Travel Log 8. “Global Responsibility,” Part 2, By Taylor Chelo. Perugia, Italy.

The first chapter of Slimbach’s text depicts the stereotypical “consumerist/entitlement” mentality of many American study abroad students. Slimbach writes that many foreign countries who host American students find that those who do not remain globally conscious of their host culture acquire “…little of the new cultural knowledge, language ability, and perspective change that marks a well-traveled mind” (Slimbach 35-36). I agree that this stereotype, unfortunately, still exists. Throughout the preparation process for my journey abroad, I talked to many friends from a variety of universities who have studied beyond America’s borders. The majority of them told me “the classes are so easy,” “we partied every night,” and the mainstream “it was a blast” comment. Little was said about the cultural immersion process, what it was like acquiring a new language, the value of the education they were receiving, and the lessons they learned about what it means to be a member of the global community.

Throughout these past two months in Perugia, there have been times where I have become frustrated by fellow students who complain about the smallest of differences between the Italian culture and ours, such as how much walking we have to do to get from place to place and how our town is predominantly Italian-speaking. There are people in hospitals who would give anything to walk two steps, nevermind explore the most beautiful Italian cities on foot. We have more opportunities to acquire the Italian language much quicker than those in larger, touristy cities because we are challenged to speak the language in local shops and restaurants.

Yes, there have been moments where I have found myself “guilty” of the aforesaid accusations of being a stereotypical American study abroad student. There have been moments, for instance, where I have missed the comforts of home and the convenience of using a car to reach my weekly elementary education internship instead of taking the 25 minute walk. However, study abroad travelers like myself cannot look at this once in a lifetime experience through the wrong end of the telescope and focus solely on the cultural differences in such a negative way. Conversely, as Slimbach writes, we have to look at the grand scheme of things: we have to reflect upon “…why certain realities exist, how our lives may be implicated in those realities, and what our basic obligations are,” both as visitors of our host countries and members of the global community (Slimbach 25). Enrolling in this QU*301 course and viewing my study abroad experience as a Rite of Passage experience has truly helped me to not only make the most of my time here in Perugia, but to also break the stereotypes of typical American study abroad students.

Although these stereotypes of study abroad students exist, there are many ways students like myself can encourage the idea that study abroad students can exude global responsibility. As I mentioned in a previous Travel Log, I become unexpectedly homesick with very pessimistic thoughts and feelings at the start of my experience. However, what helped me out of this rut and encouraged me to start making the most of this experience was refocusing on the reasons why I chose to study abroad, what goals I wanted to achieve here, and how I could get more involved, both inside and outside of the Umbra Institute community. Slimbach explains that there has been an “increased movement of students across borders to study, to serve, and to teach” (Slimbach 28). I have been able to fulfill these three aspects of study abroad. I am a full-time student who is studying at the Umbra Institute in Perugia. I serve the local and global community as a UNICEF volunteer every Tuesday night. My friends and I create hand-made ragdolls that UNICEF sells for 20 euro; all the proceeds fund the medications and immunizations for sick children in third-world countries.  As a student enrolled in the Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Program back at Quinnipiac, I am required to do an internship in a local elementary school every semester. I am fortunate enough this semester to be teaching English to fourth and fifth graders at Scuola Elementare di Giovanni Cena every week. Thanks to these opportunities that I have become involved in, I have been able to appreciate the value of the education that I am receiving here, the friendships that I am forming with both American and Italian students, and my contributions to the common good of the global community. Breaking the stereotypes that are typically placed on study abroad students has allowed me to enrich my Rite of Passage.


Travel Log 7. “Global Responsibility,” Part 1, By Taylor Chelo. Perugia, Italy

When I did some background research regarding the 1994 Rwandan genocide, one of the unfortunate, yet common headlines that I came across described the United Nations as “hopeless.” As far back as I can remember from my many history classes, I have always thought the U.N. was a major contributor and supporter throughout the global community. However, the film Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire alarmingly highlighted a time in our world’s history when the U.N. did not live up to their standards. The human rights editorial cartoon that I found portrays the ignorance of other members of the global community, ignorance to shed light on the catastrophe in Rwanda.

