Travel Log 14: “Global Connections & Rites of Separation” by Samantha Prevot. Notting Hill, London, England.

In Becoming World Wise, Richard Slimbach says, “If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within.” The “world within” relates to our inner selves; our ideas, impulses, and so on. Slimbach says our “world within” is invisible to others and has a great impact on our social relationships and our relationship to the natural world. Slimbach also says, “The sudden vulnerability we experience as we arrive in an unknown place…renders us acutely aware of who we are, or at least of who we’re not.” Studying abroad is a learning experience, and throughout the past three months, I’ve found this out for myself. When I flew to England in January, I could only imagine where the semester would take me, and I came out of the experience a wiser, more well traveled person.

Before coming to London, I had never flown by myself before and suddenly, here I was flying by myself across the Atlantic Ocean to spend an entire semester in a city that I had only spent one week in before four years ago. Since then, I have traveled to two other countries, Sweden and Ireland, as well as to other parts of England like Stonehenge, Oxford and Brighton. Traveling on my own, or with one or two friends who are my age, gave me a new sense of confidence. In general, I think I’ve found a new sense of independence. I have lived “on my own” at Quinnipiac for the past couple of years, but being here in London took that feeling of being “on my own” to another level. My parents were no longer two hours away and able to answer my calls whenever I needed them. Now, we had a seven-hour plane ride and a five-hour time difference separating us. This was the longest period of time I have spent without coming home, and because of that I think I built up more confidence in myself and became more independent and less reliant on others. It’s hard to explain, but I just think in general I became more in touch with myself, with my “world within” as Slimbach says. Traveling to new places, studying in a brand new university system, and living in a strange city gave me time to reflect and I think I’ve grown and learned more about who I really am and what I want from life. I have also learned valuable life lessons from experiences such as having my phone stolen. Through experiences like these I have become a stronger and wiser person.

In addition, I think studying in London has helped my growth as a member of the global community. I’ve always been open to learning about different people and cultures, and being in a diverse city like London has helped me meet so many new people not only from England but other places around the world. Getting to know them has helped expand my knowledge of the world and has developed my open, positive attitude towards others. I also think, as I have mentioned, volunteering helped reopen my eyes to the joys of helping others and “fighting for similar social values and basic human rights” as we described in our definition of global community. I am definitely bringing this restored outlook with me when I return home and I am also bringing with me a newfound feeling of global awareness and a stronger feeling of global citizenship, as well as a stronger desire to travel and see the world than ever before.

Tomorrow, I am getting on a train to Paris with my mom and leaving London behind. The girls that I live with, and have become very good friends with, are all leaving too either for home or for other countries that they have planned trips to. We have talked many times about how time seemed to go by so quickly and how sad we are not only about leaving London, but also about leaving each other. We have formed such a close bond in these past few months as a communitas, going through the same Rite of Passage journey. We have made so many amazing memories together and now we are all going our separate ways and returning to our respective parts of the United States. As a group, we have tried to spend as much time as possible in the last couple of weeks, going on our last few outings to dinner, shopping, etc. before our semester is officially over. Today, I went to see major landmarks like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace for the last time. Thinking about how these are my last few hours in London for who knows how long puts a knot in my stomach. But at the same time, I keep thinking about my family and friends that are at home who have been missing me while I’ve been gone and I can’t help but get excited about returning to them. I also think about my home, New York City, specifically my town of Rockaway Beach and I get so excited about being able to go back there and see all of the places I’ve missed going to while in London. I can’t wait to get back and roam the streets of Manhattan, or just walk on the beach near my house. I also can’t wait to see my friends and family and tell them all of my stories from my adventures abroad. I know there will be an adjustment period where I will feel weird not taking the tube every day, seeing famous London landmarks on my way to class, seeing my friends that I’ve made here, eating in London-only restaurants, or simply just walking down the street to Tesco. But once I am settled in again at home, I will be so happy and I will be able to look back at my time in London fondly without being sad.

