After a semester of meeting people from all over Europe, I have often asked myself what my life would be like if I were born somewhere else. In my travels, I have seen new lands and experienced unfamiliar cultures. Each one was unique and has given me a new perspective.
France: Thank you for my most immersive experience. Not only did I learn about cultural practices different than my own, but I also adopted these traditions; some are temporary, some permanent. Here I learned that there is nothing wrong with keeping your private life private. I have always been outgoing and friendly, but I admire the respect the French have for each other’s privacy.
Morocco: Thank you for the culture shock. I had never stepped outside the Western culture before this semester, and I am very glad that I made the trip to this part of the world. Traveling to Morocco has heightened my interest in exploring more areas of the world. These customs were the furthest from my own and I have found a deeper appreciation for the wonderful mix of cultures I can find in the States.
Spain: Thank you for making me feel that it’s ok to relax. If I need a break, I can take it. Work has been a large part of my life since I started classes at university, but Spain has helped me see the importance in taking a beat. Life is easier to enjoy in the moment if you take a moment to breathe.
Italy: Thank you for the food. I didn’t spend much time here (only one day) and so I didn’t have a huge chance to get to know the people, but I got to know the food. And it was delicious. I will not rest until I eat your fresh, wonderfully firm pasta again.
Ireland: Thank you for the stories. The Irish are fantastic storytellers, and they’ve got stories to tell. I love the connection they maintain to their roots, a large part of that connection being telling stories through generations. Being 50% Irish myself, I have felt a stronger inclination to remain connected to my roots since spending time in my home.
Scotland: Thank you for your individuality. Although you are a part of the United Kingdom, you have unique traditions that have stood the test of time. From wearing kilts as formal wear and ROCKING IT, to continuing supporting your favorite competitors in the Scottish Highland games. I saw some pretty incredible feats of strength that day, even if the Polish guy won. Don’t worry, I cheered for the guy from Glasgow anyway.
Iceland: Thank you for the views. You have the most interesting and beautiful landscape that I have ever seen, and I am still in awe of the nation of fire and ice. They get this name from their combination of glaciers and volcanoes all over the country. I got the privilege of seeing multiple glaciers, volcanoes, and a volcanic crater. The protection placed on preserving these natural landmarks is inspiring.
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<p>I am a Wisconsinite/Minnesotan traveling many miles to study in the beautifully temperate Nice, France! This diversifying experience suits me well because jam is my jam and getting lost is second nature. Bring on the language immersion!</p>