The 1994 Rwandan genocide was a mass slaughter of over 800,000 Tutsi in Rwanda, East Africa by members of the Hutu majority. The slaughter was sparked on April 6th, 1994 when an airplane carrying Habyarimana and Burundian President, Cyprien Ntaryamira, was fatally shot down. This is what prompted Canadian General Roméo Dallaire to not only accept the U.N. mission, but to also stay there in hopes of resolving the issue while other members of the global community were withdrawing. The genocide began the following day, yet, as shown in the cartoon, potential international supporters like the United States were too preoccupied by national events going on that same day to send support. For example, in Waco, Texas, a gun siege broke out amidst a search and arrest procedure by


Human Rights Editorial Cartoon. Source:

the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). In Detroit during the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, the ex-husband and bodyguard of former figure skating champion, Tonya Harding, hired someone to break the leg of Harding’s opponent, Nancy Kerrigan. The Bobbitt’s were a famous American couple, whose relationship made worldwide headlines when Lorena Bobbitt cut off her husband’s penis with a knife overnight. Between 1993 and 1994, Michael Jackson faced his first child sexual abuse allegations. O.J. Simpson was charged with the murder of ex-wife Nicole Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman in June 1994. In the midst of what were, at the time, major media spotlights in our nation, the streets of Rwanda were being lined with thousands of dead bodies, dead bodies of Tutsi individuals, dead bodies of innocent members of our global community. Thus, the cartoon artist’s message was to depict the pure arrogance of the United States media to shed light on a much more severe event occurring in Rwanda.

The artist also depicted two major human rights violations. According to Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person” (United Nations). Article 10 continues to explain how Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as […] national or social origin, property, birth or other status […] no distinction shall be made on the basis of […] international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs” (United Nations). Regardless of our place of origin, where we live, or what is occurring in our nation, our actions and decisions affect other members of the global community outside of our nation’s borders. The United States was so focused on the happenings aforementioned in the late Spring of 1994 that they did not take note of the bloodshed in Rwanda until tourists traveled to see the memorials that were resurrected years later.

Although I was not around during the time of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, I did not know about it until I watched the documentary for this travel log. This fact alone has touched me profoundly. The fact that the United Nations has established an official document explicitly outlining the human rights of the global community is also baffling to me because we have yet to meet its standards. When one looks back on our world’s history, we have failed to faithfully recognize any of the Declaration’s articles, and the poor , global treatment of these human rights violations has not truly changed. People still kill innocent human lives around the globe, fueled by the discrimination of one’s skin, like the shooting of Michael Brown in 2014, and one’s religious identity, like those of the Islam religion who are under the pressure of recent bombings. As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, all individuals of the global community hold global responsibility. We are all members of the universal human race, and we are all entitled to creating a better world.

Travel Log 6: “The Mindful Traveler”. By Chelsea Campbell. Barcelona, Spain

When studying abroad most students have the goal to not be looked at as a tourist in their host country for the duration of the semester. It is the difference of being a “mass tourist” to the “mindful traveler”. This does not only refer to while in one’s host country but also while taking weekend trips to other countries or cities. To me, I found that the difference between the two is the amount of energy spent trying to take in and fully understand the culture, while respecting it. As Slimbach explained, “to be a ‘mindful traveler’ is to approach our field settings with a level of sensitivity and curiosity that raises our conscious awareness to how we affect the social and natural environments we enter and act upon” (Slimbach 74). Thus far each weekend I have either traveled to a different country or another city within Spain besides Barcelona… traveling is addicting. However, each time we are traveling my roommates and I look for the small, local restaurants where not only will we be getting a better taste of the local, “not-so-touristy”, areas but we will be supporting them with our business. While traveling in Rome this was especially beneficial to us because the food was absolutely amazing and we became incredibly friendly with the staff. It is just as simple as going to a local restaurant that makes our experiences better than we could’ve imagined. It is the locals who are the culture, and just like the interviews we had done, it is obvious they are our best source to learn anything about our host culture.

