Travel Log 6 “Mindful Traveler” by Katheryn DeMarey. Florence, Italy

Everyone travels in different ways. Some people see everything through the camera on their phone, some people dive into the tourist restaurants with the 5 star yelp reviews…and then there are a small handful of travelers who really embrace the culture before them. Slimbach discusses how there are three types of travelers in the world; the ‘mass tourist’, the ‘carefree drifter’ and the ‘mindful traveler’.

The mast tourist is all about the ‘been there, done that’. They are typically obsessing over their Instagram filers, booking a trip to the latest and greatest all-inclusive resort and trying to find a cute outfit in one of the brand name shops in their country of choice. Their mind frame is in the U.S… always looking for something to show off to their friends and completely unaware of the surrounding culture passing by. The carefree drifter is similar but spends most of their trip going with the flow. If they are with familiar faces, they are happy. Typically the carefree drifter will find themselves at a ‘American bar’ or the ‘tourist traps’ of the city. They “simply go with the flow, even if that flow is shallow and trifling” (Slimbach, 74). These people would probably be happier doing other ‘off the beaten path’ activities but they are either too shy or too scared to stray away from their familiar surroundings.

On the other side of traveling, one will find the ‘mindful traveler’. The mindful traveler, according to Slimbach, is made up of 5 different parts that include economic mindfulness, cultural mindfulness, social mindfulness, ecological mindfulness and spiritual mindfulness. This type of person aspire to narrow the gap between tourists and natives, find a mutual respect between all people and look to understand the host countries culture. Mindful travelers understand that spending money in their host country is beneficial ONLY if they are spending it on the family businesses and the home grown shops. If not, the money being spent is probably going straight into the pockets of some big company in another land that won’t give back to the natives.

Personally I find that most study abroad students that I have encountered are a carefree drifter or a mass tourist. Snapchat has taken over our culture and no one knows how to enjoy things for personal pleasure. I find that when I go to a tourist trap restaurant or even day trip I am completely unsatisfied. That being said, I will admit that I take a thousand photos but I don’t take photos in hopes of posting an Instagram that will get over 100 likes or to show off my adventures. I take photos to help document my journey and life changing experiences.

Being a mindful traveler is all about interacting with your surrounding cultures which is a huge part of global community. If traveling to different countries and staying in 5 star hotels, driving Italian Ferraris and eating macaroons in Paris was global community… we would all be experts. But the reality is that global community takes much more and it starts with cultural interaction with mindful travelers. If I had to alter the definition of global community we wrote in class, I would include something about not only being aware of another culture, but diving into it – not only to help someone else, but to experience life from a new perspective.

Being a mindful traveler is a key characteristic of intentional participants of the global community. I believe that I am currently being a mindful traveler not just because I enjoy trying new foods down unpopular streets and bargaining with street vendors, but I am always interacting with people from another culture. No, when I say this I am not referring to ordering a croissant from our local bakery. I’m talking about the times I started a conversation with the person behind me in line, or the Italian waiter that was serving me for the night, or even the person I was sitting near on the train.

The picture that I decided to post this week is from my train ride home from Venice last Sunday. It may not look like much to someone at a quick glance, but the people in the photo will always have a lasting memory that I will carry with me throughout all my journeys. The family trying to get their stuff together on the side of the train are actually 20160917_210913my new friends from Dubai. They were traveling destination-less with their two children, one eight and one 12 months old. Our conversation started when their son started crying and we overheard them talking with an older gentlemen about where to stay and what to do in Italy. For the next two and a half hours we all got to know each other so well (with broken English and Italian – definitely one of the bigger challenges that inhibit mindful traveling) that Ayan, the little boy, started telling us his address in Dubai because he wanted us to come visit when he got back home. Cam’ron started complimenting u, telling us that we were just like his children, taking photos and talking about how glad he was about being separated from the rest of his family who were sitting a train car ahead of us. We shared drinks and snacks and in the blink of an eye, we were at out stop. We helped the couple off the train, started hugging goodbye and turned back to see that Cam’ron had come to the train door to wave and say his final goodbye again. Oddly enough, this small two hour event showed me more than any other part of my travels. I felt my heart grow a little heavy when I squeezed Ayan goodbye knowing that I will never talk to them again, but then quickly realized just how lucky I am to be able to experience things like this. Being a mindful traveler will not only enhance my abroad experience but also change my views and mindsets from here out.

