Travel Log 12 Service by Steven Schnittger Lugano, Switzerland

For my community service I chose to spend my Earth Day cleaning up a lake near Switzerland. I was actually very happy to do it because it had been my first time since January doing any sort of manual labor which is something I really enjoy doing when I am home. I should clarify however that this was the only community service even I could find in the Lugano area. Lugano is a truly wealthy area with some of the lowest unemployment and poverty rates in the entire world so soup kitchens and clothing drives were hard to come by. The lake clean up was put on by my school and ran by my Freshwater Conservation professor, who I had just recently spent two weeks with in Slovenia, and a woman from one of the environmental societies in Switzerland.

They explained that for all of the things Switzerland does right, especially in terms of the environment, Lugano in particular occasionally has a tough time balancing being environmentally friendly and things looking nice. The issue we were tackling that day was getting rid of two of the most destructive invasive species in Lugano, bamboo and palm trees. The real kicker though was that both of these plants are still sold in nurseries and stores around Lugano. These two trees out-competed and eventually suffocated the other plants around them leading to much less biodiversity which is horrible for the ecosystem. So our crew went to pull out and cut down these plants and hopefully give back to an area that I have enjoyed running in all semester long.

I find great personal and communal benefit to volunteering at home but especially here abroad. I always feel great after working a hard day and enjoy the idea of giving back, but contributing to a community that I have been calling home for a few months now was invaluable. I really hope that the hours we spent down by the lake will have a lasting effect on the area because I felt that we did the right thing. In general, it is important to give back to the communities that have given us so much in terms of experiences and memories. Being a part of this Global Community it is important to work toward certain goals that move forward the world in the right direction, and making areas more environmentally-sound is one of them. I really appreciated this experience because without having it in my head that I should give something back I likely would have never done this. Having this class to make me more aware of my surroundings and the great opportunities that studying abroad have given me has made me infinitely more gracious.

Some of my key takeaways that cleaning up the lake and my freshwater class in general have given me are a greater realization to how bad the rest of the world has it. The biggest problem facing a place like Lugano is what kind of plant life they have growing around a lake, and the biggest problem facing the Quinnipiac Community is a lack of housing. Meanwhile I just did a project on how over two times the population of the United States does not have access to even remotely clean drinking water and the entire country of India will likely be in poverty for many years to come because water companies control the government with an iron fist because the monopoly that gives the water threatens to shut it off every time the government doesn’t do what the company wants. The class, community service experience, and study abroad as a whole has really put into perspective how good I have it.

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Enter a caption “Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It takes certain kind of people to actually serve their community and that is why I enjoy the company of those that do serve.

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Travel Log 13: Cord Belding

As an American I feel that my life is perceived around the world to be too fruitful, as in I have too much appreciation for material things.  And so, this would create, based on that stereotype, to mean that when I travel to a place like Barcelona, that I will not immerse myself into their culture because I am too caught up in my own.  For me, this couldn’t be further from the truth.  I use my phone solely to contact people now (I know, how weird), and instead of passing my time watching TV and sitting around, I find myself walking around to a new place, because I have still managed to find new spots.  If I have an hour or two to burn, I will sit on the steps of a cathedral and watch the people walk by, observe the street performers, or even just listen to music and daydream.  As an American, my life ritual is defined by other cultures as materialistic, and I would agree.  However, what Barcelona has done for me is incredible, as I now know what it’s like to enjoy my time alone, talking to strangers, traveling to a new place, and enjoying the life in front of me instead of being worried about what is behind me.  I’ve become more self aware and realized the areas in which I needed to improve, and for once did something about it.  So yes, Americans do not exactly have a life ritual to speak of, but if you ask me, it is something to appreciate that as an American, I can adapt; my culture at home isn’t set in stone.  Americans may not have a life ritual, but everybody can live the life they choose and even if the life they chose isn’t what they wanted it to be, the beauty of America is the ability to change.  I’ve changed, and so can everyone else.