I think this relates to our class working definition of “global community” because by interacting and exploring the culture with our sensitive curiosity we are able to almost become one with that culture. The interactions we have allow us a chance to show as citizens throughout the world interacting in one moment, we are a community. We support one another in different ways. I think that our definition should be changed to incorporate the aspect of “support” because within a community that is truly what the citizens do that bring them together as a “whole”.

I think that mindful traveling is definitely a key characteristic of intentional participants of the global community because it shows our curiosity but also awareness of the world. Awareness is key to being a participant in the community because without it we would simply be wandering through a community that we would learn nothing from and simply look ignorant to those who are within the global community. For my travels abroad one simple way I plan to incorporate mindful traveling is by using Airbnb or couch surfing for my stays. These are forms of accommodations within locals’ homes (they’re safe!). Rather than spending money on a hostel or hotel that may have been put up in the place of people’s homes, I will be staying within a locals’ home itself. Through this type of accommodation, I will learn more in depth about the culture and the ways of life. The friendships and conversations that can be created through this could never be found through a hotel while also benefiting the host with a form of payment.

I find that the biggest challenge that exists to inhibit mindful traveling is the expenditure of energy needed. However, we are studying abroad for a reason and that is because we want this experience and to make the best of it, which requires as much energy as it takes. Energy expenditure is nothing when it means you are passing through a journey fully aware of your surroundings that you will never experience again in the way you have it now.

IMG_8399            The picture I am attaching shows how willing I am to expend all of my energy for the simple joys of putting myself out there and avoiding the “carefree drifter” tag. This picture was taken during our 15 mile hike up Montserrat on Sunday. Despite the fact I could barely feel my legs, the views were unbelievable, constantly changing with the higher we got up the mountain, and it was worth it. We could have been typical tourists and sat on a tram for less than 10 minutes to get to the top, however, just like all of the locals and Barcelona running team we passed, we found the hike to be a part of the journey to the top. That tram was put into a very small town at the bottom with large paved parking lots that were plain ugly, all for the tourists. All we did was take a train into town and found the beginning our 15 mile hiking trail to the top. It is a simple example of the avoiding the touristy things but it is one of my favorite examples because that hike is one of my favorite memories. Especially for all of the locals and their dogs we passed on the steep trails.

Travel Log 6: “The Mindful Traveler” By: Erin Foley, Paris, France

What comes to mind when I hear the term “mindful traveler” is a genuine and utmost respect for one’s host country. Therefore, one is mindful of the cultural, religious, socioeconomic and political differences that may differ greatly from those of the home nation. Too often I have vacationed in a country less off than the United States and only recounted what I did, bought, saw or learned there. This implies that everything I did was to benefit myself. About a week after my departure, I never give a thought to my impact on my temporary host culture. Because tourism is the main source of revenue in these countries, leaving a positive impact is especially crucial. According to Slimbach,“…we are all agents of cultural change…Because culture is never static, the question is not whether we will introduce change but in what direction? How might we journey in ways that strengthen rather than undermine the goals of economic growth, cultural preservation, social harmony, environmental protection, and spiritual flourishing?” (82).

Without the help of this course, I am unsure that my transformation from “careless drifter” or “mass tourist” into mindful traveler would be fully complete. One of the sole purposes of Rites of Passage Theory, though there are many, is to leave a positive impact on your host culture through observing, learning and embracing its differences. I also think that living in another country for an extended period of time forces one to integrate into the respective new culture. The act of rapid assimilation allows the traveler to reflect upon the host culture’s values in an attempt to truly understand them. If you do not adopt cultural norms rather quickly, you soon become the outsider.

Our class definition of global community defines said population as “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. Participating in the global community is absolutely voluntary. Although each individual is equipped with the same universal human rights, as stated by the definition, it is up to us to utilize these tremendous opportunities. The global community is the common thread that binds while there are many intricacies interwoven among us.

