Travel Log 12 – “Service” – by Ryan Flagg, Tokyo, Japan

For this assignment, I took the train one day from my school in Yotsuya to a small street in Akihabara. There I met Satomi Degami, Volunteer Coordinator for the non-profit organization Second Harvest. Second Harvest is ultimately a food safety net. They provide safe and nutritious food in order to help those in need in the event of both national and personal emergency. I was able to talk briefly with Satomi, but because the week I visited was midterms and she was busy doing work, I was provided a helpful booklet that covered the group’s mission statement and information on what they do to help serve the community in Tokyo. Second Harvest’s goal is make sure everyone has enough food. Their tagline, “Food for all people,” makes this point clear. They believe that working with the community, volunteers and food donors such as Walmart Japan, Suntory, and Dole, to name a few, will help to provide individuals and families who lack food security. According to the booklet, in 2015 an estimated 4,022,649 meals were delivered to people across Japan. They hold a Harvest Kitchen every week with a little under 100 volunteers coming out to Ueno Park to help. They also provide groceries through different programs such as a direct pickup, food boxes and their mobile pantry. Second Harvest is probably best known for and chiefly executes their mission through their food bank. “Each month we distribute fresh, frozen, and nonperishable food to 260 welfare agencies, NPO’s, and faith-based groups in Kanto area as well as members of Second Harvest Japan Alliance.” On top of all this, the organization spends time to educate the community by going around to do research and perform public speaking sessions.

I think in terms of the way Americans communicate versus how Japanese communicate is very different. In my experience in the US, communication is a lot more laid back, and a lot of people don’t really care how you act in public. Here in Japan, gestures like posture, using your hands in conversation and even the art of silence are all held in high regard. For example, a common thing you’ll see is people putting their hands in front of their faces and bowing. This shows a level of respect and kindness towards others. It’s something you would commonly do if you were to say “arigatou” for example. The main difference I find in being quiet is fascinating to me. You’ll rarely come across someone who’s obnoxiously yelling or wooping all over the place (IE; the masses of Quinnipiac students that leave Toad’s every Saturday). The act of over-talking and talking too much is sometimes seen as disrespectful. Exchanging of business cards and credit cards is certainly a different aspect of culture compared to America. In the US, if you were to hand someone your business card or credit card, you’d do it almost nonchalantly. In Japan, this process is actually a lot more of an involved process between the two parties. You’ll hold the card with both hands, and will transfer the card to someone holding out both of their hands. It sounds complicated, but it’s a lot easier to explain in person. I think I’ve definitely adapted to Japanese communication, and often think that Americans can learn a lot about this way of life. The key, I’ve found personally, to being a successful member of Japanese society, is simply having respect.

While I think doing service projects and helping out the community studying abroad or in another country is important, I don’t think it’s necessary to get a full experience. You can learn about your host culture in a ton of different ways. I think of community service as something similar to a Swiss Army Knife. You go to another country with all of these different tools in which to either help out the community or learn about the community, and doing service things like working at a food bank, for example, is just one tool out of many. I’ll be honest in saying this experience meeting with Satomi and seeing what Second Harvest does didn’t change anything about me personally, but it did make me confirm the idea that in many places in the world among all walks of life, people look out for each other and are always looking to help the fellow human. In terms of oimg_activity05.jpgur definition of a Global Community, it’s totally a unifying thing when people come together to accomplish goals and work toward the greater good for mankind.

“Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


(Photos taken from Second Harvest’s website:


Travel Log 14 “Global Connections & Rites of Separation” by: Stephen Shaor Dunedin, New Zealand

My friends and I at the top of Roy's Peak in Wanaka, NZ

My friends and I at the top of Roy’s Peak in Wanaka, NZ

In his book Becoming World Wise Richard Slimbach discusses the potential that education abroad has in shaping the way we view the world. Specifically he states, “If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within,” (Kindle version location 1080). Based off of my experiences studying abroad, I somewhat agree with his reasoning. Education abroad undoubtedly causes a new way of thinking and acting. Integrating into another culture forces people outside of their social norms and causes significant change in their life. Slimbach states that these changes leave us vulnerable and suggests that we “surrender” to the culture (Kindle version location 1112). Reflecting back to the beginning of my journey I can highly relate to this feeling. There’s a clear feeling of being lost when entering a new place for the first time. Without any knowledge of the area or customs of the culture you have to learn how everything works over time. Slimbach claims that these feelings of vulnerability, deprivation, and aloneness are what influence us to ultimately “surrender” to the host culture.

