Thanksgiving

I was sitting at the small table with my Abuelo (grandfather) and little brother and his best friend.  We were talking about school and I told them how I would like to go study abroad in Spain.  My Abuelo looked up at me and said “really?”.  I was like yeah I loved Costa Rica, why not go somewhere new and explore my opportunities.  He was so excited.  He ended up telling me he went to study abroad in Spain in college too.  He said it changed his life forever.  I asked him why he never mentioned it since it had such an impact on him.  He didn’t know that I was interested in traveling so he never brought it up.  But he was telling me how it was his first time on a plane and he didn’t know what to expect.  He ended up almost missing his flight and caught it by running onto the strip.  We were all laughing.  He says he was running in front of it waving his hands and yelling that his luggage and everything was on that plane and they weren’t leaving without him.  He refused to stop even when everyone was yelling for him to move out of the way for safety reasons.  They finally let him on once he explained that all of his belongings were on that plane and he wasn’t leaving till he got his things.  When he got on the plane, he said his friends were impressed saying he was the stuff for making the plane stop for him.  I found out my little brother during this conversation would like to study in Italy.  He doesn’t know where yet but he knows Italy.  He said if he doesn’t go to study he’d still love to go and visit and see what it’s like there.

Week 11 & 13: Thanksgiving

I talked to my family about my desire t travel and study abroad over Thanksgiving break. I received many questions about where I would like to go and how I was going to make it happens. I mostly received good feedback for my ambitions and wanted to make sure I was ready to make such a commitment. I understand that the questions they asked were out of the safety and concern of my well being and I felt really thankful for my family and their positivity towards it.

Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving I attempted to tell my parents about studying abroad. I want to go the Athens, Greece so I took it among myself to go to the studioabroad website and go through the whole plan with them. Long story short, they were not having it. My parents are very firm on what they want and do not want, but it’s okay, I’m very persuasive. We’ll see again during Christmas.

Week 9: Ethical Global Engagement

Before reading and watching the texts on global volunteering, I thought that volunteering globally was very important and helpful to foreign communities. I thought that volunteering was volunteering and that it was all good. I never considered how different types of volunteering could have different levels of impact or how volunteering could even be harmful for the people you are trying to help. I found the article “To Get into Harvard, Go to Hatti” very thought provoking. I realized that it is true that many students go on extravagant mission trips for the sake of writing a story about it in their college essays. I remember in high school wishing that I had gone over seas so that I could have a profound volunteer experience to write about and impress colleges with. I do not believe that this type of volunteering is helpful, because the volunteer is going through the motions of what they should do without actually caring about the people they are “helping.” The people being helped can easily see through the facade and know that they are not being helped, but are being exploited. I was shocked when watching the video that shows the good and bad to volunteering abroad. I feel that voluntourism can do more harm than good, especially in the case of helping orphans. There should be more information provided to volunteers demonstrating to them the impact of their abandoning has on children. I believe that if people were more aware of this impact, fewer people would volunteer internationally for programs that cause more harm than good.

Thanksgiving

During Thanksgiving, I talked to my family and asked them their thoughts on studying aboard. No one in my family other than my dad has studied aboard. However, a lot of my cousins who are older said that they wished they have studied aboard when they were in college because it would have been an amazing experience. All most every member of my family understood my desire for studying aboard and how beneficial it would be for me. The only thing that kinda made them worry was the fact that I will in a country where I will not be close to any family member or family friends. This especially worries my family because I come from a culture where family means a lot. However, I have made an agreement with my family that I will be careful and always be aware of my surroundings when I’m in a new place. I also showed them that I am capable of taking care of myself by making my own doctor appointments and handling my budget. Overall, i think my family is getting ok and will support me with my study aboard.

Thanksgiving

During Thanksgiving, I talked to my family and asked them their thoughts on studying aboard. No one in my family other than my dad has studied aboard. However, a lot of my cousins who are older said that they wished they have studied aboard when they were in college because it would have been an amazing experience. All most every member of my family understood my desire for studying aboard and how beneficial it would be for me. The only thing that kinda made them worry was the fact that I will in a country where I will not be close to any family member or family friends. This especially worries my family because I come from a culture where family means a lot. However, I have made an agreement with my family that I will be careful and always be aware of my surroundings when I’m in a new place. I also showed them that I am capable of taking care of myself by making my own doctor appointments and handling my budget. Overall, i think my family is getting ok and will support me with my study aboard.

Thanksgiving

Over Thanksgiving break, I went to with my family to visit my grandmother in Nashville. She asked about school and I told her about Introduction to Study Abroad. My grandmother never went to college and she has always wanted to travel abroad. She thought the idea of spending a semester studying abroad would be an amazing thing to do. She was very excited about all of the traveling opportunities that would be available to me if I chose to study in Europe. She was concerned, however, because she thought studying abroad was expensive. I told her that that was a common misconception and that I could study abroad for even less than I pay to study at VCU. She was thrilled to hear this and she told me to send her lots of postcards from Europe!