It is entirely possible to travel mindlessly, remaining ignorant to the host culture. In my opinion, this unfortunately happens quite often during short trips where the visitor may not have time to truly delve into the country’s history or culture. In order to actively participate in the global community, however, it is imperative that the traveler creates a mutually beneficial relationship with their host culture. There are many ways in which to become involved such as, studying the language of the host culture or working for an international corporation. While living in France this past month, I have pondered careers where I can employ my French skills. The United Nations, for example, is an organization that has strong ties with Europe and particularly, France. By getting the opportunity to work with this corporation, I would be forging international relationships within the global log 6  Slimbach highlights an important tendency he calls “autopilot” that many travelers impose: “While autopilot helps us stay “on course” in the rush and pressure of daily life with a minimum of expended energy, there is a major downside. It tends to undermine our capacity to be “mindful”—to consider why, how, and with what effect we do what we do” (74). By inhibiting ourselves from understanding what kinds of changes our presence inflicts on the culture, we are therefore not partaking in the global community. For instance, I attempt to speak with locals when I can. I understand and appreciate the French wanting to preserve their language from being inundated with English vernacular. However, when they immediately detect a slight American accent, they may switch to English. We eventually reach our common goal of, say, a pastry sale. At the same time, I have displayed profound respect for their culture while they courteously use English in an attempt to facilitate the exchange more easily. Sometimes, this can be extremely frustrating because I am trying to improve my language skills. It almost discourages me from trying to adapt to their culture because I know that while they may appreciate my attempts, there is still something obstructing my entrance into their intimate, yet global, community.

I have chosen to include a picture of L’Arc de Triomphe, which was constructed under the reign of Napoleon I to commemorate his victories. Before crossing under the arch’s threshold, I was a representative of my American life, blind to any other culture. Passing through the other side is symbolic of my transformation into an active participant in the global community. Completing this process, through mindful travel, is a personal victory of sorts. Although incomparable to Napoleon’s many war triumphs, entrance into the global community is a large hurdle that I hope to overcome during my semester abroad.

Travel Log 8 “Global Responsibility” Part 2 by Aileen Sheluck – London, England

When we decided to study abroad, we knew that we would be completely immersed in another culture for a very long period of time. For some of us, we would need to speak a different language, for others, like me, we would not. However, no matter where you go or what language you’re speaking, there is always going to be some aspect of life that is different. No one lives exactly the same.

Slimbach states that American study abroad students don’t really get as much out of studying abroad as they should. I think that this has developed because Americans in general are very ethnocentric. I feel as though any person has feelings of ethnocentrism towards their native country because its traditions and customs are all we know and have truly experienced. Because America is such a large world power, I think Americans in particular have a tendency to think we’re better than everyone else. It seems that what Slimbach is getting at is that Americans will more likely continue living their lives normally, as an American would, rather than trying to live exactly like a person in their host culture would. I definitely think I am guilty of this. Especially since I am studying in a country that speaks the same language as I do, I think that I haven’t really gained much cultural knowledge. Besides the fact that I take fewer classes and am living in a completely different country, I don’t think I’m living my life much differently than I would be if I were at Quinnipiac this semester instead of in London.

There are definitely ways that we as study abroad students can try to break this stereotype. Personally, I believe that it is better for students to study in a country that doesn’t speak the same language. I know that isn’t always possible because a lot of students, like me, haven’t taken a foreign language class since high school (if I had studied in a country that doesn’t speak English, despite my 5 years of Spanish, I think I might have died). If we are forced to learn, I mean really learn, another language, it is more likely that we will feel like we’ve learned more about a culture. I also believe that, as long as we can respect the ideas and traditions of people in our host cultures, we can show that study abroad students exhibit global responsibility. Like I said before, no one is going to live exactly the same. Some students on this blog have said that in their host countries, people are greeted with a kiss on each cheek. While this might seem odd to Americans, since we wouldn’t dream of doing that, we can help to exude global responsibility by embracing that cultural difference and not keeping an ethnocentric mindset that makes us believe American traditions and customs are superior to that of all other countries.

