The Trouble with Travel

Travel and students


The Trouble with Travel
How much have war and epidemic blocked international scholarship?

International crises of this kind have a major impact on the ability of scholars to collaborate.
Kathryn Yount, Associate Professor of Public Health


At the moment, I have to postpone the goal of performing this project in Java.
Steven Everett, Associate Professor of Music


Before you go
Emory resources for faculty travel

Return to Contents

 

Concerns about travel have affected students’ international study in varying degrees. Strained political relations and visa delays between the U.S. and Iran, for instance, have made it difficult to establish an undergraduate program there. While there is a program in Iran for graduate students to study Persian, says Frank Lewis, professor of Middle Eastern and Asian Studies, “with no active exchange programs that undergraduates can apply to in the countries where Persian is spoken—Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan—it is hard for American students to attain the kind of proficiency in Persian that we would like to see.” Undergraduates continue to pursue international study more generally, however.

The director of the Center for International Programs Abroad, Philip Wainwright, notes that this year they will send abroad their second highest number of students. While pent-up demand and some additional travel grants may explain those numbers, “people—particularly parents—may be getting used to the idea that the world is a different place,” says Wainwright.

Factors beyond international unrest play into decisions about international study. While increasing numbers of undergraduates in the business school are spending a semester abroad, the trend among MBA students is the opposite, says Nancy Remington, executive director for international programs in the business school. In the late 1990s, many companies shifted their MBA recruitment schedule from winter to fall. “Still, Emory and other U.S. business schools need to help students find a way to engage with other cultures,” she says. “And part of really confronting another culture is the knowledge that you will be staying for months. If you know you can move on after a brief visit, you will not get engaged—or learn—in the same way. In business, this could mean leaving lots of opportunities on the table and also short-changing your own long-term options.”