Anti-Corruption (反腐 or “fan fu”) in China

Dear Friends, Academic Travel Abroad has a long history in China. We have run educational travel programs there since 1980. CET Academic Programs, our study abroad division, has served American students on immersive language and cultural programs in China since 1982. We have witnessed the trial of the Gang of Four and the suicide of … Continue reading

Cuba: What Does it Say About our Country?

Dear Friends, I find Cuba endlessly fascinating. When you travel to Cuba, you always end up leaving with more questions than answers. Yet, beyond the cultural richness of this island nation, there is another way in which Cuba gives this U.S. citizen pause. Cuba provides an intriguing lens through which to view our own nation. … Continue reading

In Search of the Perfect Laab in Laos

Dear Friends, Laab (also written ‘larb’) is a dish originating in Laos that has become a staple of menus across Thailand.  Its name means “luck” and this dish is a frequent star at the table during festivals and special occasions. It also makes the perfect gift for guests, conveying your good wishes along with some … Continue reading

A Lao Village Along the Mekong

The splashing of water lures me out to my stern balcony. They must be diving under the ship to fix the faulty propeller, I think. As I lean over the edge of the railing, I discover I am wrong: four Lao children are swimming gleefully around the boat on a competitive circuit, the weakest swimmer … Continue reading

Cuba: Survival with Passion

Dear Friends, I confess, I love the stories behind a revolution. They are exciting, bold, romantic, epic. They also entail struggle, pain, blood and death.  Unlike wars between nations, revolutions attempt to throw out an old system and replace it with something fresh, more just, more virtuous. Idealism runs rampant until reality sets in and … Continue reading

Going Back: Kinsale, Ireland

Dear Friends, Having spent the first half of my life changing homes every two years, there was only one constant place in my world: Folly House, Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland. This was the house my parents bought in 1972 to allow their four daughters to escape the oppression of Algerian summers. This was the house … Continue reading

Kate Simpson on the Smithsonian Journeys blog

Below is the latest blog from Kate Simpson, President of Academic Travel Abroad as seen on the Smithsonian Journeys blog page: China: Understanding Etiquette July 1st, 2009 by Kate Simpson Kate Simpson is President of Academic Travel Abroad, where she began her career as a China Program Manager in 1998 after completing a degree in East … Continue reading

Authenticity in Travel

Dear Friends, On a recent trip to the southwest of France exploring the culinary delights of foie gras, truffles, duck and walnuts, a question kept occurring to me: what can be described as “authentic”?  Is a truffle farm authentic because its owners hunt for its precious fungi in a traditional way passed on for generations … Continue reading

China: Build it, and we will come. Complete it, and we can go elsewhere?

Dear Friends,   It seems like an eternity ago when I was a young China program manager for ATA and spent my time running tours with titles like “Decorative Arts of China,” “To The Edges of the Empire,” and “History through the Dynasties.”  That was back in the 1980s, before Tiananmen Square took place.   … Continue reading

India in Our Hearts

Dear Friends, We share in the grief and sadness that has gripped India and the world in the aftermath of the monstrous attacks in Mumbai that began on the eve of our Thanksgiving.  I cannot conceive of a more cowardly act than attacking and killing unarmed, innocent human beings. Given the location of the attacks, in … Continue reading