Heading to College Park, University of Maryland I was told there are two things every student must do to have the most of their college experience: 1. Join Greek Life 2. Study Abroad. I was quick to get on top of mission number 1; wasn’t easy but my pledge class is awesome. [shout out to my Lambdas. Omega Theta on top!]
With two semesters left to cross into “the real word,” setting up studying abroad seemed much harder than it was as a Senior. Thanks to Maryland’s great study abroad office (Shout out to Diedre and Malissa) and an amazing Mother (Mama, you rock) I was able to get settled with plans to study in Rome, Italy for my Senior Fall Semester, 2012.
Fast forward to November 25th, Senior Fall Semester 2012.
Hello from Rome,
We’re three months in and December is fast approaching. Conceived a dream, International Immersion has become the reality. From the my apartment in Gianicolese being ransacked, creepy gypsies constantly trying to pickpocket us, dirt cheap (but amazing) pizza everywhere, Carbonara with Marinara sauce (a personal favorite), and a visit or two to the hospital for friends- I’ve experienced a lot. In study abroad the up’s/pros vastly outweighed any cons.
Here I have made friends that I couldn’t disagree with more politically but happen to have more in common than most, and friends that I agree with on everything- both types shifting into wild conversation and unstoppable laughter minutes into any discussion. Its been real.
We’re closing in on December and today marks the three week mark before heading to the Stati Uniti (U.S.A). Three months, many friends, and a great deal of travel has exposed me to things I haven’t seen back in “The States.” Seeing El Mundo from the other side of the world has broadened my perspective, my experiences, and my perception of me.
That’s right- more than tourism and blissful European romance, which isn’t a nice thought if you hear about what goes down at Villa Borghese, I learned more about who I am, who I was, and who I am capable of being.
For a reason
Im starting this blog to create a conversation. A conversation on the experiences I’ve had and will continue to have and how I think about them or how they’ve mold my thoughts.
From it I hope you’ll form your own ideas and thoughts, by social media I hope you will express those thoughts, and via conversation I hope we can begin to recognize the different ways we will see the same thing- in a mission to grow comfortable with difference.
As Ben Wattenberg wrote in the 90’s and F. Zakaria reminded us a few weeks ago in the Washington Post, “diversity was [is] going to be America’s greatest strength in the years ahead.”
He wrote this in the 90’s so these are “the years ahead.” We’ve got to shift the dialogue to a conversation that enables society to accept and engage diverse backgrounds to gain variety in opinion resulting in better solutions. Regardless of what you think, you deserve a seat at the table. It’s a very simple lesson: I should listen to you because I want you to listen to me. If we listen to each other we’ll begin to understand a bit.
As my friend Seren said to me when I met up with her in Amsterdam weeks ago. In our leadership we must be deep, honest, and intentional.
A brighter future means understanding diverse opinions, understanding yourself, and being true to folks you interact with. Study abroad can help you learn a lot about yourself- conversation will show you diversity, strong leadership will protect your right to have a difference, and honesty will open the world to you.
These are the keys to our future. It’s our job to turn the lock and see whats behind those doors.
From Rome with love,