On page 35 through 36 in Becoming World Wise, Richard Slimbach describes a common trend among American students abroad, citing them as having a “consumerist/entitlement” mentality […] [and] of many American students abroad who acquire “…little of the new cultural knowledge, language ability, and perspective change that marks a well-traveled mind”. In my own travels I have encountered this negative reflection of American students. Particularly I’ve seen this portrayal in bars and in university classrooms here where as I can plainly see, American students are being disrespectful of the culture they are immersed in. It is a painful sight to observe when I look upon a fellow American student so engrossed in his or her own judgement, complaints, and habits that they cannot even open their eyes to the beauty of the foreign culture that surrounds them. On the other hand, I have found a great number of fellow students who are committed to understanding and being a part of the culture. It really has been eye opening to impart my knowledge I have gained from this blog experience and to hear like-minded thoughts and support from many of my peers. It reminds me that I am not alone in this rite of passage. To fight the negative stereotype which has plagued many of my compatriots in this time we have abroad, my friends and I have dedicated ourselves to bettering our Spanish language skills and to embrace the different sides of the Spanish culture which are averse to American traditions. It is important to note that as much as possible we opt to walk around Seville and start up conversations with locals to gain more perspective on the city we live in. I think what has been highly important to transcending this stereotype is the simple act of neglecting our American habits. I try not drink heavily when I go out. I speak as much Spanish as I am capable of. I have picked up things like wearing similar clothing to the Spanish style. Overall I have studied how Spanish people act and have tried to emulate them in mannerisms and their enthusiasms. It is something as easy as going to a bar to watch futbol, (soccer), instead of going to the bar that shows American sports. Another thing which has helped me to better discount this classic imprint of an American studying abroad is by treating this city like it is my permanent home. I have made lasting relationships with people here, and I treat the city with respect as I would to my hometown in America.
Slimbach, Richard. Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning. Sterling, Va: Stylus Pub., LLC, 2010. Print.