There is a quote from Kate Douglas Wiggin that says, “There is a kind of magicness about going far away and then coming back all changed.” This is so meaningful to me at this point in time because I can tell I’ve changed since leaving for England in January, and it excites me that I get to return to New York as this new and improved version of myself. I also think about all of my friends and family back home and if they have changed at all either, in addition to whether they will be able to notice the changes in me. My mom is visiting me right now, and she hasn’t brought up anything about me seeming different to her. I wonder if she’s thinking it, but isn’t saying it out loud. I am excited to continue traveling with her and try to show her parts of my new, changed, “world within” that right now seems invisible to her. As sad as I am about ending this chapter of my life, I am just as filled with anticipation and excitement about what lies ahead for me now that I’ve had this life-changing experience.

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Travel Log 14: “Global Connections & Rites of Separation” by Bryan Riemer. Cork, Ireland

In order to become a ‘global citizen’ I first had to make ‘global connections’. Now this does not necessarily mean that I just had to meet people from other countries and have a conversation with them, it is more about how I can recognize their cultural differences and allow those differences to have a personal positive impact. I hope to be able to read about a country that I have been to and/or met someone from and have a more globally precise opinion on the situation rather than an Americanized opinion. Once I make ‘global connections’ I can then move forward onto becoming a ‘global citizen’ which involve me having an intellectual conversation with those I met from other countries and having someone I can possibly stay with when visiting their home country in the future. Since I am an American and was raised believing that certain countries are worse than others I will always have a small bias, but the more I learn about those countries that I was taught were bad the more I will be able to make a personal opinion. And only when I am able to make an informative opinion about global crisis will I be able to consider myself globally citizen.

The only solution to solving any problem is with multiple minds working on it at the same time. As Albert Einstein once said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it” (P.51). I see this quote as a good explanation of the quote that I was asked to analyze and discuss which is, “If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into the world within.” (P.54). Einstein’s quote pairs well with this quote because anyone can travel abroad and have experiences that they may never forget but if those experiences are not shared with others then it is almost as if they never really traveled abroad in the first place. This is also true about any problem an individual may have. If the individual can’t communicate their problems with others then how do they expect to solve them?

To properly separate myself from Ireland I have chosen to walk through the streets of Cork and take a picture of any place that I have been to during my time abroad. I will do this over an afternoon and hopefully enjoy this experience. I will not just take the pictures and move onto the next location, I will remember all of the times I spent there and how those experiences changed my overall thoughts of my time studying abroad. For most of these places I will most likely go inside and grab a pint or a snack and get one last mental image of where I have spent the last four months of my life. Prior to leaving I will also try and say goodbye to all of those that I have met and befriended while in Ireland.

In order to accomplish this large task of saying goodbye to everyone I have befriended I was thinking about coordinating a farewell dinner for everyone with the best fish and chips in all of Ireland, Jackie Lennox. I will hope to have a conversation with every individual about how they made my time in Ireland better with their presence and give them my contact information so we can all stay in contact when I return home. I just hope that people will have time to meet considering it is finals week. When I return home I will certainly miss Ireland and will need some time to re-adjust to driving on the right side of the road again. Besides that I will also realize how much I have learned during my time abroad and how I will be able to use my new skills and knowledge in my everyday life.

Travel Log 14: “Global Connections and Rites of Separation” by Ben Raymond. Brisbane, Australia.

