Throughout chapter two of Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning, Slimbach discusses how many people abuse their experiences abroad. He explains that many travelers take part in activities that are for their own personal advantage and are meant to be self-satisfying. Slimbach wants travellers to find themselves “comprehending the world in order to remake it” (Slimbach, location 880 of 4428). He wants people to use their global learning experience to work towards changing the world for the better. Global learning is not limited to learning about the countries that one visits. Rather, a huge aspect of global learning is about discovering yourself. When Slimbach states “If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within,” he refers to how global learning can unearth whom you really are inside. As my experience abroad comes to an end, in my own journey I can see what Slimbach is speaking of. While I absorbed the culture and learned about many different aspects of the European countries I visited, I learned just as much about myself and who I am. One experience I would recommend to any student travelling abroad is to do a solo trip. I travelled to Alicante, Spain on my own for a weekend, and in this one trip I learned almost more about myself than in my entire trip. I discovered what I was capable of, and this gave me confidence. I also learned about some of my flaws, and this gave me insight on what I could work on to better my way of life.
When your experience abroad proves successful in helping you to discover yourself, you return from you experience feeling more whole. Through global learning about yourself you can fill the voids that had pushed you to partake in self-serving and self-gratifying activities. Without the need to participate in such activities, you can focus on the real issue at hand. Slimbach reiterates throughout chapter two that we must set a goal for a better earth, and as daunting as the task may seem we must work towards changing aspects of society to something healthier for both people and the environment. I think taking part in such a task is what can qualify someone as a global citizen. I will take what I’ve learned and observed about global connections to help alter how I live my life in a way that is better for this earth.
With this adventure in Spain and Europe coming to a close, I can’t help but feel sad. I keep saying to myself, I can’t believe it’s almost over. Three and a half months went by in what seemed like three weeks, and it’s difficult to comprehend one of the best times of my life coming to an end. One thing I’ll really miss is my favorite café, Puiggros, in Barcelona. Sure, you can find cafés in the U.S., but not like this one. The atmosphere couldn’t be more inviting for enjoying your coffee or tea and some of the best pastries the city has to offer. These past few days I have been returning to Puiggros each day, trying to hold on to one of my favorite places. I did this as a way to say goodbye. I take solace in the fact that I gave myself time to fully experience and enjoy this café, and I won’t return home feeling like I didn’t allow myself enough time there. I believe that these actions, such as saying goodbye, will help me move into the phase of reincorporation. By revisiting and saying goodbye to things that I love about Europe, I can choose what I want to hold on to and incorporate into my new being when I return. I also think saying goodbye will help me to move smoothly into the reincorporation phase without slipping back into the liminal phase. Many of us know the quote by Alexander Graham Bell “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us”. I believe that my actions will help me to see that new door that is opened by my return home.
Slimbach, Richard. Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Pub. LLC., 2010. Kindle.