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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 22 prosperity for the rest of the world. However, through their classes and conversations with Cubans, they began to unravel the faults of a system in which for the U.S. to be “developed,” other countries must remain “underdeveloped.” In an attempt to reconcile the U.S. and Cuban perspectives, paying special attention to their newly acquired knowledge of Cuban history and politics, they came to realize the importance of a more critical examination of the actions of the state—especially juxtaposed with the rhetoric of American freedom and prosperity. They were able to dissemble the idea of American-ness promoted by the state and realize how such a construction also relies on how the rest of the world sees the U.S. Lisa recognized the disconnect that lies between this dominant narrative and reality; “our foreign policy’s basic intention is to keep Latin America as a third world country so we can take advantage of that….While our policies seem like ‘we want you to catch up, so do this, this, and this.’” But in reality, she says, policies like this only destabilize countries and cause them to be even more dependent on U.S. economic hegemony. Sue Ann added that she didn’t feel that within the bounds of the U.S. that people are very critical of their government, even though their right for free speech is emphasized. Since her experience abroad, she’s been able to separate such rhetoric from reality and has realized there are some parts of U.S. policy that she doesn't necessarily agree with. While in Cuba, the students were often introduced not just as North Americans, or students, but as political science majors. Brian explained that it was almost as if they believed that they as U.S. citizens possessed more power within their own governmental structure than they really did. It was almost as if the Cubans thought students could “place a call and have that policy changed” if they expressed dislike for it. There was a “misconception about the power the average citizen has. While Cubans saw democracy as a form of government in which 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 22
prosperity for the rest of the world. However, through their classes and conversations with
Cubans, they began to unravel the faults of a system in which for the U.S. to be “developed,”
other countries must remain “underdeveloped.” In an attempt to reconcile the U.S. and Cuban
perspectives, paying special attention to their newly acquired knowledge of Cuban history and
politics, they came to realize the importance of a more critical examination of the actions of the
state—especially juxtaposed with the rhetoric of American freedom and prosperity. They were
able to dissemble the idea of American-ness promoted by the state and realize how such a
construction also relies on how the rest of the world sees the U.S. Lisa recognized the
disconnect that lies between this dominant narrative and reality; “our foreign policy’s basic
intention is to keep Latin America as a third world country so we can take advantage of
that….While our policies seem like ‘we want you to catch up, so do this, this, and this.’” But in
reality, she says, policies like this only destabilize countries and cause them to be even more
dependent on U.S. economic hegemony. Sue Ann added that she didn’t feel that within the
bounds of the U.S. that people are very critical of their government, even though their right for
free speech is emphasized. Since her experience abroad, she’s been able to separate such
rhetoric from reality and has realized there are some parts of U.S. policy that she doesn't
necessarily agree with.
While in Cuba, the students were often introduced not just as North Americans, or
students, but as political science majors. Brian explained that it was almost as if they believed
that they as U.S. citizens possessed more power within their own governmental structure than
they really did. It was almost as if the Cubans thought students could “place a call and have that
policy changed” if they expressed dislike for it. There was a “misconception about the power the
average citizen has. While Cubans saw democracy as a form of government in which
CIRCULATION OF THIS PAPER IS NOT PERMITTED WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF THE AUTHORS.


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