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

Travelogue 14- Global Connections – Mitchell Trulli, Barcelona Spain

Global Connections is the fabric that connects people across the world, as stated it is issues, trends, and ideas that span across boarders. “If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us but also into this world within” (P.54) Global learning not only allowed me to learn about the amazing places I can see and discover in the world and how little I really have seen, but it also allowed me to realize how much I have to grow, how many people I still have to meet, things I have to learn, and it lit a fire inside of me to work harder so that one day I will have the opportunity to return to traveling the world and discover even more. It reminds me of the quote that knowledge is a curse, as to learn of the amazing world there is out there is also a curse because you are constantly yearning to  return. Having this opportunity has changed me completely, I feel as if I am a changed person who now knows of the incredible world and people there are to be discovered. It has been an experience that connects me with every world traveler, study abroad student, and “eye opened” person.
I believe in order to be a global person you must be much more accepting and open to others ways of living. I remember my first few weeks here I was quite aggravated at the way they live. Being a tall fast walker with long legs I would constantly trip and stumble over others who walk extremely slow as they do in Europe, its just the way it is, everything is more slow. As the semester comes to a close I find myself slowing down and enjoying things a lot more, walking slower and absorbing my surroundings, appreciating the scenery and sounds of the city around me. It is essential to not let your first impressions stick, and to give the changes a chance, to fully immerse yourself.
For my “saying goodbye” the friend group we had established went out to the “bunkers” which are the highest point in the city that overlooks the whole town. We grabbed some wine and watched the sunset over the city while we reminisced on the amazing four months we had abroad. It was a beautiful experience that I thoroughly enjoyed. We all made plans to visit one another when we returned to the states, whether we follow through and actually do so, who knows.

The emotions prior to leaving were more of excitement to get back to my friends back home and share the experiences I had. I have wrote down all of my favorite stories and I can’t wait to share them. As weird as it sounds I am excited to go home so that I can look forward to the next big adventure and travel experience. I do not think that my reincorporation will be tough, the only thing I worried about was that I would never stop sharing all my experiences! I am excited to see my family and look forward to being back to “reality” as these past four months have felt like a dream.

Travel Log 15: No Place Like Home? Rites of Reincorporation – by Ryan Flagg, North Hampton, New Hampshire

Being back in the United States has been an interesting experience for me. So much of what made living in Japan amazing was that most things were wildly different than here at home. I’m already missing the food, the people and the streets I’ve memorized to a T.

I became so well known with my host culture that it was strange coming back to America. The second day I was home I met up with some friends and got 5-cent chicken wings at a biker bar on Hampton Beach, New Hampshire’s worse version of Venice Beach. I think in terms of reincorporation, this was a shotgun to the feels for how much different I felt away from Japan, which works out pretty well to get me back into American culture. I felt, and still sort of feel weird speaking all English, where in some cases in Japan I’d be speaking all Japanese. Ordering food, for example, was a real shock, as I no longer had to point out items or say certain things. The clothing is a lot different too. I’m used to seeing everyone in everything from business suits to the most fashionable people I’ve ever seen. Here in my beach town of North Hampton there’s almost none of what I remember from the casual Tokyo attire.

While I do consider myself to be a liminal being, I don’t think this reincorporation phase has been all that difficult. Living and doing things here at home is like muscle memory. I got into my car and having not driven for a good half of a year, I did fine. The adjustments haven’t been hard, so much as just weird. For example, I’ve been so used to the tight, narrowness of Tokyo that coming back to a beach town I forgot how open everything is in the States. It’s things like this that are the strangest, because sometimes I can’t always put what I’m feeling, in terms of coming back from study abroad, into words. Going back to liminality, I’m definitely an adaptable person, or liminal being. I said this in earlier travel logs and I believe it still holds true. I think studying abroad and this whole experience has certainly made me realize that I don’t belong to one area of the world, despite permanently living in the United States (for the foreseeable future).

