Saint Peter, MN — Semester and J-Term study abroad students returning to the US this week, with an expanded perspective on what it means to be a worldly citizen, were shocked to find out that their home country had adopted completely isolationist sociopolitical policies. Students were confused as to how the country they left just weeks or months prior had completely changed its governmental and moral attitudes towards those who do not live within its borders.
“I spent a lot of time with refugees displaced by past natural disasters in Japan,” said junior Grace Fredrickson. “I learned a lot about compassion, empathy and the importance of global outreach programs. Apparently I wasted my time, though, because none of that matters in the US anymore. Huh? I was just gone for three weeks.”
Students who spent thousands of dollars in order to study and appreciate other cultures were also slightly frustrated by the US government’s 180 degree turn on valuing outside perspectives. “You’re saying I spent two grand on a plane ticket and seven on food and housing, just so I could learn about a part of the world we don’t give a shit about anymore?” said senior Jessica Davis, who studied in Israel and traveled throughout the Middle East.
Additionally, some students were stopped by Border Patrol agents after returning from programs in sunny locations due to the color of their skin. This was likely due to the horrifying ban on immigration from several Muslim Countries over the weekend. “Yeah, some fat Border Patrol guy made me hang out with him for hours because I looked “suspicious” or something. I kept telling him my name was Taylor Anderson and that I was just tan from spending time in South America. It took forever to get through to him. Things are really fucked up,” said junior Taylor Anderson, who went to Colombia for the J-Term and the fall semester.
In the face of such uncertainty, many study abroad students are torn between being blindly loyal to their home country, or the country they spent time growing intellectually and learning about the importance of understanding others. “Um, no we’re not. We’re pretty damn mad about what our country is doing right now,” said Anderson, who was vocally supported by her study abroad peers.
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