Slimbach’s opinion of many abroad students being entitled and having a judgmental consumerist mentality is not far from the truth. Through my time in Barcelona I have encountered a wide variety of students who embody this and prove this wrong. I agree that there are many students who study abroad to simple indulge upon the luxuries of another country and party at the european clubs and drink cheap alcohol. As he said studying abroad for some students is “No more than sightseeing with a syllabus” (Slimback 35). I have been guilty of this before as I have during the beginning of this trip judged everything by the standards of home and had a comparist mentality. Thankfully I have grown to appreciate the differences of my host country, one specific reference I can think of is now I thoroughly enjoy sitting down to eat for extended periods of time unlike when I landed and was extremely impatient of such things. Interacting with locals and engaging to bring value to the host country is how you can have a more impactful experience rather than having a “American college experience in a different time zone” (Slimbach 36)
Many believe that this is impossible but having an attitude that you cannot change or influence the host country is dangerous. There is a higher purpose to life/travel/study than mere indulgence; you can bring value to people and your host country. One way in which we can bring value to our host country will be during week 11 onsite where we will serve locals in the community. Our program offers to set this service day up for us and I am very excited to give back to the people who have provided me with such an amazing experience. I can remember one of the best weeks of my life was a service trip to Jamaica to serve at the Mustard Seed orphanage where we spent the whole week caring for and serving the children in the community. It was truly a life changing experience and I hope that one day I am able to return to serve them again. Engaging with the community in a service based way is an amazing opportunity that should be taken advantage of by every student abroad. I myself will encourage students in API who are not in QU301 to participate in the day of service offered and I hope that they take advantage of it.