However I don’t think that this weakness is the sole factor driving global learning. I would argue that this state of weakness is often coupled by feelings of excitement. I see learning abroad like the first day of college. Similar to education abroad, college is a place for study and learning more about yourself. There is a feeling of being lost and alone, but most people are excited for the experience. Most freshmen year college students aren’t driven by the feelings of aloneness, but rather are motivated by their excitement. Slimbach thinks that the feeling of being weak and alone influences people’s self-discovery while abroad, but I think that their openness and enthusiasm is what drives people to learn more about the culture and themselves.

Personally my global connections while abroad have greatly influenced the way I viewed the world. I came into my education abroad with an open mind and as a result it has dramatically impacted my perspective on becoming a “global citizen.” At first I thought being a global citizen was simply being an active participant in worldwide events. However after traveling to multiple countries and living in New Zealand for 5 months, I learned that a global citizen is much more than being an active participant. People need to be active listeners in addition to active participants. First, people need to be active in the global community. They need to be aware of events across the globe and interact with them. Acknowledging situations around the world and not taking action does not create a global citizen. Secondly people must be active listeners as well. Every country has its own beliefs, issues, and dignity, which we can only comprehend and relate to through active listening. Active listening includes learning and appreciating the differences between cultures. In order to understand the world and be a part of the global community it is important to listen, to understand, and to act with people across the globe.

As my time in Dunedin comes to a close I have to say goodbye to my friends I’ve made over the course of the semester. I’m currently planning a final group dinner with my friends. During the dinner we will share photos of our adventures together, swap memorable stories, and reminisce about our favorite moments of our journey. As my time in New Zealand comes to a close, the feeling is bittersweet. I am excited and anxious to go home to see my family, but I also don’t want to leave my new friends. Many of them live across the country and I may not see for years to come. In order to combat this sadness I have been in contact with my friends from home and making plans with them for when I return. I think that my eagerness for home will help me reincorporate back into society. The familiarity of family and friends will make being home enjoyable for the first few days. On the other hand I think that showing everyone pictures and telling them stories will make me miss New Zealand and hold me back from reincorporating immediately. Overall I loved my time in New Zealand, but am looking forward to sharing my experiences with my loved ones from home.

Travel Log 14 “Global Connections & Rites of Separation” by Chris Wilner, Amsterdam, Netherlands

