November 29, 2021
John Bodinger de Uriarte, professor of anthropology and chair of the Department of Sociology & Anthropology at Susquehanna University, has published Study Abroad and the Quest for an Anti-Tourism Experience, a collection of case studies from anthropologists and cultural theorists that examines the culture and cultural implications of student travel.
Drawing on experiences from the Arctic to Africa, Asia to the Americas, contributing authors focus on the challenges and ethical implications of student engagement, service and volunteering, immersion, research in the field, local community engagement and crafting a new generation of active, engaged global citizens.
“One question the book addresses is: What is the difference between study-abroad experiences and tourism?” Bodinger de Uriarte explained. “All the contributors have been involved in designing and delivering study-abroad programs. We all believe in their value, but we also have questions about what students feel like they are getting from their experiences, and how institutions of higher education are folding the study-abroad experience into their package of ‘deliverables.’”
Susquehanna was among the first in the nation to require every student to have a meaningful cross-cultural experience, followed by scholarly reflection. As it has since its inception in 2009, study-away remains a graduation requirement at Susquehanna pinned to a pair of bookended, credit-bearing courses—one that prepares students for their cross-cultural experiences and a reflection course tailored to the program’s academic and personal development goals.
Like all of the contributing writers in Study Abroad and the Quest for an Anti-Tourism Experience, Bodinger de Uriarte is a study-away program director, and has led experiences in Iceland, Morocco and the Galapagos Islands. He also teaches the Global Citizenship preparatory and reflection courses for semester-long study-abroad students.
“The book also examines the terms ‘global citizenship’ and ‘cultural competence.’ What actually is ‘the comfort zone’ and how is it breached (and to what benefit)?” Bodinger de Uriarte said. “These terms are ubiquitous in study-abroad literature and they benefit from some careful unpacking. We fold some of this into our GO prep and reflective courses at Susquehanna, as well as the ‘in-country’ components of our programs.”
Bodinger de Uriarte co-edited the book with Michael A. Di Giovine, associate professor of anthropology at West Chester University. It is published by Rowman & Littlefield and is available in Susquehanna’s Blough-Weis Library.