“If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within.” These are the words of Richard Slimbach as he describes the influence of global learning. I feel as if this quote couldn’t possibly do a better job embodying my experiences in Australia for the past five months. Not only have I become an active member of the world around me through global learning, but I have also found an entire new world within myself – one that I am just beginning to discover. This journey has allowed me to open my mind to not only my host community, but the global community as well; appreciating all aspects of life that are much deeper than the surface. Slimbach writes, “external experience may occupy most of our waking hours, but we ultimately live from the depths of our being – from our intentions, ideas and impulses,” (65). This course has developed my skill to reflect on my own experiences, and furthermore forcing me to fully immerse within the community. Although the primary language in Australia is English, there are still plenty of cultural differences and norms which make it intimidating for Americans studying abroad to become a part of the community. This past semester, I had the opportunity to observe two of my roommates take on Australia much differently than I had. Outside of class and the occasional shopping session, their interaction with locals was minimal. Their friend group consisted of all Americans who were also studying abroad. It was evident that they were not willing to break out of their communitas – which is acceptable if they had no intention to leave the comfort zone. I, on the other hand, came to Australia with a purpose – I wanted to take full advantage of any opportunity that came my way while overseas. Upon meeting several amazing Australian friends, I took advantage of any offering they proposed; whether it be applying for a job, or going to a local concert at an exclusive rooftop bar. I discovered that by saying “yes,” endless opportunities were placed in front of me to become a part of the community. The friends I made over these past months, I will continue to stay in touch with for a lifetime.

My time has come to an end here. Am I sad? Yes and no. Yes because I have to leave behind a life that I just created for myself, along with breathtaking landscapes and unforgettable people. But on the other hand, no. No because I know that Australia has given me exactly what I wanted to get out of it. I believe it is time to move on to the next chapter with the new set of skills and mature mindset I have developed. I can truthfully say that I have ticked every box of what I wanted to accomplish while abroad… and then some. By going through my own rite of passage in Australia, I will be able to use this new skillset in order to become the adult I want to be at home

Now that it is time to say goodbye, my priority is to spend my last few days with my newly made friends – particularly Nick. As mentioned in previous travel logs, Nick has been kind enough to share his Australian world with me: from his friends, to his family, to his workplace. I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunities he has given me. We will most likely find ourselves at a bar on our last night reminiscing of our past semester over a couple of pints. Although this may not seem too exciting to most, it couldn’t possibly be a better way to end my experience.

Andrew McCarthy states, “The farther I travel, the closer I am to myself.” This quote is meaningful to me because as I made this leap of faith across the world, I began to connect with my inner-self. The only person I became dependent on was myself, where I truly tested my capabilities as an individual. This experience has lit a spark inside of me where I now want to see more of the world end experience more life lessons. The feeling is addictive. With the skills taught in this class, I will be able to constructively tackle any new land I venture to. Furthermore, Australia will always have a place in my heart, as it was the start of a new and improved me. This is not a goodbye, Australia, this is a see you soon.

TL 14 “Global Connections & Rites of Separation”- Taylor Porter Paris, France

Richard Slimbach states that, “If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within.” (p. 54). Throughout my experience, I have found a lot of truth in this statement. Not only did I learn about other people and cultures, I also learned about myself. I have always considered myself to have an introverted, shy personality. My time here has allowed me to experience the extroverted side of myself that I didn’t know I had. I’ve made friends with groups of people that I would never have had the opportunity to meet at home.

During my time here, I have also rediscovered my appreciation for what I have at home. My entire life, all I could ever think about was getting out of my country and experiencing the world. After 4 months of traveling, all I can think about are the comforts of home that I normally take for granted. I miss the little things, like being able to communicate without constantly being self conscious about my accent, grammar, pronunciation, or if Google translate was correct. Having the opportunity to explore the wonders of another world made me realize that I haven’t even began to explore the wonders in my own back yard. When I go home in 7 days now, the first thing I am going to do is plan my next trip. Except on this trip, I want to travel the U.S and see more than just what the east coast has to offer.

The global connections I have made, through the forming of new friendships and expansion of knowledge, have groomed my understanding of what it means to be a global citizen. The journey to becoming a global citizen starts at the point of building awareness. However, true global citizenship involves taking this a step further; by taking that knowledge and turning it into action. I began my journey at a young age, when my parents forced me to start watching the 5:00 news. I was learning about what was going on around the world but only at arms length. Seeing it on a television from thousands of miles away is only a 2-dimensional view. While studying at the American Business School, I took an International Finance class. This class shaped my understanding of how the world works by showing me how my actions are capable of affecting the global community. On a smaller scale, every time I buy something that’s imported or invest in the stock market or even drive my car, I am making an impact on the global economy. I want to carry these connections forward by pursuing a career that allows me to study global trends.

