The Baggage They Carry: Study Abroad and the Construction of “Europe” in the American Mind


  • Michael Woolf



Europe, United States, Study abroad, Education abroad, Engagement


The object of this discussion is to explore some of the ways in which Europe has been created and recreated in the American mind and to relate those constructs to the limitations, opportunities and dynamics that may be explored in education abroad. Those constructs represent in part the baggage that students bring with them. In what follows, the structure will recreate the experience of students coming to Europe. The essay explores the baggage they carry; engagement with the European environment and, finally, the process of return. In that structure, which mirrors the experience of the study abroad student, a partial but suggestive set of perspectives emerge that go further than defending the traditional and, instead, present a cogent set of rich realities that collectively create the case for Europe.


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Author Biography

Michael Woolf

Michael Woolf is Deputy President for Strategic Development at CAPA International Education. A recognized leader in innovative program development and curriculum, he has held leadership roles in many international education organizations, among them FIE, CIEE and Syracuse University. He has written widely on international education and cultural studies. 


See endnotes section for references.




How to Cite

Woolf, M. (2011). The Baggage They Carry: Study Abroad and the Construction of “Europe” in the American Mind
. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 21(1), 289–309.



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