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Why the state department has travel restrictions

Religious ,map of the Eastern Mediterranean, the main area impacted by travel restrictions
Religious ,map of the Eastern Mediterranean, the main area impacted by travel restrictions

On Oct. 26, Robert Neus, a recruitment advisor for the Department of State working in the Midwest Region, came to John Carroll University to talk to prospective students about careers in the civil, foreign and domestic offices of the DOS.

Besides helping students navigate big questions around training, resources, and career advice, a key note of the discussion was safety. Multiple of the students in attendance asked Neus about the safety of being stationed abroad at this time, to which he gave them a succinct response.

“To best understand the situation right now” he said, “we should refer to the Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs reports as of Oct. 2023.”

They read that:

“[T]errorist groups, lone-actor terrorists and other violent extremists continue plotting possible attacks in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza. Terrorists and violent extremists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities. Violence can occur in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza without warning. There has been a marked increase in demonstrations throughout Israel, some with little or no warning.”

This statement was in reference to, of course, an unfortunate situation, but one both travelers and officials would have to understand because of the dangerous world we live in. Americans abroad, according to the DOS Readiness Survey- have to contend with natural disasters, hostile nations and groups and the uncertainty of just general world affairs.

Though this was the most pertinent statement from the discussion, as the recruitment advisors are asked to stick to the guidelines of the advisory statements, certain students also had their own reservations and feelings on the subject

Abby Birch ’24, a student looking to enter the foreign service after graduation, says that she felt “comforted, especially with the stress of graduating” from the conversation. Also, in terms of the unstable work of travel and work that the DOS warns of, she said “it would be incredible to work abroad right now… and though there would be multiple challenges, I see the chance to work around the world as meaning I’d have a real and good impact on the world”.

Similarly, just as the most recent travel advisory for Israel, Gaza and the West Bank has asked that citizen refrain from travel, with ongoing violence, and now attacks on United States military bases in Iraq, and militant assaults coming from Lebanon into Israel, the Bureau of Consular Affairs has upped both the Iraq and Lebanon travel advisories to a level 4: Do Not Travel.

Though unfortunate situations are occurring abroad, as discussed in the piece How JCU Faculty and Students Feel about Hamas’ Attack on Israel, the future seems bright, both in the feelings of Advisor Neus and students.

The general consensus was that the U.S. needs good officers to represent the nation abroad, and with care, effort and intelligence, students from across the U.S. and JCU can one day join the Department of State and help organize humanitarian aid, helping the U.S. and foreign citizens and make the world a better place from their service, even if sometimes the world can be dark and scary. Perhaps some of those students can make a brighter tomorrow through their work.

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About the Contributor
Michael Walsh
Michael Walsh, Community Editor
Michael Walsh, the Community Editor, is originally from Bethel Park, Pennsylvania. He is a Junior double majoring in political science and History. Michael has written for The Carroll News since the Fall of 2023 and has previously been involved as the Global South Beat Reporter. He has received 1 Best of SNO award for his collaboration article "The Israel-Hamas War: what can college students do to help Palestinians?" With Tate Farinacci. Michael Works as well as editing for the Podcast "Kremlin Files" discussing Russian spies and secrets, and the war in Ukraine. In addition to their involvement with The Carroll News, Michael is involved with the speech and debate team, the Gator Rugby Club, and is President of the College Independents at John Carroll. When not writing, Michael manages media projects for the Wilson Center for International Scholars as an intern. Michael also enjoys concerts and travel and loves sharing these experiences with fellow students. In the future, Michael hopes to become a political researcher or to serve in the State Department, as he enjoys interacting with the wider world as much as he can. To contact Michael, email them at [email protected].

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