My emotions as my time to departure draws near have honestly come as a shock to me. I expected to want to stay or to be sad, like what all of my friends are currently going through. However, I’m actually overjoyed to go back home! This terrifies me. I am in fact so overjoyed, that I can’t even enjoy my last week. I started packing so early that I actually had to unpack so I had clothes for the rest of the week. What does this say about my time abroad if I’m this happy to go home? Does it say that I didn’t have a good time, or that I’m not cut out to travel? Maybe I just didn’t do it right. I feel guilty when I talk to my friends who are so sad about leaving because I’m just thinking to myself, “why are they so sad? The U.S. isn’t THAT bad, it does happen contain all of my friends, family and everything I hold dear.” Everyone who I’ve ever talked to about study abroad has told me that I wont want to leave and that everything is better in Europe and I might even want to move here after.

I plan on spending my last day having a picnic under the Eiffel tower with the friends I have made during this journey. It truly seems like the perfect way to end my Persian adventure. I suppose I should be relieved I’m not heart broken over leaving. This should make the reincorporation process easier… right? Or will it be worse because I’m filling my head with all of this nostalgia of what home is like and am setting myself up for disappointment?

In my very first blog post, I used a quote from Clifton Fadiman that said, “When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you feel comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” I used this quote to keep an open mind during my time here. Now that I look back at it, the words don’t make me think about the French culture, but the American culture and how everything about it is in place to make me feel comfortable.

This expression gives me clarity as to why I’m so excited to go home, and how I shouldn’t feel guilty about it. Studying abroad was not supposed to make me forget about my own culture and encourage me to take on another, it was meant to help me appreciate other cultures. For some lucky people, studying abroad has opened their eyes to a new culture that makes them feel comfortable. But I was already lucky because I always had a culture that made me feel at home. So yes, I am leaving France without any desire to assume a new European lifestyle. It doesn’t mean that I enjoyed my experience any less than the people who aren’t as excited to go back.

Excited to be Reunited.

Excited to be Reunited.

Travel Log 14: “Global Connections; Rites of Separation” by Connor LaChapelle. Heidelberg, Germany.

After the last four and a half months here in Heidelberg, Germany, I sit here on my favorite bench overlooking my favorite view, while contemplating this quote. In order to comprehend this proverb, I now pose the question to myself, “what is the purpose of studying abroad?” The answer to this very inquiry is what indicates whether we have reached this ‘world within.’ Slimbach’s ‘world within’ is the connectivity that exists amongst the global community. It is a realization that few travelers make, but that those that do will lead lives that will be forever more enriched. This world is actually a state of mind; one that is accessed by intentional travel and active listening. The last trip I went on was to the Greek island of Crete. It was during this trip that I discovered the wonders of what intentional or what I call, deliberate, travel. The purpose of this traveling to this destination, I told myself, was to this particular beach and also to taste this specific Cretan wine. Upon accomplishing these tasks, I felt a sense of fulfillment that I hadn’t know existed prior to that excursion. Although the purpose of this travel was simple, the achievement felt oddly special. It felt this way because I was finally not wandering.

Learning is just like deliberate travel; we must have a destination. Slimbach writes, “external experience may occupy most of our waking hours, but we ultimately live from the depths of our being – our intentions, ideas, and impulses.” (Slimbach, 53) Humans are the products of their experiences, but as Slimbach suggests, they are more the sum of their intentions, ideas, and impulses. I believe that the author unknowingly hit a major point in this sentence that speaks to many of the global problems he address in Becoming World Wise. There is not enough emphasis place on the intentions of individuals or communities. Take, for example, the idea of success. A boy grows up in a lower income household, and all he knows is that he wants more. As that boys becomes a man and becomes educated, his aim is not on something that can be measured. There is no ceiling or destination. This is how America has become lost in the global community.  This is why America breeds materialism and entitlement. If that same boy were to have been taught to practice intentional travel, learning and living, then maybe his goal as a child would simply be to afford to put a meal on the table for his family at every meal. Maybe it would be to own a nice house, or even an expensive boat. The point is that if this boy has that specific attainable goal in mind, then he will be less likely to get lost on his way to success.