“If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within” (Slimbach, 54). Knowledge and education are lifelong events, we will never be done learning new things until the day we die; whether that is something about ourselves or the people around us, that is of little concern, what matters is that we are continually learning. The experience to study abroad is one that a lot of students take for granted. From my understanding and what I have witnessed from the students that I have met through my own journey, most students choose to spend their time traveling to countries that they may not have the opportunity to visit for the rest of their life, but end up spending very little time in the country hosting them. One of the best pieces of advice I received about this trip that I was embarking on when preparing to leave the United States was to make friends with someone from your host country and become best friends with them. I am fortunate enough to say that I was able to make two best friends during my stay in London. My flat mates Johnny and Haden became part of my very existence while abroad, we were like the three amigos and would do almost everything together, especially Johnny and I. As much as I learned from them, I like to think that I was able to teach them a little and it may sound a little funny, but they think I’ve explored more of London in the short amount of time that I have been there than the year that they have been going to school in the city. This may be because they’re both from small towns in the country or because it’s just something that is a part of their lives so they see it as something that they can always do later, but it is something that we like to reflect on.
I spent almost all of my time in London and I can honestly say that it has become home to me, I’ve gotten to know the way of life there and can say that it is going to be a hard transition going home, especially physically living at home again. By living in a city and experiencing life on campus, I feel that I have been able to gain an understanding of the way of life as well as contribute to my global learning. By living away from home, my global learning has allowed for learning within because I found that everything I did was on my own time and it was up to me do do everything. If I was hungry I had to prepare it or go out to eat, I had to clean my own bathroom and make sure that everything was the way that I liked it. I’m different from most students due to the fact that I live at home all year round while I go to school. Most students are fortunate enough to live at school, although most of the students at Quinnipiac come from outside of the state. I think the thing that I learned the most about was, not being afraid to take a risk, talk to the random stranger standing next to, and keep a budget. Since this journey began, I paid for every step of the way and never asked my parents for money because I wanted to know that I could support myself without having to rely on others. That was my learning from the world within. I had faith in myself.
The connections that I have been able to make regarding my growth allow me to grow as a member of the global community because I have an understanding of a world outside for the United States. I was talking about this with a friend who studied abroad a year ago and studying abroad is an experience that makes you realize how small the world is and yet how large it is at the same time. It’s small due to how connected the world is through technology and transportation, but it’s extremely large due to the amount of people that there are in this vast world just through visiting a couple of the cities in Europe. As a member of the global community, this experience has shown me that everyone has a story to tell and they just want want someone to tell it to. I’ve also come to realize that everyone is looking for a better life and they will go to some extremes in attempts to get there if they believe that that is going to help them get there. There are harsh realities that people must face in their lives and it reminds me of something Slimbach said in his book, “Global learning is never completely innocent. It is saturated with difficult power relations, endemic to cultural difference, that can’t be wished away or canceled out by more ‘ethical’ brand of travel” (p. 72). Although we, as study abroad students, think that we can just travel somewhere and hope to find something different, there will always be people in need or going through difficult times wherever we go. In order to carry those connections forward, I need to remember to be mindful of the rest of the world wherever I am. There is so much going on and I think it is everyone’s responsibility to do their part to help preserve the world and the people in it. The best thing to do is to pass along kindness.
I’m fortunate enough to have one more week left in London to spend it with the friends that I have made. Unfortunately I have not be able to do anything for them as of yet because most of them have been away but I know we will celebrate before going home and the best thing about creating friendships is that it gives me an excuse to come back. I have full intention of coming back and seeing my friends again so it isn’t a goodbye because that means it is indefinite it is like saying alvitazen, which translates to until we see again. I have a feeling that we will have a “family” dinner before I leave with the people that have become so close to me through the trials and tribulations of living together and having to struggle with school together as well.
As time draws nearer for my return to the United States, I am saddened and excited at the same time. I can honestly say that I’m not ready to get back to my real life where I have to go back to work, but I’m excited to be able to spend time with my friends, family and girlfriend. I don’t want to leave the friends that I have made here but I know I will see them again, especially Johnny, because he his a dual citizen of the United States and the United Kingdom. The best way to be able to say goodbye to the place that I have called home for the past 5 months is to spend as much time with my mates as I can and visit the places in the city that I have enjoyed the most so they will be engrained in my mind for as long as I can remember. I think reincorporating into the United States won’t be as hard as most people expect it to be just because I feel like I’m going to be so busy when I get home to even be able to think. Although, I have to say, I did go home two weeks ago for a span of 4 days for my girlfriends graduation and with all of the stress and chaos that I experienced while I was home, all I could say to myself and those around me was that I was ready to go back to London because everything was so much simpler. So, the best thing I can say is that it will be a toss up. What I can say with complete certainty is that there are a lot of aspects that I am going to miss about being in London that I will not be able to have when I go home. Things like the ability to walk anywhere I want and be there in a short amount of time instead of having to get in the car and to go everywhere. I will miss the convenience of the tube and not having to worry if I will be on time for things, and the biggest thing of them all is the fact that I will miss living on my own. I am not sure if I will be able to go and live under someone else’s roof again, but that is to be determined.
“In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take” I think this quote perfectly sums up my thoughts and feelings on the wonderful and extraordinary experience that I get to call my life at this moment in time. I knew from the time that I started my orientation at Quinnipiac that I natured to study abroad and see what the world had to offer and I can honestly say that I was not disappointed. There is nothing that I regret about this experience and I believe that because of this trip I am a more responsible person and I now know that I can take care of myself without needing the assistance of anybody else. This quote is so meaningful to me because I never want to be the person that lives a life full of regrets, I want to live life to its fullest every second of my life even if that means sitting in a busy square in a city and watching the lives of the people as well as watching the world go by. Never forget the little things because in the end they may be the things that matter the most.

