It’s just as important to have some understanding of yourself as a person, before studying abroad and after. One cannot seek to accomplish such great goals such as carrying out global learning and becoming part of the global community on concept alone. Experiencing the new environment and culture around you and taking it in, is an incomplete experience. When Slimbach says, “ If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also in this world within.” (p. 54), my take on it is that we must not only be open hearted/minded about out new experiences, but also about the new sides of ourselves that we discover through global learning.
Personally throughout my time abroad I’ve had experience after experience, good and bad, and I couldn’t ask for more. I have explored not only the world around me, but discovered sides on myself I never knew. I’ve seen Wales in the eyes of an outsider, but also as an insider. Slimbach points out that in this sense of, “rediscovering our true self and learning to embrace strangers within our field settings necessarily [focusing] our attention on the conscious choices that we , as individuals, make to think and act in certain ways.” (p. 59). We adapt, at least some do, and in that way we adopt the host country’s views and ways of life in order to not disturb or disrupt the system of the community. More times that not, as we may have seen with our own eyes or read in the materials covered through this course, Americans treat this studying abroad privilege frivolously and have caused great scandals. Just as Slimbach mentioned in chapter 2, students partying their lives away the entire time abroad or getting into trouble because of disrupting the flow of things within their new community, I have unfortunately seen with my own eyes. It’s unfortunate, but I can at least I can rest easy knowing that I have made the best of my time here. I have tried my hardest to integrate and transition into the Cardiff community here in Wales and I haven’t been disappointed. My life here for however short a time has been an experience of a lifetime. I think for me my time abroad has made me more conscious about the ways of the world. I’ve become an active participant of the global community in that I recognize the differences, but also the similarities that bring us together as one people. I have recognized that it is my duty to promote good relations with people while abroad because I represent, not only my community back home, my country, but also my generation. If I cannot demonstrate, be and sent an example, to my generation and the generations that come after, how will the better tomorrow of the entire world that we’ve have dreamed, become a reality?
I have accepted the torch from those before me. Now, now I must stand up and the responsibility that has been entrusted to me.
I’m conflicted though with finals starting signaling my time here in Wales is coming to an end, I’m certainly saddened about having to say goodbye the friends I’ve made here, but I’m ready for home. It’s a bittersweet because I have made such great friends here, but at the same time I’m counting down the days until I go home. I just want to be home already. It’s not in the sense that I hate it here because that is definitely not the case, it’s just that because I know the day is approaching I can’t wait for it to be here already. I guess one could say it is the same as when I was home waited to come the Wales. However, I do feel that my approach to the coming separation is more positive than that of when i left home. This makes me happy because it show’s me that I have changed, even if only a little.
The same anticipation, even though I know my home, things there have definitely changed in the five months I’ve been across the world. What will happen to the connections I have made here in Wales? Surely I can keep and plan on keeping in contact with the people I met here. However, I feel a sense of loss at the thought of no longer being apart of the community here. It’s not the same as when I came from home because I can always return home. Here, in Wales, the chances on me coming back aren’t very high.
So in this respect, I have made a promise to myself to one day return to the place, Wales, that has had such an impact on my life and helped me to grow and get past a really difficult time in my life.
My flatmates and I are all planning a night out the last day of finals to commemorate the end of the semester and celebrate the friends we’ve made this year. I’m really looking forward to it! It will be a happy note to leave on and of course I’ve already made plans with them to keep in touch. We’ve even discussed the possibility of a group holiday during the summer. We will see how it goes!
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” ~Henry Miller
I chose this quote because I feel that even now counting down the days until I leave for home, there is still an adventure to be had. Home is my destination, but it will be like going to a new place because my eyes have been opened in a different light. I’ve grown as a person, so I no longer think as I once did. Everything will be different and I’m excited for it! At first I was a bit anxious, but no longer. It’s a step forward and that’s what matters!