The world is getting smaller. At least that’s what some people say. When an airplane can get you from Missoula, MT to Amsterdam, Beijing, Tokyo, Prague, and beyond in less time than it takes to drive to the East Coast, when email and phones make contact and communication instantaneous anywhere in the world, there is truth in that.
Times have changed. It used to take weeks to sail up and down the East Coast of North America, let alone to make the voyage across the Atlantic or the Pacific. Of course that was long ago, before cars were invented. But even when our parents were taking their turns at studying abroad, phone calls were rare and the internet was in its infancy.
How does that relate to my study abroad experience? It relates in the way that globalization (the big ‘it’ word that the GLI is built around) is directly correlated to those developments in transportation and communication. In Ireland, the American influence is a bit more noticeable than in places like Bulgaria or the Czech Republic. However, Irish culture, Bulgarian culture, and Czech culture still are fundamentally unique, with traditions and beliefs that will never fade.
As well they should not. Its hard to put into perspective how much cultures differ until you’re living in one that’s not your own. I know this sounds like a ‘Duh!’ moment, but from someone that has never been outside the United States (excluding Canada), it was a profound revelation.
Thinking about my GLI topic that I chose freshman year, I’ve come to realize that obviously I need to rethink so things. It had something to do with how the arts (specifically theatre) are transmitted and passed from culture to culture, and while that is an interesting and relevant topic for an anthropologist, there are other, more modern, more pressing topics that have to deal with issues in the world right now. Or at least, I can tweak my topic to reflect a more mature understanding of the way the world works.
Has anyone else wanted to change their topic after their Beyond the Classroom experience? I imagine so. These experiences (at least Studying Abroad from my perspective) are profoundly momentous. I don’t know if I’ve referenced this quote before on this blog but Mark Twain’s quote is a good way to finish this my entries in this blog.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”