From the Archives: The following was written by Benjamin Schmoker, president of NAFSA from 1954-56, and first published in Volume XI, No. 7 of the NAFSA Newsletter from March 15, 1960.

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Someone once said "It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive." There are a number of us in NAFSA who have "arrived" in Venezuela through the thoughtfulness and generosity of the Creole Foundation, and who hopefully would return any time the opportunity was offered. The warm hospitality of Olga and George Hall is something to experience.

Frank Davis and I were in Venezuela at the same time, and since Frank is the official NAFSA grantee, it is his privilege to make the formal report. My remarks are merely some musings with the intention of interesting more and more folks to visit our neighbors to the south.

My invitation to visit Venezuela was through the Education Committee of the North American Association. This group, representing American business interests in the country, has as its primary concern establishing mutual confidence and respect between Venezuelans and North Americans. The Education Committee, of which George Hall is chairman, has a major interest in the large numbers of Venezuelan students in the United States. Venezuela, as we know, leads all South American countries with 1,157 students in our institutions during last academic year. In addition it is estimated that nearly 3,000 additional Venezuelans are in our high and preparatory schools.

Caracas is a fascinating city. One never tires of looking at the sky and the encircling mountains, for the hue and the shadows are constantly changing. Had I been there a day longer I could not have resisted the urge to paint.

But there is also great unrest in Caracas. Frank and I could feel it as we walked through the crowds on the street. There is unrest in the student body at Central University, a constant feeling of ''jumpiness." All students appear to be affiliated with one of the political parties, and issues that only could be considered as internal university matters, have a way of becoming hot political issues.

It is a city and a nation where youth predominates. I am still at a loss to know what they do with old men in Venezuela. In government offices, the teaching faculty of universities, in the fabulous research city on the mountainside out of Caracas, it is young men who hold the positions of importance. The same appears to be true in American corporations in the country. One interesting note is that the Venezuelan student who returns home after completing studies in the United States experiences little difficulty in readjustments and has a choice not only of one job but four or five. As a matter of fact no one thinks of holding just one job.

Frank and I traveled widely during the three-week period. By car we drove along the winding mountain roads to Valencia and Maracay. By air, it was over the mountains to that gem of a city Merida, the seat of the lovely University of the Andes. Central University of Caracas looms as a most impressive sight with its modern buildings, a lavish display of color, but were I young once again, nothing could be more delightful than a year at the University of the Andes.

On Thanksgiving weekend our friend, Andres Guttman of Shell Oil, flew us to Canaima, that fascinating, fabulous "lost world." The weather clear, we were fortunate in being able to fly into the canyon and view Angel Falls. No photograph can ever picture Angel Falls. Later on that night in our tin cabin in the black stillness of the jungle, I tried to analyze the fascination and the beauty of Angel Falls. It is the audacity of that little stream of water to tumble down a granite cliff 3,600 feet high.

It is going to take audacity, the daring of adventure and highly developed skills to develop the untold natural resources of that vast lost world. The future of Venezuela is staggering in possibilities. It is in our universities that the responsibilities lie for much of the training. In October of 1959 some of us met at Putney Vermont, with a selected group of Venezuelan students resident in the New England area. These students revealed that they felt a disinterest on our part in their presence, in their goals. There is little question but what they sense an attitude of superiority on our part due no doubt to a strong feeling of inferiority on their part. As one student said, "We get the feeling of 'what's the use?'" These Venezuelan students analyzed their own problem in this way: (1) there was little guidance in their own land in the selection of colleges and universities; (2) most of them have inadequate preparation in English; (3) they are completely unaccustomed to guidance from university sources and consequently do not seek out the Foreign Student Adviser; (4) the forwardness of American students, the aggressiveness of behavior, is puzzling and they tend to avoid too much contact.

It adds up, does it not, to the fact that almost all of us know too little about our Southern neighbors and have paid too little attention to them as individuals? Cordell Hull once advised all of us "look southward, for we need one another." Perhaps it is time for a NAFSA Conference to give major attention to the Latin American student. Were we to do so we could be assured of every help, every resource, from our American colleagues in Venezuela.

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