As the time grows near where I will be departing I am actually excited to say goodbye because I am looking forward to exploring the depths of the friendships I have made by putting space between us. We are going out to dinner to celebrate the times we’ve had and toast to new revelations and adventures. It feels like a finale of sorts, an event I will remember more the collection of events that prefaced it. As I prepare to leave this place, my emotions are pushing to take over the helm of my thoughts. I know this is healthy for me, because it is something I haven’t experienced it before. My cognition has never before been in the passenger seat, and it has somewhat made me car sick in a way. What is has given me is a new perspective on life.

Travel Log 14: “Global Connections; Rites of Separation” by Tory Parker. Rome, Italy.

Eight more days. Single digits. I cannot believe I only have eight short days in this place that I have called home for the past four months. Wasn’t it just yesterday I was posting my first blog raving about how I could not believe I was actually here? While I am incredibly sad that I will be leaving this amazing city, I am so excited to be back home. While I love Rome and all the experiences, challenges, and lessons that came with living here, I am ready to go back to familiarity, my own bed, my friends and family, and food labels that are in English! As my time here draws to a close, I plan to soak in all the amazing things there are to see here while I still have the opportunity. Once I am back home, I definitely will not be able to take a leisurely 30-minute stroll to the Coliseum like I can here. I also plan to spend as much time with my roommates, who I have grown very close to. We are already planning a “see ya later” dinner at the beach with a lot of pizza and wine. I think because I have grown to love this place and these people so much, the Reincorporation phase of this Rite of Passage process will be difficult in the beginning. I think, after being apart of and experiencing Italian culture for so long, I will feel a bit of culture shock going back to the U.S. I think I will eventually realize that it is ok to feel nostalgic about my time here and will be able to go through the Reincorporation process.

In his book, Richard Slimbach states, ““If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within” (Slimbach, 54). Studying abroad has been a more rewarding experience than I could have ever imagined. Not only have I explored numerous places that otherwise I may not have, I have made many lasting friendships and learned a few things about myself as well. I think this is what Slimbach means by “this world within”. Studying abroad has taught me that I can handle a lot more than I thought I could; being thrust into a new country, a new language, a new culture, a new university, with four new roommates is not an easy load to take on all at once. But through my time here, I have learned that I am capable of handling not only this, but, in the future, other stressful situations. Studying abroad has also forced me to become more independent. While in Italy, my parents were not a two-hour drive away. I was responsible for handling any issues and struggles concerning school or just daily life that I encountered on my own. In short, I believe this quote means that global learning (the study abroad experience) is not simply a chance to learn about the world around us, but is also an opportunity to learn about and find ourselves. Also, my time here has contributed to my growth as a member of the global community by allowing me to experience the global community first hand. I think it would be quite difficult to be a responsible global citizen if I had only seen one small corner of the world. I will carry these connections forward by using the knowledge and skills I have gained here and continuing to apply them when I am back in the United States.

A quote that expresses how I feel at this point in my journey is, “You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That’s the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place”- Miriam Adeney. I feel that this quote accurately represents my feelings towards leaving because it shows that although I may be back in the United States, a piece of me will always be in Rome. I have had so many great and life changing experiences and met so many influential people that it would be impossible to not leave a piece of my heart here.

Travel Log 14: “Global Connections & Rites of Separation” by Kilian Smith. Berlin, Germany.

