EDITORIAL: Students abroad can help skewed view of America

By defaultuser
April 3, 2003

For students venturing to study abroad, security should be the principal concern. To help ensure students’ safety, each institution accepting Cabrini students has developed enhanced security measures.

At the American University of Rome, for example, students are given an emergency university cell phone number that can be used after hours. To keep outsiders out, students can only enter the buildings with new identification cards, which were issued on March 17, the date of the final ultimatum from President Bush to Saddam Hussein. The campus is also under 24-hour video surveillance.

With America and allies fighting a war viewed by much of the global community as unjust, it is important that students understand the difference between being a student in America and being a student overseas. Most people around the world view Americans positively just as we Americans view students at Cabrini from other countries positively. Most people can separate their opinions of what a government is doing from what individual students studying abroad do. But we have to realize that many people in other countries don’t agree with the war and so we should not be surprised to find anti-war protests and even anti-American-government protest there.

As students in America, we do not realize how the recent decisions of our government affect the world’s view of Americans. Part of the reason for our skewed vision rests on the shoulders of the American media. We do not see what the rest of the world sees. the media in every country, America included, presents the news from that country’s point of view. We in America don’t always realize that the news we see is not necessarily the news that people in other parts of the world see and vice versa. This confusion leads us to believe that the rest of the world is seeing similar coverage. But the world is seeing the other side, the side that sometimes portrays America and its people as ignorant bullies.

When students study abroad, they are leaving behind the freedom of America. On American soil, we become comfortable using associations, like anti-war or pro-America, as safety nets. But in other countries, Americans are not viewed as pro- or anti- anything, or even as Democrats or Republicans. Americans are seen one-dimensionally as Americans, which means that the decisions of the American government are decisions in our names.

Since much of the global community feels that Americans are ignorant, security abroad is necessary. The measures taken by the schools in Cabrini’s study abroad program will help keep students safe, freeing their minds to absorb the customs of different cultures. This is a great time to study abroad because we will truly get new views of the world.

Our generation is expected to be on the brink of the next Greatest Generation. For that to stand true, students studying abroad must bring home the reasons for the slanted worldview of America. Only then will American students be able to take freedom abroad.

Posted to the Web by Angelina Wagner

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