Transportation for study abroad students was limited.
The first part of our exciting journey through time, History of Study Abroad: Part 1, concluded with the creation of Indiana University's first programs that echoed what we recognize as study abroad today. This was at the turn of the century, and while the first thousand or so years of "study abroad history" were not terribly turbulent or exciting, the 20th century took it personally upon itself to make up for lost time.
With the First World War coming to an end, American colleges, religious groups, and peace-promoting organizations started to explore creative ways to inspire their students to learn more about the world outside of US borders. By creating a greater understanding between nations through international exchange, they reasoned, countries could achieve a lasting peace and a strong basis for fostering more effective communication. In 1919, the Institute of International Education (IIE) was established by Nobel Peace Prize winners Nicholas Murray Butler and Stephen Duggen, and in 1923, America's first officially credited study abroad program was launched at the University of Delaware.
"Prof. Raymond W. Kirkbride, an instructor in the Modern Languages Department and a WWI veteran, had seen firsthand what disagreements between nations could do; he had seen smoldering ruins and burned-out buildings across the French countryside. But he had also met, and greatly enjoyed, the French, and understood the potential that travel and study had for promoting cross-cultural understanding. And now, in 1921, he was home...pitching his idea to send students to France for their junior year."
-- University of Delaware
The summer of 1923, eight students embarked on a six-week journey to France. The program then progressed into a full-fledged program that came to be known as Junior Year Abroad (JYA), serving as the model after which other universities developed their own international programming. The 1920s saw a huge influx in universities offering academic credit for international group travel. However, at this time, most of the programs focused on exchanges in European countries and were often short-term summer study programs.
Franklin D. Roosevelt (and his dog): International Advocates.
IIE flourished in the first half of the 20th century, in which they achieved many milestones in the field of international education. Not only did the IIE encourage American students to hightail it abroad; they were also actively involved in US policies that opened doors for foreign students to come study in America. IIE President Stephen Duggan even convinced the US government to offer a new form of nonimmigrant visas for international students, which passed with the Immigration Act of 1921. Another notable achievement achieved by the IIE was the first reciprocal exchange student program initiated between the US and Czechoslovakia in 1922. The 1930s saw a rapid increase in the diversity of programs offered outside of Europe, with the first Russian study abroad program offered to American students in 1934, the first Asian study abroad program in China in 1936, and the first South American study abroad program in Argentina in 1939. IIE's huge contributions to the field of international education set the groundwork for the modern study abroad programs that we all enjoy today!
The Second World War caused for a brief suspension in efforts to study internationally. In the aftermath, though, there grew a renewed commitment to the necessity of study abroad and the organic development of international understanding and trust between nations. In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt challenged all Americans to learn more about the world:
A nation, like a person, has a mind - a mind that must be kept informed and alert, that must know itself, that understands the hopes and needs of its neighbors - all the other nations that live within the narrowing circle of the world.
The modern-day 'Semester at Sea' is very different.
President Roosevelt understood that the expansion of student and teacher travel would be an effective tool to achieve this goal, and the strong political support for the US government only helped him to promote such travels. One monumental effort to facilitate such development was the US government's establishment of the Fulbright Program in 1946, which sought to "humanize international relations" by turning "nations into people," thus creating better communication and trust. To date, more than 200,000 students have participated in this program across over 150 countries worldwide.
Throughout the 1940s, there were limited means for international students to travel abroad, as there was a shortage of ships crossing the Atlantic outside of post-war means. However, many education-focused organizations saw the opportunity to use troop transport vessels to send US students on exchange programs to Europe. They took it upon themselves to negotiate directly with the US Department of State, and through joint efforts, these special provisions were created. In 1947, the United States Lines took full responsibility for the allowance of such travel, giving "Semester at Sea" a whole new meaning!"
Americans and foreigners alike have begun to slowly see the need for increased communication and understanding in the aftermath of many years of wreckage and war. Where will these relationships take them next? Stay tuned for the next installment of the "History of Study Abroad!"
Photos courtesy of otisarchives2, The Port of San Diego, and onecle.