Travelogue 10- Encountering Globalization – Mitchell Trulli Barcelona, Spain

Globalization is the formal interaction of people, from all over the world entangling themselves together. As I am studying and have always been interested in business I look at it through that perspective. The Travels of a T-shirt was very interesting because it dove into lots of specific details as to how the business of the “globalization” or a T-shirt around the world happens. America has had a history of dominating foreign business markets and influencing the world because its past as a superpower. In Barcelona I have seen American influence in almost every street corner. My parents visited Barcelona for the second time (20 years later) with me and they were astounded walking through the streets as they were not dominated by American businesses. Local shops were being taken over by Nike, Adidas, Mcdonald’s, and other large corporations. I see this globalization as great progress in business but also terrible for culture. Globalization business wise destroys authenticity and the unique culture that local shops and businesses add to a community. In the neighborhood that I live in in Barcelona called Gracia there is a big stigma against globalization and especially tourism which could be considered a form of globalization. There are occasionally signs hung up around the balconies which say “Ban the American District” or the Ramblas which is considered the most globalized place of Barcelona, 8/10 people on the Ramblas are tourists. There is a big stigma against tourists and the squatters house we live next to has big skull and cross bone stickers that say ban tourists all over the windows. I believe that being in a big and historic city in Europe comes with its pro’s and con’s and accepting that humans will evolve and popular culture will travel and take over most of the old culture is part of evolution. If we decided to keep every ounce of history and culture in the world there would be no progress, business rules the world and the bigger companies that appear come and swallow up the smaller companies. One additional example of Spain trying to prevent globalization is the banning of Uber. As technology advances and an American startup Uber looks to revolutionize transportation to minimize the number of cars on the road and employ more people easier many countries try to prevent this progress. Spain for one has banned the App in their country and refused to join the global evolution of ride sharing, this fear of becoming globalized prevents countries from progressing. In the near future there will be self driving cars and people will rarely own cars, shared vehicles will be the norm and traffic will be almost non-existent, but if a country deters this progress they will be left behind. When I traveled to France I was able to call an Uber and had an incredible conversation with a driver about his life and what he does and Uber in the US, this reminds me of what Robins said in his story. “dissolve the frontiers and divisions between different cultures” (Robins 242) I was able to take this globalized company and use it to meet someone new and as a talking point to learn more about his life. There are negatives to this business globalization, as one country dominates markets there is a monopoly which is bad for business “During the 200 years in which the United States has dominated this industry, sometimes it was possible to win on the high road and sometimes it wasn’t” (Page 6). The story ends with the T-shirts that were made all around the world being given to a entrepreneur in Africa who sold them to kids across his country. The T-shirt has supplied clothing, and jobs for people but also eliminated culture and spread America’s pop culture across the world, although I believe there is more positive than negative with globalization it will be hard to adjust to.

The picture below shows the incredible amount of American McDonalds that are across the world. McDonalds may stand as Americas flagship restaurant and is the second biggest chain in the world providing millions of Jobs but replacing authentic cultured food of many countries. macdonalds-worldwide

Travelogue 11 – Half the Sky Mitchell Trulli – Barcelona Spain

Half the Sky is an eye opening documentary into the struggles of women across the world in different cultures. It allows you to get a glimpse into the life that lots of women live in, being born in the US most women are treated with equal respect as a man. I myself was incredibly surprised by the stories outlined during the movie.

