International Week is fully underway on the UC Patio. The driving force of this year’s theme, “Worlds Imagined,” is the idea of unhindered travel. A backdrop resembling the interior of an airplane stands on the stage, and the event promotes itself using the hashtag #visafree.
The event’s theme is an interesting contrast to current policy changes in both the United States and Europe toward securing borders and limiting free travel. In his first few weeks in office, President Trump attempted to administer a startling order suspending travel from several countries, leaving many people who live and study in America legally in limbo.
Tourism from countries even outside of the Middle East to the United States has decreased, according to the U.S. Travel Association, and green card holders are more cautious about traveling out of the country now because of the volatile nature of travel policies.
With the slogan “A world where we stand united doesn’t have to be imaginary,” I-Week’s theme acknowledges the political elephant in the room. The assertion that globalism is a goal, rather than a threat, jabs back at unique obstacles international students, who frequently fly back and forth between their homes at UM and elsewhere, face currently.
In this way, I-Week is not only a celebration of cultures but also a gentle reminder of the privileges and conveniences many students with an American passport take for granted. The cross-cultural world is still one that is not reality. Between the current administration’s policy and fractures in the EU, the borderless, #visafree world seems further away than ever.
While every UM student stresses about grades, social lives and future jobs, there are students among us stressing about their potential place in the world – literally. Beyond the glittering costumes and plates of tasty food, I-Week is an important reminder of the realities that exist beyond American borders for so many of our peers.
Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.