Slimbach says that global learning can take us within the world around us, this is especially important for study abroad students because the opportunity to live abroad for a few months while in your 20’s is once in a lifetime for nearly everyone. This places so much emphasis on how important study abroad is for personal development and how that personal development at such a young age can lead to important contributions to the global community later in life or even in the present. Becoming a “global citizen” means being aware of the rest of the world and for many people it is hard to do that without caring. This care comes from experiencing other cultures first hand and so, unfortunately, not all people truly become a global citizen. Of course, traveling the whole world is not necessary to become a global citizen, a thorough experience with another culture can happen at home. I have experienced cultures here more than just Italian through travel and even more than just European, carrying this forward for me will mean sharing my experiences with other people and trying to open their eyes to create a greater sense of equality. This equality can serve as a bridge to transforming more people into global citizens, which could be world-changing. “To change the world requires that we change our consciousness, the stories we live by…One quality that seems to stand out above all: a steadfast vision” (Slimbach, p. 44).
I plan to revisit the places that I have come to love over my four months in Florence, especially Piazzale Michelangelo. This place has become truly special to me as it is for nearly everyone who visits it and even more so for those who study here and get a bit more time here. My first trip there was with six girls who I could only call roommates, we were strangers then. The air was hot then and we praised every breeze that blew, now we turn away from the wind and rush home to escape the cold. Piazzale Michelangelo offers a beautiful view of the city and I also plan to venture to Fiesole and San Miniato, rumor has it that the view is even better from there. I also plan to revisit some of my favorite restaurants before I leave. I have been very emotional as of the past few weeks and I know these outings will only make it more obvious that my time here is up. Seeing the Christmas tree go up in front of the Duomo was really special and sitting on the steps of the Duomo admiring it is on my list of things to do so I can really reflect on this time. As much as I am not ready to go home, I do have a lot to look forward to- of course family and friends and most importantly my dog. I am lucky enough to take a trip to Foxboro to see the Patriots play then day after I arrive in America and then to Disney a few weeks later! Still, nothing can replace this place but nothing can ever take it away. I can’t believe how much I’ve done here and it’s sad to think I won’t ever get the same experience again although I have definitely caught the travel bug for sure!
“The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
This quote really embodies my experience because so many people, including myself, go through life simply accomplishing the motions of a simple life, day in and day out, but that’s not living a life. That doesn’t contribute anything to one’s personality or character and it certainly doesn’t contribute anything to the world. Study abroad has showed me that life is more than just looking to the future and that money is much better spent on experiences than on items. Tangible things come and go, they can be broken, go out of style and get lost…but experiences are irreplaceable and can never be taken away.