Time Abroad: Fall 2009
Study abroad. Just do it. Especially if you qualify for the Cherrington Global Scholars program, there is no reason not to. If you're unsure, or think you'll get homesick, then you should choose a quarter-long program. Many people say that they don't want to study abroad because they can travel later in life, but simply visiting a country or culture is not the same as fully integrated yourself into that culture for several months.
Through my study abroad experience, I have learned humility. By putting myself in a 4-month long awkward situation, I've learned not to take myself or life too seriously. I learned so much about myself and have expanded my comfort zone tremendously.
In my Political Ecology of Forests course, we spent some time in Huay Tong Kaw village in Northern Thailand. One night, we did a cultural exchange with the villagers. We took turns singing songs and doing dances that reflected our different cultures. We decided to teach all of the locals the Macarena as a joke. All of the villagers got up and danced with us. It was so funny and unifying. I will never forget seeing the village medicine man shake his hips.