Travel Log #5: “Conversations” Kathleen Flynn. Florence, Italy

As a cultural learning experience for my Italian class, we were also asked to interview locals. I learned that there were two types of people: those who were excited to interact and eager to help us learn as study abroad students, and those who couldn’t be bothered with young Americans. Because of this, I decided to interview my art professor who is always ready to teach me more about his culture and taking a little time out of his day to do so. Before coming to Florence I really wanted to take the opportunity of talking to a local who would be comfortable with sharing a piece of their personal life in order for me to understand the Italian culture better; it’s been harder than I imagined just approaching a random person at a café, especially because I know very little Italian. Not only do my professors speak English, but they’ve also lived in Italy their entire lives and teach American students abroad as a living. My art professor, Luciano, was of course happy to participate in this activity.

I began the interview by asking his opinion on informality versus formality and was amazed by how many more values surrounded and connected to just this one. The Italians, and more specifically Florentines, are very concerned with appearance in all aspects. Rolling out of bed, throwing on UGG slippers and some sweatpants and walking out to class will get you many disapproving stares. For the Italians, dressing appropriately and being conscious of your personal appearance is key to first impressions. For example, there is serious judgment given to a girl wearing tights with a rip down the side, or shoes that are dirty and muddy. I’ve even noticed this myself walking around the city. Many times I’ve underdressed for the given weather (no coat, wearing a dress, etc.), and felt so uncomfortable by the passing looks that I had to go home and change. This value of appearance and formality also relates to respecting the elders or superiors of Italians. Age is to be respected for the wisdom that can only come with years of living and not from reading a textbook. The respect given to elders even carries through the Italian language and using a “formal” rather than “informal” you, which cannot be found in the English language. For example, when asking an elder or superior how they are doing you say, “Come sta?” instead of, “Come stai?” My professor explained that this is extremely important to use with elders of your family, which incorporates one of the most important cultural values we discussed. “La famiglia” is the center of any Italian’s life. Restaurants and businesses are carried through generation after generation, and time outside of work is devoted to spending with the family. My professor explained that there is no difference between a first cousin or third, family is family and is treated the same.

While the interview may have put into perspective many of the contrasting cultural values that America has with Italy, it did not make me feel ashamed of my own values. It brought them “into sharper focus” and I think it has indeed given me “the opportunity to enhance, elaborate, and strengthen the value system” that I have developed and will continuing developing throughout my life (Guide 9, pg. 54). I realized that like Italians I also value my appearance, not for attention, but for the image I project of myself to others. At college this is not always the case because in America there is a value of not judging a person by their looks. Because of this many kids will go to class in the classic “just rolled out of bed” look without worrying about being criticized by others. By comparing these two opposing culture sets of Americans and Italians it shows that neither one is more right than the other and I see both values in myself. I think it is important not to judge a person based solely on their appearance, but it’s also important to respect yourself and project the appropriate image in any given occasion.



Travel Log 7 “Global Responsibility” Part 1 by Aileen Sheluck – London, England

One of the foundations of this class, which we learned about from the start, was this idea of human rights. We discussed this in depth during our seminars, watching a video about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. What was very interesting was that not many of us, including me, knew prior to that seminar that an actual piece of paper existed that listed the rights that all people are entitled to simply by being human. Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights describes the most fundamental of all human rights: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” The people who were unnecessarily slaughtered during the Rwandan genocide were denied all of these rights. Watching the video Shake Hands with the Devil was a very somber experience.