I decided to share my Reincorporation Letter with my parents, like I did my separation letter earlier in the year. The whole experience of sharing this letter was similar. My parents both understood the differences in society and culture (my mom most notably, since she visited toward the end), and know it takes some time to get back into the swing of things. I chose to share with them JRR Tolkien’s quote “Home is behind you, the world is ahead.” Even though in practicality it’s a bit backwards, I still consider Tokyo as a chunk of home that I’ll always carry with me, and combined with the study abroad experience, I feel I’m absolutely ready to take on more areas of the world, so in essence, my journey’s really just beginning, even though it’s recently ended.

Slimbach talks about “gems” carried over from the study abroad experience, and I definitely think a lot of what I did and learned will stick with me for a very long time. In terms of physical gems, I’ve purchased a lot of figures, gachapon, posters, flags, and countless other memorabilia. The mental gems though are the most important, and I think one of the biggest ones is the Japanese cultural difference in general. I learned so much about the value of community, patience, peace, and acceptance that my personal being will be able to impact others here in the States with those things, whether I’m making a film or simply having a conversation with a friend, relative, or some complete stranger.

The quote I’ve chosen is one from a recent film called “Boyhood,” directed by Richard Linklater. “You know how everyone’s always saying seize the moment? I don’t know, I’m kinda thinking it’s the other way around. You know, like the moment seizes us” (Boyhood, 2014). I think this is a perfect quote to cap off the travel logs and the study abroad experience. It’s a bit self-explanatory in what the character is saying, but it drives the idea that life is about the moments, like when I first learned to surf and when I talked to an old man about cats on top of Mount Fuji. The moments, big or small, happen on their own, and I think accepting these and taking them as we go creates this liminality and adaptability that’s so important for all of us both in the present and in the future. That not to say don’t carpe diem, but I think the other side of the coin is just as important.

Travel Log 14 – Global Connections and Rites of Reincorporation by Ryan Flagg, Tokyo, Japan

In many ways, the idea of Japan and “Japaneseness,” along with “Japonism,” is one large global connection. Everything from art, anime and other forms of popular culture all have western influences and motivations. From my Visual Media course, we’ve been talking about how Japan both influences the international world, and vice-versa. Popular culture, like Pokemon, for example, is a direct product of the government and Japan trying to appeal to a global audience in order to increase both tourism and boost their economy. This sort of understanding of the different mediums of art created here isn’t really looked at in depth through a western audience like in Europe and America. Even for me, as someone who loves to consume Japanese animation and video games, I’ve come to be aware of the fact that this is consumption is precisely what the Japanese markets intend for success internationally and for travel into the country itself. Especially when you take a look at post-WWII, where all of this really began. Japan needed a way to reinvigorate culture and the economy, and they found the best way to do this was to sell all of these ideas from a media convergence mindset to a western audience, plus bringing western ideas into Japan. For example, Disney is a massive cultural phenomenon here, much like Pokemon, and more recently, Yokai Watch. Although it’s interesting to point out that while Yokai Watch is incredibly successful in Japan, the show and games have yet to take off in the US. Pokemon on the other hand is absolutely a global phenomenon. I’m sure most of you are playing the recently released Pokemon GO game on your phones. The franchise took over the world in the ‘90’s, and has done so again (despite it not being available in Japan right now). I believe that what Slimbach says in the proposed quote for this travel log is entirely true when you look at what Japan does in order to allow a connection between the country itself and the world around it. It isn’t just video games and anime though; it also has to do with the food, business world, fashion and everything someone from outside associates with Japan. Although I haven’t travelled to many places in the world, I’d like to think that this is common with other countries. These connections and influences are what draws us all to travel and for us Quinnipiac students, to study abroad. Firing off of that, I haven’t taken a single film class here. Filmmaking is ultimately my career choice, but the classes, lessons and insights I’ve learned here have made me appreciate becoming a global citizen. One part of the entire experience of studying abroad, I think, is to truly understand global connections and use these going forward in whichever direction we choose, be it career-wise, emotionally, critically when we travel, etc. I’m able to now take what I’ve learned through the connections I’ve made and apply those to my work in school, in my career, and in the future. I could teach my future children the lessons I’ve learned, which allows global connections to reach beyond the span of five months to a more generational education.