My digital story recaps the life I lived for the past 3 months, and all of the places I’ve seen, and the relationships I’ve begun to grow.  The saddest part of the trip is leaving Barcelona, and with it everything I have known for the past 3 months.  I’m leaving behind my new friends, traveling, the food, the weather, the culture, and a certain piece of myself.  I wanted to stress my time abroad through a story that revolves around my favorite activity of skiing.  I’m on top of the mountain looking down at what I’m about to do, ergo the first time I stepped foot in Spain and saw the new place I was about to conquer.  It wasn’t until I made it halfway down the mountain that I looked up and saw everything that had already passed by, fortunately I still had more time until I got to the bottom, until I end my program.  And now, with the last few turns to be made on the mountain, and just a week or two to go, I’m looking back up at what I have accomplished, the things I’ve seen and done.  My time abroad has been a challenging mountain, but a smooth one; a fun, yet rigorous path.  The things that i have learned about myself not only have transitioned me into a more self reliant person, but also a better friend, student, and soon to be colleague, as I will never forget this experience and I’ll carry this journey down the mountain with me forever, and I have a new piece of artwork to prove it.

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Travel log 14: “Global Connections & Rites of Separation” by Meghan Thorogood Florence, Italy

It is hard to believe that my time in Italy comes to an end in just eight days. Stepping off the plane and moving into my apartment feels like it was only yesterday. The past four months have gone by in the blink of an eye. Everyone warned me how fast time goes by when you are abroad, but I didn’t believe them. Now here I am, reminiscing on these past four short months that have forever changed my life. I have developed new friendships with all different kinds of people. I have found bliss in alone time and I’ve learned more about myself than I ever imagined possible. Coming abroad I did not know what I was looking for, but somehow I found exactly what I needed. I do not know how to put my transformation into words, but I have seen a positive change within myself.

 

In the beginning, I was nervous about coming abroad, but I never let anyone else in on that secret. I have never lived on my own before, let alone in a foreign city. But on the other side of that maximum fear and nervousness are some of the best things in life. Now, I am finding it more difficult than I thought to say goodbye. Don’t get me wrong, I am a Boston girl. I have so much pride and love for Boston. I grew up with that city and I feel like it is apart of me. However, I never thought a city could have the same impact on me until I came to Florence. I am forever grateful to Florence for giving me this newfound sense of confidence and independence. I have truly found home here in Florence. With that being said, I have mixed feelings about leaving my new home. I am excited to head back to the states and be reunited with family and friends. But I know I will miss living life abroad. I am beginning to see that the reincorporation phase of the Rites of Passage process is going to be more difficult then I expected.

 

A quote that expresses how I feel right now is, “the world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page” by St. Augustine. This quote describes how I feel because I feel like I have added so many pages to my story yet there is still so much more left to come. I have been to ten different countries and twenty five different city in a matter of four months. If someone were to tell me that before I left I would’ve told them they were crazy. From Barcelona, Spain to Corfu, Greece, I have seen it all. The warm beaches of Sicily and the snowy swiss alps, I have checked off many chapters, if the world was indeed a book. I also like this quote because it does not highlight the fact that my time traveling has come to an end, but rather implies that there are so many chapters left to be discovered. “If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within” (Slimbach 54). Through global learning, I have become a more aware global citizen. I have learned more about the world, and myself, through experiencing how each culture is different, yet allwork together to shape the world.

 

Works Cited

Slimbach, Richard. Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Pub., LLC, 2010. Print.

Travel Log 14: “Global Connections & Rites of Seperation” By Mitchell McGowan. Gold Coast, Australia

“If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into the world within.” (Slimbach p.54).

I cannot agree more with Slimbach regarding global learning. I feel as though we need to accept the reasons we are here studying abroad. Acknowledging the opportunity in front of us and embracing the idea that we are living and learning in a new environment, allows us to see the various pathways that can teach us more about the world around us. If one were to be narrow minded, that would be shutting the door on multiple doorways that may help with individual growth. The part of Chapter Two that stuck with me was talking about personal identity exploration. Slimbach writes, “Leaving home for distinct locations only intensifies this identity exploration.” (Slimbach LOC 840). This part stuck out to me the most because I have recently noticed how I am individually different compared to the person I used to be. While I am back in the United States, I feel like I am heavily influenced by my friends and family. While I am in Australia, I feel like I am on my own. Therefore, I feel as though the decisions I make are my own, which has in many cases led me to new opportunities and experiences.