My spring semester spent in Berlin, Germany has been without a doubt the best four months of my life. I have met so many fantastic people, learned much about myself, seen many different parts of Europe, and integrated myself into one of the most remarkable cultures in the world. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and within the week I have to leave this uniquely beautiful city. It will be so hard to cut physical ties with the friends I have made as well as Berlin itself because I have fallen in love with this city. With the end of my experience closing in on me, I have been reflecting on my experience thus far. One of my goals for my study abroad experience was to “find myself” and figure out what path I want to take through life. Richard Slimbach states in Becoming World Wise, “If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within.” He argues that the vulnerability created when a study abroad student such as myself steps out of his known surroundings and comfort zone allows them to find out who they are or more often who they are not. I am a prime example of this. In America my family, friends, and routines protected and comforted me when I was anxious or afraid. I was in a constant state of familiarity and this created a safe zone that I never had to step out of. In Berlin I was completely independent; I was surrounded by the unfamiliar and for some reason I have never felt more in control of my own destiny. For years I had to consider so many factors in my life decisions and often felt as if my life was planned for me. I feel that the middle class teenager in the United States almost has an arranged life ahead of them: graduate high school, go to college, get a job, have a family and then die. Berlin has made me realize that I cannot continue to follow this plan. My family, friends, and society may have the best intentions in mind but if I continue on the path that has been planned for me I will not be happy. From this I would argue that Slimbach is right in that vulnerability allows us to find who we truly are and in my case who I am not. I am a unique person and I need to follow the life path that is right for me. I do not yet know where my path will lead but because of my experience in Berlin, I have a starting point and an idea of what makes me happy.

Not only did my abroad experience allow me to connect better with myself but it also allowed me to feel more connected to the global community. It is one thing to hear about life and events in a separate part of the world but it is completely different to experience it firsthand. I heard about Europe’s most pressing issues in the United States but now I have lived them. I have also made friends from all over the world throughout my experience. I have met people from California, Ohio, North Carolina as well as Germans, Turks, Norwegians, and Irish. They are my friends and I care deeply about them, therefore their problems are my problems. Because I now have global ties, I feel like a citizen of the world rather than just of the United States. I believe that sometimes Americans get so caught in their own issues that they forget there are many other countries with their own problems. I now know that we are all citizens of the world when it comes down to it. We all must work together in order to survive as a species, especially in today’s globalized society.

As I count down the days until I leave I am filled with much anxiety and sadness. How can I leave this city that has taught me so much? Berlin has allowed me to experienced life for what it truly is and make unbreakable bonds with some amazing people. It has allowed me to find myself and most importantly overcome issues that have plagued me for years. I owe so much to this experience and it feels wrong to just cut it off after only four months. I am nervous that I will lose all I have gained when I return home. I fear that returning to the routine will cause me to sink back into my old habits of laziness and self-loathing. At the same time I am excited to take what I have experienced and apply it to my life in the United States. I have much I can teach to my friends and family as well as a vision by which I can improve my local community. I must be relentless in remembering all Berlin has taught me, and the people it has allowed me to meet. By continually improving myself and the community around me I will be honoring Berlin, and making the most of all it has given me.

ravel Log 14: “ Global Connections & Rites of Separation” by Colin Burke. Barcelona, Spain

Calling oneself a global citizen is a very bold statement. It entails an ever-evolving attitude towards exploring, examining, and helping to enact positive change in the world. A global citizen is a listener, communicator, and even somewhat of an investigator.  An investigator by trying to get to the bottom of world problems and talking to people on the ground in the area where an issue exists. Slimbach states, “Global learning that serves the common good faces the world as it is and declares, “This is unacceptable-the despair, the dispossession, the exploitation, the contempt for human dignity-there must be another way.”(Slimbach 72) Global learning has to seek to unearth the layers behind every problem that faces the world. The news will attempt to uncover the reasons based on a few expert opinions, but global citizens will not take this for fact.

I have recently read the book Freakonomics, by Steve Levitt, an untraditional economist whose career and novel focuses not on traditional economic theory, but using statistics to draw insight into the real reasons behind pertinent issues in the USA. These include education, crime, and parenting. Levitt uses statistical analysis to get to the core of the topics mentioned.

