Travel Log 1: “Laying a Foundation” by Bryan Riemer. Andover, Massachusetts

When I first learned that the workshops were going to be held early morning Saturday I was not pleased. When I first rushed in the door for the first workshop being only a couple minutes late I saw a bunch of smiling faces welcoming me to the room. That is when I realized that this was not a classroom where we sit and listen to the teacher lecture but instead a room where I will be learning how to be more culturally sound. My most enjoyable experience from workshop one was when as a group we had to create a working definition for what we believe a global community is. So we came up with this:

“A global community is comprised of all living things who make up smaller communities that are conjoined by the desire to achieve human rights.” (QU301 ROP Fall15).

This definition may be broad but it took us a long time to make. A working definition is never quite complete and as the semester goes on I believe that myself and the rest of the class will have their own personal definition of a global community. During workshop two I realized that nobody likes separation but it’s a part of life and the best way to get through it is keeping yourself active. Although I have been told that there will be a lot of downtime while abroad I will make sure to fill that time with experiencing the Irish culture and not thinking about what my friends and family back home are doing. No matter how much you read up on a country you will never experience the full effect until you arrive.

As I am reading Slimbach’s introduction to Becoming World Wise I stumbled upon a passage that really stood out to me. The quote reads, “When we do something with others-live with them, work or study alongside them-we become something together” (Slimbach p.6). This quote to me is another working definition of a global community and is something I hope to experience with locals while traveling around Europe. This will allow me to not only view their culture as an outside but experience their culture with them.

Prior to leaving Quinnipiac for the summer I had the opportunity to visit the Ireland’s Great Hunger museum. As I was watching a video in the museum I became very interested in finding out more about Ireland’s history and how it came to be what it is today. Now that I am informed of Ireland’s rich history I feel more confident that I am going to fit in and learn as much as possible while there. Slimbach mentions how important preparations prior to departure is and that without that we would be “Ugly Americans.” A quote from Chapter 5: Carrying Knowledge relates well to my views on being prepared prior to departure. The quote reads, “Being open to learning their approach to life gave me a lot of cultural insight I could have missed” (Slimbach p.127). This quote is from a passage of a female who went to India for a semester and was grateful for knowing the customs when she first arrived to her host family. I would like to experience that same feeling of proving that I am not a stereotypical American who is loud and obnoxious. I am nervous for my separation from Americ51xfRBRNG2L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_a but at the same time excited to broaden my knowledge of the rest of the world.

The book that I chose to read is called “A Course Called Ireland: A Long Walk in Search of a Country, a Pint, and the Next Tee.” I chose this book because I love golf and will hopefully be able to play a couple of courses during my time in Ireland. The book is about a man traveling around Ireland for 16 weeks in search of his ancestors history and beautiful golf courses. It sounds like a great read and I can’t wait to get started.

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5 thoughts on “Travel Log 1: “Laying a Foundation” by Bryan Riemer. Andover, Massachusetts

  1. I think Slimbach gave us a good fair warning of not falling into the stereotypical American tourist category while abroad. I’ve been preparing this whole summer to not fall into the category, just trying to gain as much information about Ireland as possible and talk to other people who have been there and get their opinions. Have you been doing any other things in preparing for Ireland?

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    • I have been trying to gain as much information about Ireland as well. Some of the things that I have been doing are reading up on the culture and the way people act and react to specific tones and actions. I also looked into the types of clothing they wear there and realized that if you don’t want to be spotted out as an American instantly then you should wear North Face or sneakers with jeans. This question goes out to everyone when I ask if you have any last minute advice on what we should bring with us that we might not have thought about, or what we should leave home? Also how have you been preparing for Ireland?

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  2. I have been mostly talking to people who have visited the area or are from the area. A couple of my friends from home have family originally from Ireland and have been giving me a good perspective on what to expect. On top of that I have been doing my own research through books or online publications.

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  3. I used that exact quote because I felt like it really connected with the idea communitas that we had talked about in the workshops. I had never thought about it as a way of describing a global community, that is interesting concept especially considering how connected our world is through technology and frequent travel.

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  4. Bryan, I really liked what you said about how no matter how much we read up on a country we can never really experience it until we are actually there. While I agree with the fact that we it is important to do research to understand where we are going and to not be a typical “Ugly American,” we never are going to really understand the country until our own two feet have walked the land and interacted with the amazing local people. I remember Slimbach talking about how you can’t experience something just by looking up things online and seeing them with your eyes. You have to be there and use all 5 senses to really experience something! I think you really did a good job at describing this.

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