These new experiences have shown me other aspects of life that, as Americans, we may not find as valuable to Australians. I feel like the biggest skills needed to become a global citizen would just be open-minded and understanding. We often see situations play out here and we often look at Australians with confusion. We do not understand other people until we walk in their shoes. An example would be when we first came to Australia and sat in our orientation to learn about Australian culture. Our program employees explained to us how they were closely watching the elections in the United States, and were nervous how the change in politics would change Australian politics. I had not realized that the whole world basically changes because of the actions of the United States. It showed me that, on both a small and large scale, our actions have consequences that impact people all over the world. I plan to go home, and continue to be more conscious of how my actions impact the people around me.

As for my friends here in Australia, I have worked closely with a group partner and friend through all of my classes. I really think it would be cool to go to a local restaurant and have some Australian style of cooking before I go back, and talk with my friend about the places I have been in Australia. I want to also plan to hopefully return to Australia, or have them visit me in Boston.

As I get closer to returning to the United States, I am both excited and sad at the same time. I really do love Australia because the people and land are so beautiful. I know that when I return home, I will miss the Australian beach lifestyle. On the other hand, I really miss my family and friends back home, and I feel as though I have been gone for so long that I don’t really remember what life was like back in Massachusetts. I am ready to return back home as a new and improved version of myself. I know that leaving Australia will be a sad time; I know that sometime in my future, I will come back to the Gold Coast.

A quote that I think would explain how I feel right now comes from F. Scott Fitzgerald. He said, “It’s a funny thing, coming home. Nothing changes. Everything looks the same, feels the same, even smells the same. You realize what’s changed is you.” I know when I return back home, everything will be the same. My neighborhood will be the same, my room will be untouched. The only difference is that I am not the same person. The important thing is, while the environment hasn’t changed, I have returned a better person.

 

Work Cited:

Slimbach, R. (2010). Becoming world wise: a guide to global learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Pub., LLC. LOC840

Travel Log 14: Global Connections & Rites of Separation by Alexandra Holmes – Broadbeach, Australia

 

I am currently sitting in my apartment for the last Thursday that I may ever be in Australia. I get choked up writing these words. All those who have studied abroad before me have said how fast time flies and they are right. It feels as if yesterday I was moving in and now I am begin to pack up and move out. Four months ago, I was longing for a sense of home. But now I have realized that I have found my home. I have luckily found new friendships that tested me. I found life long friends who have helped me to develop into a better person. I found a place where I truly feel relaxed. I found all this and now I have to leave it behind.

A quote that I enjoy is, “don’t cry because its over, but smile because it happened” by Dr. Seuss.  This quote describes the exact feeling that I have right now. I want to cry because my experience is coming to an end. The possible best four months of my life will be over in five days. But, I need to take this and remember all the incredible times that I have had. I need to remember the sunrises and sunsets on beaches in three different countries. I need to remember the terrible hostels where we stayed up all night laughing because it was too hot to sleep. I need to remember all the crazy adventures that may have gone too far. All these amazing memories that I hope to never forget.

To say goodbye we all had a family dinner. Everyone brought a different dish and we sat outside on the patio. This was a bittersweet moment. There was so much happiness because we were all together. But, so much sadness because it may be the last time we are all together again.

I am nervous for my reincorporation phase of this Rite of Passage. I am still not ready to leave behind my home in Australia. I am nervous for how I will feel when I return to America but also excited to see my friends and family. I am extremely nervous for the “post abroad depression” that everyone seems to get. I am hoping to find a way to adjust back to my old life style and hope to find a way to continue to find new adventures and new friends.

Richard Slimbach believes that “If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within” (Slimbach 54). This quote is extremely relevant to my study abroad experience. I believe that I have not only broadened my horizons of the world around me but I have also learned a few things about myself on the way.

I hope to take from my experience abroad as something more than just an adventure with new friends. Visiting Bali has opened my eyes to the level of poverty in the world. I met a boy who worked forty hours a week to make enough money to send his brother and sister to school. The boy himself never had the chance to go to school because he could never afford it. Seeing this has sparked my interest in mission trips to under developed countries. In order to make a difference, I need to have a vision. A vision is “an act of seeing, an imaginative perception of what should and could be” (Slimbach Loc 907). I have yet to come up with my exact vision. I hope by coming home and speaking with others who have traveled abroad, I will be able to develop a clear vision. It is impossible to change the entire world, but if I can find one thing to focus on, such as lack of education opportunities in Bali, then that is a start.

Travel log 14: “Global Connections and Rites of Separation” By Ryan Bonitz. Barcelona, Spain.