As a business major looking to get into the technology field, I have learned how organizations are utilizing the power of information in order to make decisions and solve problems within their company. Levitt was only able to draw his conclusions because studies were taken and information was gathered. If the information gathered is false or skewed, then so are his conclusions. Yet, gathering information is how to solve a problem. From imprisoning a drug lord to beating an opposing soccer team, information is key. Global citizens are individuals who, when in a location, gather real information and spread it however possible. This is the best way to bring about change.

The quote I chose was, “I don’t want to live in the kind of world where we don’t look out for each other. Not just the people that are close to us, but anybody who needs a helping hand. I can’t change the way anybody else thinks, or what they choose to do, but I can do my bit.”-Charles de Lint, author. I resonate with this quote a lot, but the last five words are what I wish to make happen. Global citizens help to unearth and gather information about the problems that exist in the countries where they travel.

I was able to say bye to almost all of my hallmates during one of my last nights in Barcelona. We went to my favorite discoteca where we have always been the only Americans in the building. It was a great night with the best music that I have heard across Europe. I was sure to thank everyone for being good friends in helping me practice Spanish, telling where to eat and drink, and making sure I did not miss any parts of the city.

My emotions about leaving Barcelona were highly impacted by the fact that I did not return home directly after my program. By my mother’s grace I was able to travel to Australia to visit one of my best friends, and am currently visiting another in New Zealand. It was extremely bittersweet to leave Barcelona, where I had formed many relationships and grown to love the city. Barcelona is a special place where life is always enjoyed in the presence of others. I will miss interacting with locals in their language the most. It was always enlightening to learn about locals regardless of which language we used. The travel log where I interviewed a Spaniard was easily my favorite and probably where the most learning occurred. However, it must be stated that I cannot take my findings as fact as a person’s views are heavily swayed by their parenting and where in the country they were raised.

Travel Log 14: “ Global Connections & Rites of Separation” by Danielle Godley. Florence, Italy.

I’m not ready to leave Italy, these are the 6 words that I have been muttering for the last few weeks as the semester is coming to a close. As sad as I am to leave I am also excited that in the past 4 months I have been able to grow as a person, a friend, and a daughter. I know that I am not the same person who came to here 4 months ago. I have learned about new cultures, met new friends, and also learned a lot about myself. As Slimbach states, “The dynamics involved in rediscovering our true self and learning to embrace strangers within our field settings necessarily focuses our attention on the conscious choices that we, as individuals, make to think and act in certain ways” (59). By embracing strangers I was able to learn more about the city then by reading a book. Some of my most memorable experiences in Italy have been with my friend who was born and raised in Florence. He was able to share with me the unique stories of the cities, as well as the ways Florentine’s do things and why. Most importantly I was able to get a glimpse into the way people in Italy view Americans and our country as a whole. Before I came to Florence I never gave art a second look, in fact I often found it silly and overrated. After studying some of these works I have learned that art is one of the most important things in the world. Not only does art tell a story about history and the people of its time, but it also unites us still today. I am excited to go home to be able to share my new experiences with my family and friends. By studying abroad I was able to become student of the global community, and I hope to encourage those to study abroad as well.

I often feel guilty as my time is winding down that I am not ready to go back. My mom has had a countdown to when she could hug me and my best friend is already setting up Chipotle dates but leaving Italy will be very difficult for me. The new friendships, the familiar faces, and even the strengthening of old friendships are something that I will miss about being here. My best friends live just down the block and are readily at my fingertips to climb the Duomo at the drop of a hat. As my time here is winding down we are hitting out favorite restaurants and attending our favorite spots one last time.

