Transition Abroad Magazine May/June 2003
Back Door Travel
The Working Traveler
Program New & Notes
From the Editor
When the Syrian-born newsdealer on my corner handed me the NewYork Times on the morning of March 17 he pointed to the main headline and said, in a questioning tone, "This is the last day?"
George W. Bush had declared that March 17 would be "the last day we determine whether or not diplomacy can work." As we prepare to go to press, one week into the war, the words "last day" haunt me. The scenes of carnage on TV are indeed apocalyptic.
On the previous night, March 16, people in 130 countries came together in candlelight vigils to protest the coming war. In Brooklyn, where we stood,many of the demonstrators were recent arrivals from Middle East countries. They said they were shocked at the misinformation in the popular media and at how badly informed Americans were about the region their government was about to invade.
At least 100 million Americans opposed the invasion. While the protests here may decline because of a desire to support the troops, most of the rest of the world remains strongly opposed. Outrage against America is growing. "The U.S. may be about to win Iraq," writes Jonathan Schell in the April 7 Nation. "It has already lost the world."
One antidote to America's image abroad—of an arrogant, self-righteous country with a foreign policy based on world dominance and moral superiority—is face-to-face interaction between ordinary Americans and people of other cultures. In all the 27 years of this magazine, devoted to international experiences that promote cultural understanding, cooperation, and, most importantly, peace, there has never been a more important and a more rewarding time to plan a meaningful trip abroad. Travel now. Be an ambassador of goodwill. See and be seen. Help restore America's image in the world.
On our website, www.TransitionsAbroad.com, you can find detailed how-to information on ways to be in meaningful contact with your hosts, from hospitality exchanges to international volunteer projects and continuing education courses. Or you can order the most comprehensive book on the subject, the Alternative Travel Directory: The Complete Guide to Traveling, Studying and Living Overseas. The ATD's companion volume, Work Abroad, features information on volunteering. The next issue of the magazine, the annual Overseas Travel Planner, will update the best resources on immersion travel. We invite all our readers to write. Share with others your own most rewarding transition abroad.