Author:Vered Amit (Concordia University)
Paper short abstract:
Official representations of student travel often stress its lasting transformations even when participants themselves regard it as a temporary interlude. I will attempt to probe the ambivalent interplay between continuity and change in the policies, programmes and experiences of student travel.
Paper long abstract:
Both scholarly and popular constructions of travel have often featured an oscillation between on the one hand, an emphasis on the transformative potentials of journeying far from home even for short periods of time and on the other, an assertion of the limitations and superficiality especially of many touristic encounters. A similar ambivalence characterizes the framing of contemporary forms of student travel. Within many 'western' countries, a pervasive institutional discourse of internationalization and globalization increasingly represents even very short stays of university or work exchanges as transformative not only of the travelers themselves but ultimately of the nation-state to which they return. At the same time, students themselves are often more likely to view these journeys as temporary interludes, a form of leisure travel intended to offer temporary relief from everyday routines rather than to transform them. Notwithstanding the gaps between institutional and personal expectations/representations of student travel, the interaction between them appears to be effecting some important changes in contemporary circuits of travel. International co-ops, internships or working holidaymaker visas are blurring the boundaries between work, study and play even as they form new transnational classes of guest workers and tourist consumers. In this paper, I will attempt to probe the ambivalent and frequently ironic interplay between continuity and change in the policies, programs and experiences attending student travel.
Problems of continuity and change