Slimback states that, “As educational travelers, our first and perhaps most challenging task is to allow our host culture to become a place where we can struggle against the fictional self that is revealed through our feelings of ignorance, inadequacy, and childlike independence” (55). It is by allowing ourselves to become vulnerable that we are able to finally learn and grow as a person in our new home. I can’t count the number of times that I have had to ask for help since being in Italy. Whether it be if I was asking how to use drain cleaning to unclog the shower drain in my broken Italian or asking what tasted good with truffle spread on a panini. By allowing myself to be vulnerable I was able to really learn about the city and the culture around me. I learned to enjoy my espresso standing up, and not to order a cappuccino after 12pm. More importantly I learned about how generous and kind the people around me truly are. I made connections with people not only in Italy but also in other cities in Europe that I have been lucky enough to travel to. Another important part about becoming vulnerable is allowing yourself to try and let go of your fear. By doing this I was able to paraglide over the Swiss Alps, cave in Budapest, segway in Prague, and try to learn to surf in Lisbon, and swim in the blue grotto. These memorable experiences are ones that I will never forget as long as I live.

Tomorrow night I will walk up to Piazza Michelangelo for the last time since I arrived here just a few short months ago. My roommates and I are all planning on going together followed by a family dinner with about 20 of our friends. Watching the sunrise from this part of town is the most perfect way to end my time here in Florence. This spot gives you a view of the entire city below allowing us to reminisce on the streets where we got lost, gave directions, and fell in love with the city below. I will forever be thankful to Florence and its people for this experience has truly changed my life.

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” –Martin Burber. This quote sums up my adventure abroad these last 4 months. Most of my most memorable experiences here have been when I least expected them to occur. The spontaneity and vulnerability that I allowed myself experience during this time is something that I hope to take back to America with me.

 

 

Travel Log 14 “Global Connections & Rites of Separation” Gabby Butcher. Sevilla, Spain.

When it comes down to it, I don’t think I can put into words how awesome this study abroad experience has been for me the past four months. My knowledge of Spanish has doubled; I have traveled to nine different countries; and my appreciation for the world around me has grown in ways I never thought imaginable. “If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within” (Slimbach 54). I truly believe that Slimbach is conveying to the reader that a study abroad experience can not only teach an individual about the world around him, but it can also team him about the world within him and what he has to offer the world.

In the beginning of Chapter 2, Slimbach talks about why students choose to study abroad. “Many of us choose to study or serve abroad during a time of intense self-exploration and questioning. Who do I want to be? What do I want to do with my life? What kind of person do I want as a life partner? Where do I want to settle? And why does it even matter” (Slimbach 40)? This was my number one reason for studying abroad. As a Spanish major who does not want to be a Spanish teacher, I ultimately have no idea where I am going to end up. I wanted my time abroad in Spain to open up doors for me and show me opportunities for jobs. While I still am unsure of what I want to do, I am confident knowing that I have options through the connections I have made during my time in Sevilla. My host mom has offered an open invitation to return to Sevilla whenever I am able to, while the company I interned for has given me an open invitation to come back and work for them. Teaching English as a second language to Spanish children is an option that a lot of study abroad kids take up as well. I will carry these connections forward by continuing to keep in touch with the friends I have made here, and the knowledge that, as Slimbach’s quote about global learning demonstrates, although the world has a lot to offer, we have a lot to offer the world.

I am so thankful for the friends I have made on this trip. As the number of days gets smaller, my friends and I go sit by the river at night and reminisce on the semester. Tonight, my roommates and I are taking my host mom out to dinner to thank her for her generosity this semester. My program is also having a goodbye dinner the night before we all head back to America. I am sad to leave my friends but I know I will have them and the memories we’ve made here for the rest of my life. Although I am sad to leave, I am also extremely excited to go back home. My time here has shown me how much love I have for my small hometown of Clinton, and especially my friends who I have had since elementary school, and of course my family. I know I will miss Sevilla but I do not think I will have a problem reincorporating back into my American lifestyle (with changes of course – no more phone at the dinner table!).Not all those who wander are lost

One of my favorite quotes comes from The Fellowship of the Ring. “Not all those who wander are lost.” Although my ultimate goal during this experience was to figure out what I want to do in the future for a job, I am confident that I will figure it out when the time is right. In the mean time, my “wandering” does not mean that I am lost, but instead I am valuing the journey as opposed to the destination.