I’ve made a lot of friends here during my time studying abroad. I’ve made friends with Japanese people as well as those who are in my program, who are from all walks of life all around the world like China, South America, and of course the US. I’m not really into the big “send-off-event” type things. A simple low-key thank you and goodbye always works. Some of the people I’ve met who live in Japan certainly live further away from others, but with technology like Facebook, Instagram and LINE (a messaging app we all use here), I’m connected with these people in a way that wouldn’t have been possible ten or twenty years ago. In that, I won’t really be saying goodbye; I can still contact people with ease and we can all equally be aware of what we’re doing around the world. In terms of my “goodbye plan,” I’ll probably be going out to dinner with some friends next weekend before I take off. I will also want to take one last walk around some of my favorite places, such as Matsudo and the backstreets of Harajuku (which are ridiculously awesome for cool, artsy murals and shops).

I’m definitely ready and excited to return home in two weeks. I’ve been here for a long time, and I’m missing my friends, family and American food (OH GOD CHIPOTLE AND PIZZA.). In bringing a meaningful closure to this experience, I’m not really sure what I could do. I’ve already been to where I wanted to go, like Kyoto and Hiroshima, and I don’t have time to visit further places like Okinawa in the south or Hokkaido in the far north. I can absolutely see myself returning here though for a solid week or two, either surfing in Okinawa or skiing up in Hokkaido. In terms of reincorporation, I think I’ll do just fine. Granted, the first week being back will totally be a reverse culture shock. I’ll mostly just accept that for what it is, and since I’ve lived longer in the US than in Japan during the span of my life, I really don’t think the transition will be any earth-shattering explosion of emotions.

For a quote in this weeks log, I’d like to use a famous one from JRR Tolkien: “Not all those who wander are lost.” I think this encapsulates our discussions of global connections and our experiences in other countries. For although we are each individual and have different things to do in our lives in wandering this earth, we all share a common human connection that spans countries and ages of everyone.

Travel Log 15 “There’s No Place Like Home? Rites of Reincorporation” by Chris Wilner, Wallingford, CT

As defined in class, rites of reincorporation involves a person being newly reborn, they return to their community with a “new status”, there are new expectations for behavior and there is a transformation for the individual and the community. Coming home and becoming part of my home community I can say has not been easy on myself. The largest change that I have seen since coming home, and this may be just for me and no one else, is the fact that I feel like my family has become complacent. I feel as though now that I am home I am expected to do so much more because as everyone says, “You have been gone for so long, so it is your turn to take care of this…” What gets me is that I had responsibilities to take care of while I was away and everyone had their responsibilities to take care of while I was away and somehow they all managed to progress in life while I was gone, but now that I am home no one can function without involving me or making me do it because they are just too busy or I think the better answer is that they don’t want to do it so I am stuck doing it.

I could easily say that I am a liminal being. I have gone to a new land and found a new way of doing things for myself and now that I have come home, I have to be mindful of everyone else that I live with and adhere to the rule and regulations that are set forth. I am used to doing things on my own time and the way that I want them done and now that I am home I have to get used to everyone else’s ways of life as well as the new aspects of life they have gained while I was away.

The letter of reincorporation went similar to the way that the letter of separation went for me. It seemed like more of a class activity and was only something to listen to because it had to be listened to. I decided to share this letter with my girlfriend because the was the person that I feel as though I have been apart from the most and she was the person that I wanted to share everything about my trip with. I think it was important to share this with her because she was so worried about what would happen with us while I was gone and I think this opportunity allowed us to talk openly and without any interruption about the things that we did and what it means for me to be home and the things that I will have to get used to since being away. Something that was important that we talked about was the fact that it is important to be patient and understanding of the changes that may have occurred while I was away as well as the routines and ways of life that I got used to while I was away and that it would take time for me to get back into the swing of things.

“A lot of people resist transition and therefore never allow themselves to enjoy who they are. Embrace the change, no matter what it is; once you do, you can learn about the new world you’re in and take advantage of it.” I chose this quote because I think it is important for both sides to realize that a transition occurred and whether it was good or bad, it is important to realize that a change occurred and without recognizing that change no progress would be made. Coming home has not really changed anything, everyone was excited to see me, but I don’t think many people understand the things that you do while abroad except for the people that have studied abroad. Now that I am home it seems like I haven’t even been gone, everyone just expects me to do more because I have missed out on so much. I feel like now that I am home, I am still being treated like a child and that I need to be told what to do on a daily basis because I guess that’s what makes my family feel better about me being away. At this point in time I wouldn’t mind returning to the life that I had in London, except I would rather that my girlfriend came with me. It has been hard this first week being home because I have these inner battles in my head whether or not to say what is on my mind because I am afraid of hurting someone else’s feelings or starting a fight.

