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