This is a cartoon I found that depicts an aspect of the Rwandan genocide.Untitled

This cartoon shows the massive casualties caused by the genocide in Sudan, which is very similar to that in Rwanda. There is a man, a representative from the UN, that, looking at the pile of bodies, says, “Call us back when you have some Europeans.” This artist definitely means to show that because the people being murdered weren’t European, the UN didn’t find it necessary to protect them. They were less of a priority than citizens of UN countries in the eyes of the UN, which is a blatant disregard of human rights as well. During the Rwandan genocide, the UN pulled away its support. This left Rwandans armed and against each other, with no support from neutral countries. This allowed the genocide to rage and get much worse because the UN decided that they didn’t need to keep their resources in Rwanda. There is one main violation of human rights depicted in this cartoon, and that is the very first article, which states that, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” The UN completely disregarded this right when they removed their support. They are the United Nations, and they left a nation abandoned in its time of need. The UN should not have pulled its support away. In this case, they were responsible for protecting the lives of the Rwandans. However, in reality, these rights shouldn’t need protecting. If everyone is endowed with these universal human rights, everyone should follow and respect them. It is very sad that this is not the case in the world.

Recently, there have been similar violations of human rights in a lot of the cases in the US that started the “Black Lives Matter” movement. These violations are treated a lot differently by the media than the Rwandan genocide was. Hardly anyone knew of the genocide in Rwanda, but everyone knows the Black Lives Matter movement and every event that sparked it. It was very well covered in the news, which the Rwandan genocide was not. Something that I want to know is what makes these events different from the Rwandan genocide? Is it that too many of these genocides have happened in the past, and people don’t want to seem like they’re ignoring it anymore? Regardless, I hope that as time goes on, more people will start paying attention to violations of human rights, and, sometime in the future, everyone’s rights will be valued the same.


Travel Log 6 “The Mindful Traveler” by Chris Wilner, London, England

As each and every one of us has embarked on our own journeys away from our home countries, we all went with the mentality of coming back a changed person through this rite of passage. Some may have had an idea of what they wanted to accomplish while away and others may be looking for something but they aren’t completely sure what it is. When returning we will talk about the things that we did on our journeys and the memories that have been made, but many will have done it for themselves and had no connection with the community that they became a part of. This is partly what distinguishes that someone from being a mindful traveler. The way I see it as it was written in the book, the mass tourist is someone who goes on vacation or a journey that only contributes to the mass market. People stay in fancy resorts and have no real interaction with the general public of the community that they are joining, even for a short period of time, except for those who work at the resort of the restaurants that they eat at. Compared to the mass tourist, a step above that would be the carefree drifter. This would be someone who comes into town with no set plans of what to do, but they do things that interest them like eating at the best restaurant in town or having a conversation with a local to get a sense of what the place is like. In the same instance this person might keep the ideals that they brought with them and their eyes were never really opened to the things around them.

For someone to be labeled as a mindful traveler Slimbach noted, “is to approach our field settings with a level of sensitivity and curiosity that raises our conscious awareness of how we affect the social and natural environments we enter and act upon.” (Slimbach, 74.) This is the person who immerses themselves in a culture not only by living in the community, but also by actively participating in it. They live with a local family instead of staying in a hotel in order to help the family survive. Maybe instead of eating at the local establishments, they ask to be taught how to make those dishes on their own. This person will leave the community as a part of it instead of an outsider who visited for a period of time. In talking about these different types of travelers, I think I can almost identify with each of them. Reading through the chapter I was thinking about my family and the vacations that I have been on with them outside of my home country. I think I would identify most with the carefree drifter.

When I was on my last vacation with my family, we went on a cruise that stopped at four different places in the Caribbean each time we would embark on the island with no intention of doing as most of the tourists would. Instead of shopping around like the rest of the tourists we would talk to the locals and see what were the things that we should do and see before we left one of those places. We would always ask where was the best place to get authentic food from the region so we would at least know what it was like to eat as a local in the area. At least in this sense we would help the local economy flourish instead of the big businesses that would set up shop and try to reap all of the benefits.

