It is hard to imagine that in two short weeks I will be on the other side of the world. I have been traveling ever since I can remember, but this is unlike any other trip I’ve had. For the first time in my life I will be traveling to another country alone. In the past I’ve always had someone in charge, whether it be my parents, family friends or high school chaperones. But this time I will be, in most senses, on my own. I am getting the feeling now that I remember getting a couple of weeks before leaving for college. It is one of excitement, anxiety and wonder.
Thinking back to those two days last semester where we attended the first QU 301 seminar I remember walking in and being annoyed. It was beautiful out and we were stuck inside a classroom. But actually looking back on it I am glad we did so because it opened me up to a whole new outlook on traveling. The Rites of Passage are something I have never considered before that day yet they are crucial to a developing individual. The “Crossing Borders” movie really resonated with me and I have been trying to see its message in my own personal life. These past two weeks I have spent living in a Villa in Southern Italy with our family friends from Sweden, an Italian host, and our friend from Australia. This was a goldmine for finding cultural differences. Beside the Italian host, I have known all these people for a very long time, but this was the first time seeing them since being educated on the Rites of Passage and since seeing “Crossing Borders”. I made sure to ask as many questions about cultural differences as I could. It was so interesting seeing their views on America and the world in general, and seeing how those views differed from my own. But it was also interesting to see just how similar our cultures are becoming. As Richard Slimbach says in Becoming World Wise, “Cable TV and fiber optic technologies enable cultural flows that defy the borders of space and culture” (Slimbach 2). I have seen this in countless ways. Westernization has taken over the world. My family friends from Sweden were talking about the latest American movie they saw while our friend from Australia was playing a Kanye West song in the background. Walking through the streets of Italy on any given day I could point out at least 20 people wearing clothes with some form of American symbol on them. From American flag shorts to “Brooklyn University” (which doesn’t even exist) t-shirts, I noticed that they all wanted to be like us. One night we went to one of the only bars in town, called “Route 66”. The place was covered with USA t-shirts and pictures of Middle America and even license plates from different states. After the bartender took our order she looked at me, and her exact words were “Why do you Americans come here? Don’t you know we all wish we lived in The States?”. That was really shocking to hear because even though I saw the obvious signs of her statement all over in the clothes they wore and music they listened to, it was the first time someone had actually said something like that to me. I can’t imagine basically saying, “your country is better than mine” to someone. That conversation really made me appreciate America and all that it offers.
Our global community definition basically amounted to all humans making up each community on earth, trying to obtain human rights for all. I think it is very important that Americans realize how big an effect we have on the global community. We, in many ways, set the tone for the world. Perfect or not, America has become the role model for mostly every other country. Other people wear our styles, listen to our music, watch our movies, most of them even speak our language. It is vital that we set a good tone for the world because much like a younger sibling looking to his older brother, they pick up our habits.
The travel log I have chosen for this journey is called Wizards of Aus Expat Guide to Australia. I chose this travel log because it is about two people who moved from their home country and started a new life on Australia. I have always wondered what it would be like to live in another country for an extended period of time, so I figured it would be cool to compare their experiences with mine.