The story that shocked me most was of a little girl who was raped by the town’s preacher in Africa. In this particular part there are thousands of rape cases a year and the center that they were interviewing has only had 1 successful prosecution. There is a big stigma against coming out about being raped, this young girl had the courage to do so and decided to press charges for being raped. As the story continues the family eventually catches the man and starts to press charges but suddenly the family is shunned by the community and the father of the household kicks the mother and daughter out of the house for embarrassing them. The daughter is considered tainted and is seen as a stain on the family name and now is forced to live on her own and survive because she spoke out about an atrocity that was committed against her. This struck me as I do not see how a parent who is supposed to have unconditional love for their child can kick them out at such a young age age after such a terrifying incident. The girl in the story was utterly shocked but seemed to keep her head up as she is a very strong girl. Eva Mendez seemed particularly distressed about this situation and she was most taken back when she asked the girl if she thought she was to blame and she hesitated because she thinks she could have stopped it from happening.

There was a woman who opened a “shelter” of sorts for women who had suffered from rape and also helped them prosecute their perpetrators. She was an extremely strong and courageous woman who has helped hundreds of people get through being raped. My area of study is business finance and entrepreneurship. One big thing that someone in my field or myself could do to help people in these situations is aid the “helpers”, micro loans are becoming extremely popular to help people get their small business or non-profits started in these third world countries. Helping people set up shelters and financing these local saviors would be an incredible experience that would help hundreds of young women in need. There are already dozens of websites that allow you to make micro loans to people in third world countries, sometimes all that is needed is $50 for a plow to kickstart a farm which will then support an entire community who will pay you back over the year with the earnings they generate from it. Such a small amount of money to someone in the US can change the life of someone in a third world country, we underestimate the power that we have to easily influence and help thousands of peoples lives across the world.

One of my high school friends and startup business partners David K has launched a startup non-profit called Skate4Africa which helps donate skateboards to kids in Africa to keep them occupied and out of illegal things.
This is a perfect example of how someone my age and in business can have an impact on peoples life halfway across the world. Although it is not helping women of violence it is a good example and inspiration for anyone who is looking for ways to help people.

Travelogue 13 – Service – Mitchell Trulli – Barcelona, Spain

I believe that traditional American culture does not have many traditions to mark life transitions. Some may say that the first beer with a father is a coming of age, or perhaps getting your license. Although during these life transitions there is a lack of culture and rituals to usher the person into the new phase of their life. Perhaps this takes a lot of meaning out of ones transition from childhood to adulthood although I never noticed it until I saw my cousins bar mitzvah. This ceremony was completely overwhelming as the entire extended family came together to celebrate the transition from youth to adulthood. The entire day was filled with culture and rituals that dated back centuries and haven’t changed since, traditional torah reading, Jewish food, and other activities surrounded my cousin. During my time in Spain I did not personally witness any coming of age ceremonies, but I was present during the festival of Sant Jordi which was a rich and culture filled holiday that some compare to American valentines day. Throughout the day the city streets are filled with people and boys exchange roses with the women while women give the men a book. This holiday seems much more meaningful and cultured than American valentines day, there is many more traditions and the thought that is invested with the gifts are much more meaningful. I do not believe that the absence of these cultural traditions impedes the global community but having them definitely accelerates growth and increased ones quality of life as well as connection to the community. Perhaps because America is such a young country there is the lack of culture, the most prevalent American ceremony I can think of is thanksgiving, it is unique to our country and is a gathering of ones family and friends together to celebrate life and all the gifts that they have.

I believe my digital story will help me develop and remember how impactful my time abroad has been for me. “Time Alone For Reflection” is a big one that has been and will be very impactful for me, being able to sit down alone and reflect and absorb what has occurred will help me to remember and really let it sink in. While being abroad life moves 100 miles an hour there is so much going on and you are trying to take it all in as quick as possible, taking the time to be alone and step back was essentially and now taking the time to be alone and write my digital story will help finalize my time abroad and reincorporate back into my home life. Connection with environment directly related to the previous element as when I typically took time alone I would hike the mountain near my school on the edge of the city. It overlooked all of Barcelona and was a beautiful place for reflection. Lastly “Play” and engaging in playful activities that I enjoyed such as soccer were huge for me and allowed me to bond with the local community to develop my digital story.

Lastly the digital story which I enjoyed the most was Caitlin Murphy in the Netherlands. I enjoyed how the connected her time abroad to a bicycle ride, especially because during my time in the Netherlands I confirmed that the “cities of bicycles” are true. She related how the moment that she let go of her handlebars was resembling of how she let go of her home community and fully immersed herself into her host culture. I am going to try and find some sort of inanimate object or activity that I can relate my digital story to as well as it may help to explain my experience.

