban state ideology. Encountering a Developing Country CIRCULATION OF THIS PAPER IS NOT PERMITTED WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF THE AUTHORS.

Authors: France, Hollis. and Rogers, Kaylee.
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France & Rogers 15
excitement for them. Brian explained, “It was weird to hear all this hype that people go to jail
for going to Cuba…or it takes like ten years to get the visa.” Not until their return, did these
students examine why they were not able to travel to Cuba as U.S. citizens.
For Brian it was not necessarily safety, but freedom of movement and privacy, that he
was worried about. He thought that as an American he would be constantly watched and
restricted in his actions; to him, Cuba would be a police state, and he would be under constant
surveillance. He explained, “That’s something as an American you take for granted…that at
some moment you can be somewhere and not have someone watching what you’re doing.” And
if something were to go wrong, he feared that there would be no chance for U.S. intervention
because the U.S.-Cuba oppositional context; “it’s when you all of a sudden feel out of your
comfort zone…that’s when you realize, in essence, how blessed you are to be an American.”
But during their time abroad, the students realized that it was not them—but the Cubans with
whom they were—who were subject to harassment by police officers. As Americans, or at least
foreigners, while they were most likely the source of the officers’ interest, they were never the
subject of their interrogation.
Brian was even faced with “Commie jokes” from coworkers. There was a belief that by
his simply living within the bounds of a communist country for an extended period of time that
he would automatically adopt an alternative worldview. Travel to Cuba, given this oppositional
context, was practically viewed as an anti-patriotic act. Such reactions imply that as an
American citizen traveling to Cuba, as a student, would embrace the Cuban state ideology.
Encountering a Developing Country
CIRCULATION OF THIS PAPER IS NOT PERMITTED WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF THE AUTHORS.


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