Have you ever walked into a room not knowing what to expect and dreading sitting in that room for the next six hours or so? Those were my initial thoughts when I had first heard about the mandatory workshops, but I was very surprised at the informality of the entire endeavor. As the two days went on, there were two concepts that really stuck with me from the immense amount of information that was presented. The first concept that really resonated with me working definition of a global community; I thought it was interesting how a group of individuals who were pretty much strangers to one another were able to become a cohesive unit so quickly and work together to create a cohesive thought that did not involve any argument. With such a short amount of time to conduct the exercise, we were able to create a definition that might not have been completely polished, but it got the point across. “A global community is a shared living space of interdependent individuals endowed with universal human rights, while choosing to act upon them, embracing differences, and working toward common goals.”
Another concept that resonated with me was the reflective process; I think this concept stuck with me so much was because I think this entire trip is going to be a reflection for me. The experience of being abroad and depending on yourself and the skills that your parents equipped with you over the years will be an interesting trial of life on your own. The only way of being able to appreciate what you have done in life is to reflect on it and I fully intend on doing so while I am away.
I find it interesting how the contents of this book are so closely related to the concepts being taught in the class. It makes me wonder if the guidelines were written first and then the book was found or if the book was found and then the class was based around it. The concept of a global community is something that I think to be of importance in the journey that we are undertaking and under the heading “The Common Good” in the introduction something similar to that is referenced. Slimbach says “Global learning must be not only in the world but also for it. Educational travel should leave the world a saner, stronger and more sustainable place.” Those words spell out global community to me and by traveling abroad we are able to promote the “common good” and fulfill the global community. It is easy to talk about a particular topic, but it is more effective to have direct contact with the source of the problem. It is like the saying goes “Actions speak louder than words.” We are leaving our homes and the places that we are familiar to in order to gain a deeper understanding of the world around us.
Slimbach makes mention to the concept of separation without directly mentioning the words, he says, “More than likely they will experience a weakening attachment to family and place and gradually branch out, like their counterparts in the West, to create and control their own lives.” I believe that this stage happens at many times throughout our lives and although we may separate it is not always a permanent transformation, but a new status has been created. Slimbach says that the most important aspect of this transformation is that we discover things that are new to us and through this experience we will be doing just that. We are leaving our families and everything that we know behind in order to find out for ourselves exactly what we want. For some it is in an academic sense, for the degenerates it is a life of partying.
In order to be able to fully integrate into my study abroad destination, I believe that the purchase of a travelogue is pivotal and I think like to think that the book I chose is the right one for me. The book that I finally decided on after a lot of debate is titled “Queenan Country: A Reluctant Anglophile’s Pilgrimage to the Mother Country” by Joe Queenan and I chose this book because it seemed like something that would be of interest to be. From reading the reviews people talked ab
out the humor in the book and I thought that that was an important aspect because I wanted to be able to read something that I was interested in instead of just buying a book for a class. I also thought it would be an interesting perspective because the author is from New York so I thought that there might be some similar thinking present while on my own pilgrimage.
(Image from barnesandnoble.com)