From the chapter reading, one way that I think that I would be able to carry forward the “gems” I have collected on my Education Abroad experience is to rediscover “place” in my local community, while I was abroad, it seemed like everywhere I went was a new experience even if I had been there before I think there was always something new that I could learn even from just watching people in Trafalgar Square. I know my hometown because I have grown up here and spent so much time in its streets but I feel like I learned so much more about London in my short time there and know more about the place than I do about the place where I take up residence. My goal is to rediscover and continue discovering the place that I call home and to expound upon the traveling that I have done. This experience has created a thirst for knowledge, I did not go to many places while I was abroad but I went everywhere in London and learned the streets as if they were my own and in fact they did become my own by the time I left.

I can’t honestly say that there are any streams that I need to divert in order to carry forward. I catch myself saying terms and phrases that I learned while I was in London and then I realize those aren’t things that are really said here or people wouldn’t really understand what I am saying so it is more of a conscious decision not to use those phrases or words more than something that I need to get rid of. I say cheers instead of thank you sometimes and call French fries chips, but those are only small things. There more of a think that I do to annoy my girlfriend because she says in back in the states so I have to use the right terms but I can still get away with saying them in some contexts.

As Smilback said on page 205, “Your hometown hasn’t moved, and your network of family and friends is still intact – but both feel different, almost like a foreign land.” At this moment in time, I can honestly say that that is how I am feeling; more so for my family than my friends because I talked to my girlfriend every single day but I feel different being home. My room feels huge compared to my dorm, I’m not used to there being food in the house all the time and not having to cook my own meals is very different to me. I am not sure if I like being able to come home and do nothing and have nothing to worry about or go to the store to buy my groceries and make sure that I bought vegetables or if I have enough toilet paper. Right now there are a lot of uncertainties for me but I am trying to take everything in stride.

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.

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(Photos taken from Second Harvest’s website: http://2hj.org/english/)

Travel Log 14 “Global Connections and Rites of Separation By Abby Spooner, Dunedin New Zealand

I have dreaded this day for far too long, the beginning of separation from Dunedin, a place I have begun to call home. Over the past week I have found myself in a rather confusing state. I am excited to return to the familiar environment of my US home, but sad to leave my New Zealand one. As a result I have put off the dreaded rites of separation blog for as long as possible, as if writing down my bitter sweet thoughts would make my dread yet excitement for leaving more real. Sadly it is time to move on to new adventures and a familiar routine, so here it goes- thoughts as I prepare to depart and return:

Sun rising over University of Otago Clocktower as I set out for my reflective walk.

Sun rising over University of Otago Clocktower as I set out for my reflective walk.

Today I began saying goodbye to my city, each time I walk my favorite streets, order from my favorite café, or poke my head into my favorite shops I find myself wondering if this time is the last time I am going to do it. In order to actively participate in my separation I decided to take a walk through Dunedin like I did during Travel Log 4 about getting oriented. Saying goodbye is tough; However, by walking through the city I was able to consider the best and worst parts about separation and how I wanted to conclude my rite of passage. My stroll made me appreciate the wonderful times I have had over the past 5 moths. Dunedin has become my home base, a familiar place to return to following my many adventures across the country. If I return later in life I will look forward to walking these now familiar streets once again. On my walk a quote I had come across about travel came to mind. I couldn’t remember the exact words, so when I got home I looked it up. It is a quote by Miriam Adeney and describes my emotions throughout the week perfectly:

“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”

 

When I think about returning home I am eager, but is home going to be home? As Adeney states, I don’t think I will be fully home again; there will always be a part of me longing for travel. I have caught the travel bug, it has changed me so much so that home can no longer be home in the same way it once was. However, it is this distinct change that quantifies a rite of passage, a new status as a global citizen.

