Slimbach talks negatively about the study abroad student who acquires “… little of the new cultural knowledge, language ability, and perspective change that marks a well-traveled mind” (Slimbach 35-36). At first reading this, I was a little offended at the generalization that Slimbach has made. After thinking about it for a while, I decided that I do agree with him. It seems that study abroad students want to get the most out of their experience in the short amount of time that they have in their country. This makes sense considering that everything is new to them. They began to book trips without even thinking about where they are going. I think that at one end of the spectrum, this makes sense for a study abroad student. You are paying a great sum of money to live in another country and want to make the most of it. But, on the other end of the spectrum, you are rushing through your experience without taking a second to breath. This constant traveling takes away from the time that should be spent on gaining cultural knowledge or language ability.
In Australia, it is hard to really learn a new language ability considering the language is the same, English. With that being said, there is a great deal of dialogue differences that I have begun to pick up on. For one, everyone says “cheers” or “mate”. They speak in a much friendlier tone. They also tend to not be in a rush when talking to you. I believe personally I have been trying to get everything out of my study abroad experience by appreciating everything around me. Unfortunately, I have come across the typical study abroad students. There are the students whose only concern is getting drunk. I have been a at the most beautiful beach in the world and people have wanted to leave so they could go to a bar. The thought of leaving a beach to go to a bar never even crossed my mind. I tend to stay back and enjoy Australia when the other students want to leave to go get drunk. Another example of the “entitlement” of a study abroad student would be the constant complaining of other students. Whether it be on a hike or just walking down the road, nothing can ever be good enough for some people.
I personally try to distance myself from people who consume their lives with complaining. I live my life by just being grateful for waking up every morning. I have tried my best to not be the typical study abroad student. I think fellow students could stray away from the path of a study abroad student by not thinking of themselves as a tourist but more as a local. By putting ourselves in a local’s shoe, we would appreciate our surroundings more. We would be less likely to act like an entitled tourist who thinks the country owes them something.
Another way to change the typical study abroad student would be to get involved in some type of volunteer organization. Whether it is a local hospital or a clean up the beach campaign, you would be making a difference. I think by making a difference you would feel more attached to the country you are in. You would have pride in your accomplishments and you would also be impacting the global community in a positive way. Another way could also be going out and looking for a job. By doing this you would be contributing to the community economically. By being more involved, the stigma of typical study abroad student will slowly fade away.