In Becoming World Wise, Slimbach states: “If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within” (pg 54). I believe that this quote perfectly sums up my abroad experience here in Barcelona. It took time for me, but I feel as though I have come to connect with both the world around me and the world within me. This discovery took a great deal of time and effort for me, especially because I did not search for these two worlds simultaneously. Upon my arrival in Spain, I immediately neglected my world within in order to focus on my new surroundings. I did everything I could to understand and partake in Catalan culture. Since day one, I have made an effort to speak only in Spanish, eat only at local restaurants, walk the long way home, and work my way farther from the touristy areas. This has allowed me to become more comfortable with my surroundings. Although my American roots are evident just by my hair color and attire, I feel that those I interact with often have accepted me as a local, not a tourist. I vividly remember my professor Toni saying to us that “if you put in the effort and want to be a Catalan, then we will see you as a Catalan.” This transition from tourist to accepted local took a long time, but I believe that it gave me a nice push into the process of finding this new world within. I have always experienced self-doubt, so when I arrived in this new country surrounded by people I didn’t know, I began to lose sight of how important being an individual is. As perfectly stated by Slimbach, “it doesn’t take much, they say, for casualness to turn to self-containment, curiosity to conservatism, and a sense of world discovery to intellectual timidity” (pg 41). The process of assimilating to Catalan culture gave me a push to remove myself from this shell, because I had to get out and learn to be comfortable being alone. It was evident fairly quickly that I wasn’t going to assimilate to the culture or find this inner world by sticking with a big group of students. These few months have really taught me to become comfortable in my own skin, and I couldn’t be happier about that. “The upshot is this: To change the world requires that we change our consciousness, the stories we live by” (pg 44).

I feel as though this experience has made me a much greater global citizen. For instance, I understand and appreciate the many cultures that surround me more than I could have ever imagined before. I have learned that although different, each culture has something to contribute to this world. This heightened awareness for my surroundings is something that I am very grateful to the study abroad experience for. Separating from this world is going to be incredibly difficult, however I plan to do everything I can to make this transition as easy as possible. Tomorrow, my friends and I will be going out to lunch where we first met in January. I think this is the perfect way of coming full circle. It will be an emotional goodbye, but it doesn’t mean that it’s goodbye forever.

Mark Twain’s famous quote “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover” perfectly sums up my experience abroad. I have learned to embrace every obstacle that has been thrown my way by becoming comfortable with the fact that nothing will ever be perfect. In the midst of these imperfections have been some of the greatest memories.

Works Cited

Slimbach, Richard. Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Pub., LLC, 2010. Print.

Travel Log 13: Connecting Rites of Passage and Digital Storytelling

I am not sure if I agree or not that there is an absence of rites of passage within the American community and even further if I feel that it then hurts the Global Community as a whole. If we are set up to only expect change during rites of passage do we not then as a society eschew change when it comes in other forms or from unexpected places. By confining ourselves to change only at certain times it keeps people from being open to change in many other ways during many other times. “Rites of passage cannot be seen as “just another program.” It requires rethinking the connection between youth and community development,” (Blumenkrantz, 5). There, however, I agree needs to be a clear distinction between a rite of passage and change that occurs throughout life.

I think in the United States rites of passage come more from religions. A communion, a bar/bat mitzvah or a confirmation. Besides these religious rites all I can think of popularly in America is a quinceñera. What is interesting is that in general religious participation in the US is on a very strong downturn. In general I think that people need to find more assurance in their own ability to change and feel more comfortable in themselves and their own change instead of basing it off their commitment to a specific organization. It is easier and more meaningful to change for yourself instead of for outside pressures.

Silence has been a very big space for me to change while abroad and in general it has become a larger joy of mine. I am very outgoing and can carry a conversation with most people but over my time here I have learned to appreciate silence. In many moments I even prefer it to sound. After putting your body under the constant strain of travel it is nice to just be in quiet for a little. When you see something truly amazing it is more meaningful to do so in silence because you get to take in the full effect of what you are seeing in all of your senses.

Giving away one’s previous behavior has been a large base of change for me as well. I was bullied when I was younger and this has had a lasting effect on my growth. Since then, I have always worked to have the most amount of people like me as possible, holding things in or bending over backwards for them. I let people walk over me in a way. Recently I have been working to be authentically me in all ways and this means that if something makes me unhappy I have the right to express that. These two things can come into direct contention with each other and more and more frequently do. It is in this shedding of niceties that I am finding more ability to be authentically how I am and want to be. I stand up for myself and if someone is rude to me I will say something instead of letting it just go.

