Volume 96, Issue 97
Wednesday, April 2, 2003

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American students love Canada, hate pain

By Marshall Bellamy
Gazette Staff

According to American students, it's cool to be Canadian – especially when you're travelling abroad.

"When studying abroad, some students claim to be Canadian," said Stephen Burmeister-May, director of international education at the College of St. Benedict and St. John's University in Minnesota.

"If a student is going to avoid getting beat up by saying they're Canadian, then that isn't so wrong," Burmeister-May said, noting, despite some reports, the United States government has not been advising American students studying abroad to pass themselves off as Canadians. "We don't encourage students to wear University of Toronto sweatshirts."

"It's been something that the students have done in the past," Burmeister-May said, adding he has heard of instances in which students have passed themselves off as Canadians rather than face the threat of physical harm.

"We can't be held responsible for the decisions of the Bush-Rumsfeld oligarchy. The animosity is towards the Bush administration, not individuals," Burmeister-May added.

"I did hear of an American student getting beaten in Italy," he said, noting St. Benedict and St. John's overseas 160 students have not been harmed for anti-American reasons. However, there is a real threat for American international students in some countries, he added.

"[American international students] are always told they represent the U.S. and told to be on their best behaviour," said Georgette Gelormeini of the United States student program division at the Institute of International Education in New York City. The Institute supervises 1005 American students across the globe.

According to Gelormeini, American students abroad have been warned to keep away from political demonstrations in their area. Students have also been advised to keep in close contact with family and avoid sensitive issues where American politics could cause anger or hostility, she added.

Except for these advisories, students in foreign countries have not had any new rules, guidelines or information given to them by the IIE, Gelormeini explained. The bottom line is students just have to be aware of what is going on around them, she said.

"I have no problem admitting that I'm American. I have a dual citizenship – it's a convenient thing," said third-year English and women's studies student Meagan Daniel, adding her dual citizenship allows her to enjoy the best of both sides of the border.

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2002 THE GAZETTE