Travel Log 14: “Global Connections and Rites of Separation” by Steven Schnittger Paris France

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

 

I whole heartedly agree with the statement above. Just last night I was at a dinner here in Paris with one French woman, two Japanese men, one Japanese woman, and my father and I learned more through listening to their stories and viewpoints than I have during an entire semesters worth of classes. The things that we talked about ranged from American politics to daily commutes to tipping etiquette to the cosmetic industry (which was the purpose of the dinner). Sitting, listening, and contributing to these conversations forced me to look inward and examine my own beliefs on those topics and whether I considered them to be right. Earlier in the day my father and I were discussing if he saw any sexism or racism in his industry and he explained that it was such an uncommon occurrence that it was completely looked down upon whenever it did happen. Then sitting at dinner and seeing this completely diverse group of people talk to one another it really backed up what he had said and had me reaffirming that it does not matter what a person’s background is as long as they are kind people.

Going forward I know I will seek out different and global perspectives when it comes to stances I take. It is easy to fall into confirmation bias in today’s world when there is so many different viewpoints. Often times people fall into echo-chambers where their beliefs are reaffirmed and whenever they hear a differing opinion the other person must be crazy or uneducated on the topic. To take a look at a challenging viewpoint and truly take it into account is an important and powerful skill to have. And even if I don’t agree with the new perspective, understanding it and taking it into account will make me a better communicator.

There were two people that I truly bonded with during my time here in Lugano, one of them was another study abroad student and the other was my Freshwater Conservation professor. I quickly bonded with both of them while being here and it was very bittersweet to say goodbye to them. When saying goodbye to my professor I was only able to do it immediately following the final but I shook his hand and told him thank you for everything. Later in the week I sent him an email detailing what he had done for me, not only in terms of the class, but in terms of building a close relationship. He has gotten me interested in a completely new topic and has really inspired me to explore the Western United States. As far as the other student went he left a few days ago while I am still here in Europe. The night before he left we just sat in his living room, talked, ate, drank, and laughed. It wasn’t exactly a memorable night but it is something that I value being able to do. I really hate saying goodbye to people so it makes me feel uncomfortable but I understand the necessity of it. Saying goodbye to my professor was especially tough because the chances of me seeing him again are so slim. That is why it was so important for me to let him know he had made an impact on my life.

Because I am in Paris now and will only be spending a few more hours in Lugano I have already said goodbye to the city itself. I went and walked around downtown, going to the square, the park, and the small beach that I have so many memories at. Although I am fully prepared to go home Lugano has made a lasting impact on me and is still one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. I will go back there one day and I know that the memories that rush back when I do will be emotional.

 

Forrest Gump said, “My mama always said, dyin’ was a part of life. I sure wish it wasn’t. My mama always said, dyin’ was a part of life. I sure wish it wasn’t.” and this is how I feel about goodbyes. I never know the right time to say them or what to say when they are actually happening. It never seems fulfilling enough. Putting an end to something is probably a thing I will never be good at but I suppose it will encourage me to make sure that there is always a “next time.”

 

Works Cited

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

 

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