Study Abroad Anecdote

Since the discussion of Study Abroad programs has proven to be so popular, here is a story a student shared today after returning from a trip to Central America.

“There is so much sexism! I never imagined anything of the kind! The professor told us that we should never express any opinions or any criticisms when men were around and that we should never interrupt men when they are speaking. Even when what they say is total BS! So once we went on a field trip and the driver had no idea where he was driving. I tried to tell him he had taken the wrong turn  but the professor told me to be quiet. She just sat there while he drove around aimlessly, completely lost, for four hours! And do you know what the worst part is?”

“What?” I asked.

“She is a COLLEGE PROFESSOR [said with profound veneration]! And he is just a driver [said with profound contempt]! A PROFESSOR. Afraid to tell a bus driver what to do because he is a man!”


12 thoughts on “Study Abroad Anecdote”

  1. Unfortunately that student showed the same kind of contempt as the sexism that she experienced. Why is a bus driver inferior to a college professor? I know many college professors who do not know their ways to the bathroom. And many bus drivers who surely do!

    I hope that you dressed this student down for her elitist attitude!


    1. This was exactly the point I was trying to make in the post. Many people are very willing to see unfair treatment when it is directed at themselves but feel no qualms when doing the same thing to others.


  2. To be sure, do you agree that the professor was wrong not to tell anything to the driver? Or with the idea “never express any opinions or any criticisms when men were around “?


  3. A lot of women here would and do say that and act that way. Student could come here on exchange.

    It’s the professor who needs help, though, is this a US professor? The problem here doesn’t seem to be the horrors of C.A. itself.


    1. No, this was a local teacher.

      This is one of those students whose Spanish was very good before Study Abroad but got worse while she was there because she was so terrified of the local people that she never tried to talk with any. Another student, however, whose Spanish was originally extremely weak, improved dramatically, miraculously even, because she made tons of local friends and spent all her time with them.

      Many people are incapable of benefiting linguistically from Study Abroad no matter what you do.


      1. I wouldn’t blame the students — it sounds like there is poor advising and that that isn’t a very good program.

        I would consider ditching the program and also the country if you can’t find a better convenio there. Or, if you don’t think it’s the program’s fault (that professor is incompetent, though) make sure people who go there have certain strengths, like your extroverted example above.

        I am not saying it is never the student’s fault — I had someone recently leave SANTANDER after 3 days, allegedly because of fear of TOBACCO USERS.

        Just in general though, it sounds as though your U has poor orientation/advising and not the best programs; that is like us. Actually I am just looking at your study abroad page — for Lat Am you seem to be using a lot of CEA and LanguageLink. I could be wrong but I would be very careful of those outfits; AIFS is better.

        Carbondale is member of ISEP which is responsible/serious; if you could get some students to go through them or even UIUC they might have better experiences. In the meantime the only thing to do is be as familiar as possible with ins and outs of the programs you have and try to place people as well as possible.


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