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Transitions Abroad Magazine March/April 2004 Vol. XXXVII, NO. 5

Cover photo by Fabrizio Fiorenzano: Click to visit his site!

Information Exchange

Traveler’s Almanac

Independent Traveler
Interview with Rolf Potts Dr. Clay A. Hubbs
Walking with Gorillas Thor Hanson
Visiting Hiroshima Jeanette Hurt
Preserving Ladakh Jonice Owen
How to Find Freedom and Friendship Kerry O'Brien
Malta Off Season Barbara Bode
Tips for Staying Healthy Janet Boehme
Standby Travel Jeff Schoenhard
Tenejapa Homecoming Jim Kane
Homestay Programs Tim Leffel
Offbeat Sleeps Guylaine Spencer
Paris Stays Mark J. Schechinger
Walk in Britain Kathy Widing
Europe's Hidden Places Daniel Gabriel
Skiing the Pyrenees Scott Shefloe
Freewheeling in Europe Charlotte Abney
Affording Italy Drew Colenbrander and Sarah Wiley
Cheap Stays in Italy Patricia Gilbert
Farm Travel John Tennant

Back Door Travel
Italy 101 Rick Steves

Living Abroad
Expatriate Life Roberta Beach Jacobson
Relocating to Geneva Michele Ann Jenkins

Directory of Programs

Working Traveler
Work on Organic Farms Caroline Nye
Making the Scene Jacob Bear
The Girl Guides of Picton Kris Baker

International Careers
Working Abroad as a Nurse Caroline A. Polt

Participant Stories
Student Contest Winner: Beyond the Comfort Zone Kate Gustafson
Livin' it up in London Maureen O'Hara
Confronting Prejudice Abroad Greg Lestikow
Volunteer Workcamps Angelica Leone
Lions Clubs and Exchanges Brad Crosson
Solo Backpacking Through Europe Sarah Protzman
Livin' La Vida Espana Amy Frey

Education Abroad
The Benefits of Study Abroad Mary M. Dwyer and Courtney K. Peters
Winning a Grant to Work Overseas Preethi Burkholder

Program News & Notes


Transitions Abroad
The Lady Said "Stay Away": I Went to Myanmar Anyway Robert Powell Sangster

From the Editor

With international education and educational travel at its core, Transitions Abroad has always had a central interest in study abroad because of its impact on the young. Our magazine is found on many newsstands, but it also has an essential place in the majority of university study abroad offices nationwide. As the Institute for International Education (IIE) President Allan E. Goodman recently said: “Having our successor generation learn more about countries and societies — while serving as cultural ambassadors to their peers — enables young Americans to contribute directly to creating a more peaceful world.”

Every year the IIE publishes Open Doors, an annual report on international educational exchange ( This year’s report shows a 4.4 percent increase in U.S. university-level students receiving credit for study abroad in the 2001-2002 academic year, bringing the total to 160,920. Although this increase is not as impressive as the double-digit growth years of the late 1990s, it is nevertheless heartening given the weak economy and global instability.

Most study abroad alumni value their overseas experience and welcome any opportunity to recall the long-term benefits. Not until this year, though, has there been substantiation of the common assumption that study abroad makes a positive and indelible impact on a person’s life. For the first time, the Institute for the International Education of Students (IES) surveyed alumni from all of its study abroad programs from 1950 to 1999. In their article discussing the results of this survey, Mary M. Dwyer and Courtney K. Peters write, “Regardless of where students studied and for how long…the data from more than 3,400 respondents…shows that studying abroad is usually a defining moment in a young person’s life.” The difference it makes in a student’s worldview, relationships, personal growth, academic commitment, and career development is positive and profound. The IES survey confirms what most of us have long known: study abroad is much more than “a fun, once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

While the U.K. is still the leading study abroad destination, the number of students going to less traditional destinations like South Africa and Brazil continues to grow, according to Open Doors. The changes in destinations are not the only ones occurring in study abroad. Increasingly, according to the IES survey and in accord with national statistics, students are studying abroad for shorter durations. While more time must pass before we understand the full impact of this change from full-year to semester or even 6- and 4-week programs, the results of the IES survey do suggest that these programs are still “enormously successful.”

Regardless of how long you can spend in another country, findings from the IES survey point toward the effectiveness of travel where you really connect with locals. This is the type of travel Transitions Abroad has long promoted — for all ages — and it is perhaps best summed up with the words of our new Community-Based Travel columnist, Jim Kane: “Go deeper, not farther; participate, don’t just observe; find a need and help fill it.”

Sherry Schwarz

Publisher and Editor
Sherry Schwarz
Founding Editor and Publisher
Dr. Clay A. Hubbs
Web Content Editor
Gregory Hubbs

Contributing Editors
Susan Griffith (Work)
Cynthia Harriman (Family Travel)
Zahara Heckscher (Volunteering)
Ron Mader (Latin America)
Jim Kane (Community-Based Travel)
Deborah McLaren (Ecotourism)
William Nolting (International Education and Work)
Volker Poelzl (Living)
Kent St. John (Independent Travel)
Rick Steves (Budget Travel)
Tracy Scharn and Pamela Houston (Disability Travel)
Christine Victorino (Volunteering)
Kathy Widing (Travel Books)
Arnie Wills (Senior Travel)

Editorial Assistant
Mary Catherine Maxwell

Advertising Manager
Kate McGrail

Office Manager
Ann Jareckie

UNESCO Award Winner Fabrizio Fiorenzano (
Sicilians dressed in traditional clothing dance in the streets of Raddusa, Italy during the annual September wheat festival.

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