Connection to ancestral roots has also become more important to me. I have been thinking a lot about my grandparents and how they act. All of them are very successful and have become, seemingly, who they want to be. It has been interesting looking at them as examples and role models to live my life by. The courage with which they ask for things or move about the world is very interesting and clearly comes from how they have been raised and gone through life.

Travel log 14: “Global Connections and Rites of Separation” by Kirsten Fraser. Christchurch, New Zealand

On page 54, Slimbach states, “If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within.” (2010, pg. 54) I particularly enjoy this quote and I believe my experiences reflect it. I have truly experience global learning connecting me to the world around me. When visiting other countries such as New Zealand, Australia, Bali, it was exciting to learn about their culture and country. I noticed the biggest difference when visiting Bali, as much of the country lives in poverty and their culture is quite different from my own. It reminded me of Slimbach’s quote when discussing how to be a ‘mindful’ traveler. He states, “To be a “mindful traveler” is to approach our field settings with a level of sensitivity and curiosity that’s raises our conscious awareness of how we affect the social and natural environment we enter and act upon. This intentional awareness finds its ground and inspiration in a “story” that clarifies our motivations and allows higher purposes to guide our attempt to grow in wordily wisdom while enriching the lives of others. Ultimately this is what distinguishes the mindful traveler from the carefree drifter or mass tourist”. (2010, pg. 74) I tried to be sure to be a ‘mindful’ traveler when in Bali, dressing quite conservatively especially when visiting the temples. I attempted to immerse myself in their culture, to truly learn and understand the differences between my own.

However, I think to connect to the world within one must reflect on such experiences. Visiting Bali reminded me of the documentary Half the Sky. Similar issues do occur in Bali, we even noticed that women were treated much differently than men. I traveled with one man and three women including myself; venders would approach the man in our group first and be much more aggressive when trying to sell him something. Our driver was also a male and it was quite evident that he felt much more comfortable talking with the man in our group than the women. Thankfully, this was all I had experienced; however, human trafficking is a large problem within this country. Hearing of this reminded me of the work the Somaly Mam within the documentary. She is quite an inspiration; however, there is only one of her. It made me wonder how the rest of the world can help. To me, being a member of the global community is helping those less fortunate; an accident of birth allowed me to have access to all the opportunities I do. Therefore, upon completion of my degree, I want to work abroad providing healthcare to those who do not readily have access to it.

Sadly, I know it is soon time to say goodbye to the new friends I have made here and all the places I have come to know as home. Saying goodbye to the beautiful beaches a few steps from my doorstep is going to be difficult, but saying goodbye to my friends is going to be even harder. Luckily, some of the friends I have made attend Quinnipiac so I will still be able to see them in the fall. However, for the others, we have already planned to have a ‘goodbye’ dinner. Thankfully, most of them live a drivable distance from me so we can have reunions frequently. As my departure comes closer, I have realized how much I love Australia and would love to someday move here. I am trying to soak up as much of the places I love here before I leave, going to my favorite beaches and dinning at my favorite restaurants, but mostly spending time with the people I know I’ll miss once I return home. My looming departure reminds me of the quote, “Goodbyes are not forever, goodbyes are not the end. They simply mean I’ll miss you, until we meet again.” Although this is goodbye to my friends and Australia for now, I know there will be another hello in my future.

Slimbach, Richard. Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Pub., LLC, 2010. Print.

Travel Log #13 “Connecting Rites of Passage and Digital Storytelling” By Andrew Rivera Rome, Italy

the difference of cultures, and values that each country and cities have compared to the United States. Many times in the states it is always on the go, going from place to place, activity after activity, never slowing down to smell the roses. Here in Europe the culture is much more laid back, and not so on the move. Personally when I was in elementary school and all throughout high school I can specifically remember that my parents and siblings tried our best to have a family dinner every night. With school, after school activities, and work for my parent’s dinner was the only time for us to spend together during the weekdays. My mother always tried to have all of us at the dinner table, and that was a time you didn’t want to miss out on. Even when I am home from college in the summer and on long breaks my family continuously tries to be at dinner five days a week. Now being in Europe, spending time with family and friends is very important to their everyday lives. Specifically, their lunch time is very long so they are able to see each other and take time out of their day to do so.  I love seeing this because family time, and just family in general is very important to me. My mother instilled that value on me at a very young age and it has really stuck with me. Back in the states I don’t see much of community based rituals and gatherings taking place very often. Usually it only happens for a big occasion, like a graduation, birthday, anniversary. And this to me is very unusual. Not having dinner with family and not having family outings almost every weekend is weird for me. My family tries to meet every day, and we also try to meet my aunts, uncles, and grandparents on Sundays. I believe that the people that don’t do this is a problem for themselves and the global community. This is a huge problem because family is the most important aspect of life. From birth to death, the people who are with you the whole way is family. You are connected by blood, and no one can else can have that connection.

