I believe there is a very insightful message in Richard Slimbach’s statement, “If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within.” (p. 54). The first half of the statement refers to ‘global learning’ and the value it holds on a worldly scale, as the individual enters and eventually finds an understanding and meaning on their own, of what global learning is. This is only possible, in my opinion, when we are given the right tools and information to come to that understanding. The ‘global learning’ that occurs ‘within,’ I believe he is referring to us within ourselves. This is only a possibility if we are willing to open our minds up to the information we receive about the world, and other countries, with an unbiased mindset. To be receptive to global learning, it starts with the simplest of understandings, which we can find when we look within, and see that we are all human, and borders are man-made.
For my personal growth as a member of the global community, I would have to say that I came to an understanding that awareness and knowledge are probably the most important aspects of being a global citizen, for me personally. To be aware and have knowledge of what is going on in the world around me, and to know that we do not live in a perfect world by any means is important. I also believe that being aware and knowledgeable, of the world that is much bigger than the one I live in, allows me the ability to connect with the stories I hear and things I learn about, whether it be the traditions of Moroccan culture, or the values of the French, or the war between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes, just in the simple fact that we are all human.
This understanding has allowed me to grow to have such an appreciation for the meaning of the word “difference”. But, with hat said, I also have come to realize that awareness and knowledge are not the key to becoming a global citizen for everyone. I believe every person should be different when it comes to what helped him or her understand and grow into a member of the global community. Moving forward, I now have a desire to learn about the world around me, because I now know why it is important, and that is all I need to drive myself to stay informed and aware.
My departure from Paris caught me off guard a little (or a lot ), so I didn’t leave Paris to reincorporate into home as gracefully as I had originally thought I would. I was able to have lunch with the friends I had made from my French class, kind of a farewell and one last meal altogether. It was incredibly hard to walk away from them after hugs good-bye. The same night I had my last dance class at the Schola, where I had to part ways with the French girls I had come to admire and enjoy dancing with so much, as well as my instructor. That dance class was truly my saving grace, and meant so much more to me than I could ever express. As I parted ways with my new friends, the girl I became very close with even began to cry. The last good-bye was one last long talk with my home-stay Madame, who will always be very special to me, which was also a very emotional good-bye. In her parting words, she thanked me, and told me she would no longer wonder what it would be like to have a daughter. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time to say any good-byes to the places that had become meaningful to me because my departure was so abrupt, but if I had to guess, I would say it wouldn’t have been a good-bye to those places, but more like a ‘see you later’.