Clichés

I feel like I need to offer up some cliche about my time here in Germany. I need to say something about how much I have developed as a person and the way I am going to change the world because of the things I have seen and done. And it’s not that those things aren’t true, I just feel guilty. I feel like I am supposed to be using this opportunity for something more than self-development. I feel like I am supposed to be doing more. I also know that this is just the first step. I would not be prepared at this point in my life to go on some altruistic mission. I need to learn how to be alone. I need this development period to become more aware of the ways I can be a positive influence in the world. I need to learn about myself and my capacities, and to develop the kind of empathy this experience has begun to give me. I need to shake the American/white saviour complex that compels so many young adults to go on a weeklong volunteer mission to *insert third-world country here* to take pictures of themselves with children and feel better about themselves. I want to work in a way that will actually make an impact in this world, but I know that takes the humility to know that I might not make an impact, and that it might not be my place to try to help where I am not needed. I need the humility of being a foreigner and I need to know that I am not the solution to the problems in this world. All I can do is try. I want to do so much more than just be sitting on the steps next to the University alongside the river and living in a dorm doing what I would be doing in the US, just in a different setting. But this is the first step. This is the beginning.

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