My college experience has been filled with extracurriculars from all aspects of campus. Despite my commitments, I left for a semester and did the best thing I could do for myself, travel the world. Over the course of four and a half months, I traveled Greece and eight other countries. The person I was when I left in January 2022 has evolved and grown into a more caring, supportive, kind, aware, and grateful person.
As a GLI student, I was constantly relating my experiences back to my global theme, Resources and Sustainability. Traveling Europe taught me a lot about approaches to environmental issues. Some countries were active in conservation, while others were active in contributing to global issues. Two of my courses abroad focused on contemporary environmental issues and waste management. Discussions in these classes were arguably more valuable than the content being taught. Students came from all over the world, who shared different backgrounds and perspectives. I opened my mind, put myself in their shoes, and thought hard about what they had to say. I intend to bring these conversations back to Montana, and apply them into my capstone project.
After returning to the states, and to the University of Montana, I am more confident than ever in my ability to lead. Being adaptable is a difficult skill to learn and apply, however, practice makes perfect. Consistently traveling for four and a half months is perfect practice. Navigating foreign airports, transportation, cultures, and customs, while trying to communicate through a language barrier is a challenge, and a person needs to be adaptable and flexible in order to survive. Adaptability is an important trait in a leader. Showing a team how to acknowledge and overcome a hardship in an effective and calm manner can lead to a more successful team. Being abroad taught me to be flexible, to stay calm, and to approach a problem logically, instead of emotionally. I am excited to put this new skill to use in my future leadership experiences.
One of my favorite adventures was an afternoon trip to Cape Sounion to visit the Temple of Poseidon. Poseidon is the Greek God of the sea and waters, and has been my favorite from a little age. I was taking a Greek mythology course in Athens, so I knew the history and importance of the temple, the reason for the chosen location, and the meaning and value Poseidon has on Greek culture. The access I had to these historic temples is something I will forever be grateful for. Learning about the Greek Gods and Goddesses in class and being able to travel to the temples built in honor of them was one of the most rewarding parts of my study abroad experience.