Travel Log 14: “Global Connections & Rites of Separation” Jim Webb, Perugia, Italy

Richard Slimbach, in his book Becoming World Wise, states, “If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within.” (p. 54).  I think Slimbach is saying that while abroad we had an impact on the people around us but those people also had an impact on us.  If we chose to allow ourselves to change when we are abroad, we can bring this new identity home with us and change others too.  I do not think he is saying we should force our new ideologies onto people living at home, mainly because without the common experiences people wouldn’t change at all, but maybe some of the little things.  One of the things I am going to start doing more is cooking, my mom has always been a great cook and being in such a food entwined culture I learned some things abroad.  I am hoping to bring some of my knowledge back home and cook with my mom.  I wont only bring home my slightly enhanced ability to cook pasta but ill bring home a new identity that is hopefully better because of my experiences abroad.


As my time within this dream that is study abroad comes to an end I have so much to be grateful for.  The friends I have made, the places I have visited, and the new perspective I will carry with me for the rest of my life.  Living in Perugia, the green heart of Italy, has been an experience I will treasure forever.  The friends I have made during my semester abroad are speckled across the globe.  I now have friends from Vermont to California, Moldova, and China too.  I even left some friends in Perugia that I will hopefully visit again.


Saying goodbye to all of them will be hard because in our four months together we have all become so close.  I plan to speak to a few of my friends directly and let them know how much of an impact they have had on.  I also plan to try and keep in touch with my close friends until we are able to meet again.  One thing we have already done is at dinners or at the bars we would go around the table and each share our favorite memories.  This was always very tear jerking as the end was quickly approaching but it was also really nice to relive the great times.


I don’t think the fact that this is over will really hit me until I am on my plane and Italy is but a dot on the horizon.  This is probably where I will reflect the most on the awesome adventures my new friends and I went on.  From beers at Kosmos every Wednesday to playing basketball in the rain I made a lot of great friends that I will hopefully have forever.  I even won a soccer tournament and was surprised with an engraved trophy for it so that team “Slim Jim” will forever be immortalized in Italy.  I will also probably look back on some of the less fun memories with nostalgia.  Like when my friend Nell and I got on the train which was heading the opposite way that we need to go, it was also the last train and we both had flights to catch.  And possibly the worst weather weekend where it rained relentlessly in Padua.  This was also the weekend where I was standing in the rain without an umbrella or raincoat thinking, “how could it get any worse?” when a car hit the puddle in front of me and I experienced something I only thought happened in movies.  But even now writing about the bad memories is putting a smile on my face.


The quote I would try to use to summarize my experiences is one from Giuseppe Verdi who said, “You may have the universe if I may have Italy.”IMG_5163

Travel Log #14: “Global Connections and Rites of Separation” By Madeleine Harder. Brussels, BE

It’s always unbelievable to me how fast the spring semester flies by—this is even more true when you are a study abroad student. Going on this journey allowed me to further become a member of the global community. I say further because I did have strong roots in Germany after spending a semester there; I had friends, family, and professors that I stayed in touch with as well as considerable language skills. After taking one semester abroad I thought I had the hang of things but Brussels threw me some obstacles straight out of left field. For example I have nearly survived living 5 months with a woman who speaks exclusively French, I witnessed a terrorist attack and the aftermath, I made it through the most academically rigorous semester I could ever imagine (classes and an internship) and I’m all the better for it.

If there is one thing I have learned during my time abroad it is to talk to everyone, from that one guy sitting in the hostel common room to the office workers in your building to the neighbor downstairs. Everybody has a story; you just need to uncover it. Talking is how you can become a global citizen. It’s not always going to work out but putting in the effort and interacting with what is unfamiliar to you will open up doors you never thought were possible. This promotion and exchange of views is so valuable toward solving the problems of today’s world. Complex problems call for simple answers and sometimes the people that are closest to the problem lose perspective. Through my European Union policy class this semester I saw first hand the need to collaborate for a better future for everyone.