Since embarking on my own journey with no plans as to where I am to go and not knowing anyone until making my own friends once landing here, I am doing my best to be the mindful traveler and become a part of the community that I am living in. As Rolf Potts said, “Go slow. Respect people. Practice humility, and don’t condescend with your good intentions. Make friends. Ask questions. Listen.” (Slimbach, 86.) These are the things that I think are important in order to become a part of the community. When I walk around the streets, I try not to look like the typical tourist that takes pictures of everything because it is new. I think one of the most important pieces of advice that I was given before leaving home was to live in the moment because you will never get another experience like this. I am succeeding in my goal of making friends with locals and becoming a part of their social circles; I have learned so much just from having conversations about the differences between here and home and I feel like by understanding the people who are a part of the community I become a little closer to not being seen as an outsider.

In thinking about how these concepts might relate to the working definition of global community, we must remember the definition that we have set in place. “A global community is a shared living space of interdependent individuals endowed with universal human rights, while choosing to act up on them, embracing differences, and working toward a common goal.” I think the definition that we created as a class directly relate to the definition of a mindful traveler. In thinking about the characteristics that a mindful traveler might have, we can see through our definition that it is a shared living space between us, the mindful traveler, and the community in which we are living. As each of us is empowered with universal human rights, we all choose to act upon them and as we spend more time in the community and learning about the community we soon immerse ourselves in the community. That is why when you talk to people who have already studied abroad, all they wish to do is go back because this soon becomes our home. As a mindful traveler, we come into a community with differences; whether they are the color of our skin, the language that we speak or even the pronunciations of our words, we are seen as an outsider. As we spend more time in the community and learn to emplace the differences, both from our side and theirs, we all work towards a common goal of acceptance. By thinking through the definition we created as a class I feel that we covered all of the necessary points that help to define a global community. At this moment in time I do not think there is a need to make any changes to the definition, but that may change as the time spent here on my journey goes on.

Through the discussion of the mindful traveler, I do believe that mindful traveling is a key characteristic, but it may also be the characteristic that defines international participants of the global community. The reason I say this is because in order to be labeled as a mindful traveler, you must have immersed yourself in a community and become a part of it even if it were for a short period of time. The global community is always changing as more and more people join. There are similarities and differences between those who are a part of the community but we all work towards a common goal. In order to be able to label myself as a mindful travel I believe that “educational travel must dispose us, first of all, to seek out and welcome all reflections of truth, goodness, and beauty in the lives of those we met.” My goal when coming here was to make friends away from home and become a part of their community and I think I have done just that. By learning from the people we meet on our journeys our perception of the rest of the world will have been altered. One of the first questions I asked my friends was what their perception of the United States was and they asked me the same of the United Kingdom. Through shared experiences, we have learned from each other and enriched our own lives and that I believe is what it means to be a mindful

This journey is not only about living in a different land, but its about finding out who you are in relation to the global community and the impact that you might have.  I see this picture and quote as something that I am aspiring to follow while on this journey.  By traveling to a distant land, I am strengthening my mind through experiences and friendships that I most likely wouldn’t have if I didn’t take this risk.  There is no way of telling how something’ll turn out until you do it so that is why I journeyed here without knowing anyone to figure out if I could make it on my own.

TL6: “The Mindful Traveler” by Kari Julien Trice -Barcelona, Spain

I have been living here in Barcelona for over a month now and it is unbelievable how fast the time has gone by. I now have started to feel like I am becoming a part of the community and less like a person just visiting a country. The employees at the supermarket recognize me, I know how to get around the city better, and I have learned the certain phrases that are used here in Barcelona. Although there is still much more for me to learn, I feel that I am adapting to the culture here and I am feeling more comfortable with the atmosphere that surrounds me.