There are multiple examples I could use to explain how I am more aware of my global citizenship than I previously was. However, Slimbach expands on his ideas about the global citizen by arguing that the real journey is finding our true selves through our great dreams. He argues that external exploration leads to internal discovery of our intentions, ideas, and impulses (Slimbah, 53). He states, “the psychological stress associated with cross cultural learning actually carries the power to expose us, heal us, and complete us. Instead of trying to numb the pain, we allow ourselves to feel our weaknesses and vulnerabilities.” The global connections I have made throughout this semester not only developed into a global citizen status but also prompted me to think about my own political and social opinions. I am now an avid believer that conversation can change the world. Simple conversations with the people I meet with all semester created a space where world issues could be discusses in a positive and informative way despite varying views. As a result I agree with Slimbach’s claim that global citizenship also includes a degree of self-development and discovery. My rite of passage this semester can be described by the transition of global citizenship. However, it was much more than that; I learned more about who I am, who I want to be, and my opinions of the world. Although I still dread leaving Dunedin, I also look forward to my return home so that I can introduce my friends and family to the new version of myself.

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.

Travel Log 15: “There’s No Place Like Home? Rites of Reincorporation” By: Erin Foley, Dedham, MA

After what seemed like an eternity on an airplane and waiting for luggage that I thought would never come, my homecoming had finally arrived. When I awoke last Wednesday, I was honestly nervous to return home. Had a lot changed since I left? Would I be able to easily reconnect with family and friends? Would they be annoyed after the fifth time I mentioned Paris (I have many stories to tell!)? But as I walked out of the double doors at the boarder patrol station and saw my family waving teary-eyed with huge smiles on their faces, all of my concerns vanished.

That is not to say, however, that I have not come across specific challenges. Many of my friends say, “Tell me Paris stories!” or “I want to hear all about it!” But each time, I cannot seem to express my gratitude for the experience that made me contemplate my entire future—quite a big deal for anyone who knows me (I always have everything planned to a tee). How do you sum up four months into four sentences? In my opinion, it is impossible and utterly inadequate to briefly describe the trip of a lifetime that made me seriously reflect on my true passions for the first time in awhile. As I may have mentioned in previous logs, I feel as though I have not yet left the liminal phase. Instead, I am in a limbo of indecisiveness; what do I do next? Who do I seek out to help me through this life transition? What will ultimately be the right career choice for me, moving forward?

After writing my reincorporation letter, I was satisfied with its message. Sometimes, I feel like writing down your ideas expresses them more thoroughly than simply stating them. When written on paper, words are permanent and difficult to disregard. Although someone may refuse to address them, your ideas are well thought out and subject to change; you can always return to a paper or a journal entry to edit but words are much harder to take back once they are said. In the same token, I wanted to write a letter that explained the difficult reincorporation I would face, without seemingly placing the blame on my family. Parents want to do everything in their power to help their children through a tough situation but I unfortunately have to brave this one alone. I asked for their utmost patience and that it would be a two-way street: I would be patient with my newly unfamiliar communitas and that they would provide patience with frustrations that I may encounter. After reading, my mother thought it was simply stated and well written and she agreed to try to be as patient as possible.

Obviously the study abroad experience does not simply end after your return home. Think about it: you underwent a transformation and whether you like it or not, those memories will stay with you for the rest of your life. That being said, I want to take the time to discuss how I will carry forward all that I have learned. I touched upon it briefly before, but studying abroad taught me to be independent, relying upon my own knowledge to find solutions to problems. Heading back to campus, I hope to employ the same mindset throughout the semester. If there are any issues with scheduling or coursework, the first thing I do is immediately email the professor. Perhaps before that step, I can do my own research and solve the problem myself, without relying so heavily on my wonderful advisor (who I am sure is sick of our incessant email correspondence).

Although study abroad is an all-together positive experience, it can sometimes highlight our biggest faults. I personally need to work on being more independent, using my advisor as a resource as opposed to a crutch, but also learning to be patient. I have already found myself reflecting upon my impatience in the most random of places—driving (once a familiar habit), grocery shopping and simply occupying my time. Studying abroad has a feeling of instant gratification—everything you could ever want is in one place. If I were bored, I would venture out into the streets to discover a new little corner of Paris. Now, I have returned to a town where I have lived for twenty years, with little left to discover…or is there? By being patient, I can allow everyday life, although sometimes boring and grueling, to occasionally surprise me. After all, Miriam Beard said, “Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”

 

 

 

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