Week 12 & 13: Thanksgiving

For Thanksgiving, it was just my mom and I. When I brought up going abroad, she sighed, rolled her eyes, and said, “Madelyn, not this conversation again.” She’s very aware that I want to go abroad, and she supports me 100% (and if she didn’t, I could easily bring up how my brother went to Rome for a summer to study Latin, so it’s only fair). She wants me to go to France, I want to go to Malta. However, after binging the BBC show ‘Peaky Blinders’ during break with her and falling in love with one of the lead actors who is from Cork, Ireland, we both want to go to Ireland. I haven’t looked into studying abroad in Ireland, but I imagine theres a nice program in place.

Week 11: Global Education

Part 1:  I think that international students feel isolated from American students because Americans are polite, yet distant. In the videos, the Israeli student thought that all Americans were fake because they would ask how you are doing and not actually care. He did not understand that extensions of compassion were actually just social norms meant to demonstrate politeness, rather than caring. There is an international student from Spain in one of my classes. He is on the tennis team, but he seems to mainly spend time with other Spanish students on the team. He never talks about spending time with American friends. I think that a lot of domestic students at VCU do not understand the difficulty of students who study abroad. To be honest, I never thought of studying abroad as potentially challenging socially until I took this class. I think that VCU could do a better job of informing domestic students that international students face a lot of challenges and that you should reach out to them, because they may be shy.

Part 2: In high school, I had a French teacher who had moved from France to Texas. She experienced major culture shock. She even remembered seeing telephone wires above ground and wondering if she was in a third world country. I expect to experience culture shock wherever I end up studying. All cultures are different. I grew up in northern Virginia, and even the differences in my hometown’s culture and Richmond’s culture are profound. I thought that the international student’s take on the “American Phrasebook” was funny. I had never thought about how as Americans, we say one thing, but mean another. I understand how this may be very confusing for an international student. From what the international student was saying, it seemed that many other cultures are much more direct. They say what they mean, not what is culturally acceptable.

Part 3: I think that study away experiences can be just as fulfilling as study abroad experiences, based on your goals. For some, getting out of their comfort zone and learning about a new culture is the goal. For these people, studying away can be a more cost-effective alternative. In high school, my mom was a part of a study away exchange program. She said that she learned a lot without spending a lot. Other students have goals of learning about a specific culture or a specific language. For these students studying abroad is more effective. While America can provide a global learning experience, there is no substitute for a full emersion experience in the country of interest.

Part 4: I believe that there is a balance that can be struck between allowing international students into American universities and aiding first-generation college students and low-income students into universities. From my own experience, I have learned a lot from international students from my short time at VCU. I feel that they have taught in ways that I could not have learned from a classroom professors. From my own experience, I see little downside of admitting international students into American universities.

Week 11: Global Education

    • Part 1:  I think that it’s more difficult to make friends when you’re coming from a foreign country because of its a different culture in our society then what they’re used to. Like was mentioned in the article that it can be daunting to muster up th courage to  speak to someone who uyoure not familiar seeing. I have never met with an internatiional student before however i believe that it is highly possible. I think that its important to spread awareness to people who doesnt understand what it means to be in a differnt country. Most Americans haven’t been introduced to that concept before so I think that its better of explaining to them what that student is going through in order for people to have a better understanding

    • Part 2:  I have heard of culture shock before and I felt that coming to VCU was one of my first expierience with that. In the begininng i thought it was so exciting to be on campus and to see many diverse poeple but after awhile it became overwhelming. I think he make a valid point about the process you go through while expiereincing culture shock and that i will more than likely expierience the same challenge. The “American Phrasebook” was actually legit. I never noticed how our culture was potrayed by foriegners however its something I’m more aware of today. I realized that most Americans only know so much about our own values in society and don’t care to learn much about others. I think that one phrase a foreigner might get confused about is our dramatic expressions about minor things. For example, “You’re killing me” or “Im dead/Im weak” which all mean that something is hilarious but it may seem like we perceive death as something to laugh at.

    • Part 3:  I believe that its impossible to have a global experience if you don’t accept challenges and get out of your comfort zone. Accepting changes into you life will ultimately allow you to grow as a human being with having a broader view of the world. Its necessary to get out of your bubble and get into someone else’s world. Studying abroad will open your eyes to actually feel and see how different it is to be somewhere you don’t recognize. Staying in a local and familiar place will not give you that same experience.

    • Part 4:  After reading the article in the Atlantic, I reflected on the questions that were posted in the last paragraph. I find it odd to ask such questions comparing U.S minorities and international students because thats two completely different topics. I understand that college is a business and its there job advertise diversity but I think thats its just unfair to have that comparison because its difficult to be on just one side.