13169870_10205189336927709_31728774_oI was having a Belgian beer with my friends the other day and one of the guys told me he had seen a change in me. It was a passing comment and I tried to press further but I was happy to hear that; going abroad is supposed to open your eyes to the world around you and make you more opportunistic. One of my favorite experiences in Brussels was going to see The Neighborhood at Ancienne Belgique. In one of their songs is the line, “I was naïve and hopeful and lost but now I’m aware and driving my thoughts.” In a way running away from my problems for a semester, solved all of my problems. It reinvigorated me and gave me a new goal to work toward. Studying abroad put me on a completely different path than I had envisioned for myself but I feel like I’ve finally found the right path for me. My number one career goal as of right now is to move abroad. In order to pursue this I have decided that I will apply for a Fulbright grant to teach English in Croatia following graduation.

Saying goodbye is going to be challenging but I think the hardest part will be leaving my internship. This is strange to say because I didn’t particularly love it. However, I spent a minimum of three days a week in the office with my boss and the other intern. Naturally, I got really invested in the company. As a sort of goodbye next week after my last day I will be going out for a beer with both of them. I’ve been franticly running around Brussels the last few weeks trying to pack things in. Instead of saying goodbye I’m still trying to grasp every opportunity I can here. For example last night I went to the royal green houses and was absolutely stunned by both the architecture and variety of beautiful flowers.












The university that I attend here in Brussels is mostly a study abroad feeder school. Luckily for me this means that 75% of the students are American. I’m not that worried about saying goodbye because if I really want to I will see these people again. The friends will stay the same but only the city will change.


Travelogue 12 – Service – Mitchell Trulli – Barcelona, Spain

For my community service a few friends in Api (academic programs international) as well as myself go together to cleaned up a local plaza in Gracia that is known to be typically dirty as it is a big youth party/nightlife spot. Typically the youth in Barcelona sit in plazas and socialize and drink which ends up littering and trashing the plazas. This typically happens because most young adults live with their parents until they are about 30 years old, resulting in them not having houses or apartments for the youth to hangout at or socialize. The morning was spent clearing a plaza on a Sunday when the trash men do not typically come around to clean. I have noticed that abroad and in Barcelona especially the natives take more pride in their city and do not deface or litter as much as we do back in the states. The graffiti sprayed on shop doors is city approved and is quite cultured and considered art. Barcelona compared to New York city is immaculate, you will rarely find trash on the street and public property defaced. I was quite impressed by this and it increased my respect for the locals in Europe. In addition Barcelona invested in a weekly street cleaning where workers will drive through all the streets with hoses and wash down everything they can reach, it really helps improve the quality of the community. I am curious as to why no American cities have implemented this strategy as it is fairly cheap and preserves the cities investment in streets, parks, plazas etc.

Service relates to our classwork especially in immersing yourself in the global community. Becoming part of the community abroad and truly being a resident of Barcelona means caring about the community that you have been living in, typically citizens vote, protest, or do other activities to help shape and better their community. Perhaps the most we could do with our Visa’s and limited knowledge of the country was simply to volunteer and be directed on how to benefit the community in simple ways with our basic skills. I believe it helped me feel as if I am more part of the community and provided something rewarding I can do to the community besides travel, party, hang out at the beach and attend classes.

I believe public service in a country abroad is a unique and rewarding experience. In high school I was given the opportunity to serve in an orphanage in Jamaica. A group of students were flown down to a Mustard Seed community which is a organization that takes in children who have been neglected by their family or community because of birth defects or mental retardation which is looked down upon in their society. We spent the week sleeping in mosquito nets in a lean two and built a cabin for some new children to sleep in. This was perhaps one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and if I had had a program like this reflective 301 class it would have enhanced my experience even more.

“Everyone can be great,  Because everyone can serve” –  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The simple act of picking up trash at a plaza is extremely rewarding and very simple. Almost anyone no matter what age can offer their physical service to them, if perhaps someone is physically impaired then they can offer their mental strength as a service. There were dozens of schools that could have used Americans to teach locals english and that in and of itself could have changed their lives. Anyone is capable of changing someone life it is just committing yourself to it. 1326049468_0