Digital stories are a way to express yourself through pictures and videos, and put your own twist on the video. Here you can be a creator and make something that is completely yours. In this day in age where people are shying away from television and watching more Netflix and YouTube videos the power is in your hands. From the beginning of the semester up to this point in time, many things about myself have changed. The placed I have visited, people I have met, experienced I have felt, have made me change for the better. I saw the world and now I will be able to share it through my perspective and how I saw it. The three elements that had the most impact on myself is community values and ethics, obligation to a larger community, and lastly personal change. These three elements are the ones that I feel impacted me the most. In my digital story I can talk about my new values, volunteering, and how studying abroad changed me for the better. I think that I can create a moving digital story that will convey many meaningful messages.

I connected with Rachel Cox’s digital story. The dialogue that followed the pictures were very truthful and honest. They were relevant and were able to get her message across with the pictures providing something to look at. She was just a small caterpillar starting a new journey in Paris, now she is a butterfly that is able to fly and explore and not be scared of anything.IMG_5620

Travel Log 13: “Connecting Rites of Passage and Digital Storytelling” by Steven Schnittger Venice, Italy

In terms of Rites of Passage, I agree with the authors Blumenkrantz and Goldstein that, “In the absence of meaningful community-based rituals, youth will define and create their own marker events based on peer or media values, many of which may be destructive both individually and communally.” When young people have nothing to strive for they either become lazy or mischievous. When there is nothing to do, and no person around to guide you to do something you will think of something on your own and these things are seldom constructive. When considering what kinds of people usually end up as criminals they usually had a poor upbringing that involved an absence of family and involvement. This is why I think parents should push their kids to get involved with extracurricular activities like sports, clubs, religion, or hobbies. It gives a sense of purpose and goals to work toward.

This is why I am happy that my parents always pushed me to be involved with the Boy Scouts. Although there were certain times that I no longer wanted to be involved because it seemed like too much work I am glad I did what I did and met the people I did. I truly look back on scouting with the fondest memories of any other portion of my life. Constantly having another hurdle to overcome with my friends really gave a sense of doing something even if a good portion of it is arbitrary.

The three Elements of Rites of Passage that I picked are all potential themes for my Digital Story. First is, you can only bring someone as far as you have been yourself. I think one of the most valuable things that people can do is share their experiences with one another. This entire time abroad has been one huge experience that I can share with friends, family, coworkers, bosses, interviewers, and a whole slew of other people. The amount I have grown and got out of my comfort zone has been huge for me and given me new ways that I hope I can inspire people. The second is silence. I spent lots of time during study abroad quiet and observing people. It is important to realize what the people around us are doing so we can act accordingly but also to see if anything they are doing can positively change us. And that brings me to my final theme which is, Giving away one’s previous attitudes, behaviors, etc. This has been the biggest change for me although I am not sure how to completely express it through a digital story. I have always quickly jumped to conclusions about people and decided very quickly whether or not I would write them off. What Switzerland and Franklin in particular have forced me to do is to take a second look at people and value them more for what makes them good people, rather than look down on them for something that may rub me the wrong way. Looking at Swiss people in particular, it has taken me awhile to get over the fact that very few people smile when they walk past you, yet if you stop to talk to them they can open up and give you a different opinion than the first one you formed.

Daniel Raza’s digital story was the one that resonated with me the most. Him talking about living with a family and biking to school a half an hour every day was something that I could not imagine. It really made me respect the comfort that I had back at school in Lugano where I had been complaining about the air-conditioning not working and the road outside being a little bit too loud. I think he did a great job at expressing what his living conditions were like so that when he went home people could understand a bit of the transformation that he underwent. I really respect him for doing what he did and coming out of it with such a positive outlook.