As each of us go through this process we can consider ourselves to be “mindful travelers.” Slimbach describes a mindful traveler as someone who is curious and understanding of the different culture they are entering into and a person who is accepting of the host country’s customs. Many of us decided to study abroad to immerse ourselves into a new culture and experience self-growth with the community we are now surrounded by. “The “new” mindful traveler aims to be sensible, sensitive, sophisticated, and sustainable” (Kindle 1563). As mindful travelers we are open to expanding our knowledge and immersing ourselves into a culture that will create a new “self.” Slimbach also mentions the “carefree drifter,” or “mass tourist.” This is a person who is unaware of the personal growth and cultural differences that surround him or her when traveling to another country. For the carefree drifter, they only want to experience the glamour of being in another country, they do not see past that idea and do not understand the personal growth that comes from immersing into a different culture.

Most of us are creatures of habit. Our tendency is to do things- including travel-related things- on automatic pilot, largely oblivious to the moments themselves and how they impact the world around us (Kindle 1437).

The carefree drifter does not know how to venture out of their comfort zone and embrace the global diversity.

In our workshop we defined a global community as being “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.” I think our definition has a lot of good points in defining global community. We acknowledge that there are cultural differences within a community. I think that I would also add that a global community promotes self-growth. There is much to learn in this study abroad experience, especially when making intercultural relationships and learning more from the host culture.

I think that those who want to successfully become a part of the host community and achieve self-growth need to incorporate the idea of mindful traveling. Some students choose to study abroad to just have fun and party, but many of us are in another country to learn more about this world that we live in. I feel that throughout this experience I have been incorporating mindful traveling and will continue to do so and even more. I attempt to speak Spanish with each store I walk into or local I meet, and I have interacted with many locals here by going to dance classes in Barcelona and participating in the activities my program provides.

The picture I choose to post here represents one important aspect of mindful traveling. It is important to step outside of our comfort zones and to try something new. In order to get the best out of this experience, we must be willing to take chances on things that we would not consider the norm, or things that seem different than what we are used to.


Travel Log 6, “The Mindful Traveler” by Brandon Lyons – Florence, Italy

Before my semester abroad I thought that there were only two types of people when it comes to traveling: those who do and those who don’t. However through my study abroad experience (and with a little help from Slimbach in Becoming World Wise) I have been able to recognize that there are, in fact, many different kinds of travelers. According to Slimbach there are three general types of travelers: the mass tourist, the carefree drifter and, finally, the mindful traveler. The mass tourist is generally the type of person you see in all major cities at all major tourist attractions. When I think of mass tourists, I think of people you see in large tour groups with fanny packs and selfie sticks. The mass tourist is someone that I’m sure we have all been able to identify with at one point. For example, I personally have traveled to Rome and Paris and in both cities I found myself constantly on the move trying to cram everything I possibly could into a limited amount of time. After being in Florence for over a month I have noticed these kinds of people more and more each day. This is not necessarily a bad thing when visiting a new place, seeing first hand places and buildings that you have only seen on postcards, but Simbach stresses the importance of going beyond this level of tourism when traveling in order to really experience the place you are visiting. The carefree drifter, on the other hand, is someone with no concrete plans that just kind of goes with the flow when traveling to a new place. Although this is a good way to go deeper into a city and discover new things, it also has its downsides. For example, several weekends ago I went to Venice for its world famous celebration of Carnevale. Instead of mapping out a route and making plans in advance, my roommate and I decided to “get lost” in the city and wander down different streets. It was definitely a great way to explore this city that was unfamiliar to us, however there were many times throughout the day when we felt lost and found ourselves walking in big circles.

Finally, there is the mindful traveler. The mindful traveler is someone who not only travels through a new place, but also makes an impact on the places they travel to. According to Slimbach, “every intercultural program participant is potentially a bridge between peoples, enabling an empathetic, two-way learning process that can be deeply rewarding for host and guest alike,” and the mindful traveler is someone who works to create this bridge between “us” and “them” (87). During our seminar back at Quinnipiac we, as a class, came up with the following working definition of global community: the 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. After reading about the mindful traveler, I think our definition of global community is very appropriate. It includes embracing differences and working toward common goals to make the world a better place. Going forward I definitely want to try my best to keep this definition in mind with each new place I travel to. I will strive to be this “bridge between peoples” and become an integral part of the global community.