Back again for the 2nd installment of my first study abroad experience! I miss Tanzania already. I miss the culture and the people, as well as the little details, like driving on the left side of the road and seeing all of the livestock that grazed by the side of the road and being able to bargain for almost anything that I saw for sale.
I gained an enormous amount of knowledge from my trip, so much I could never possibly divulge it in one single blog post (like I said I would try in my last post), which is sad. I did, however, keep a personal journal and meticulously recorded the events of each day as well as important conversations and thoughts that I had, which I will cherish for life. There were some days I only wrote about a page or so, but others I went on about topics for ten written pages! It was a lot of writing, and I always did it at night so I was so tired, but I’m so glad I did, because I can lend it to all of my family and friends and they can experience the trip like they were there. I think I’ll keep a personal journal like that on every trip that I go on, so I can always go back and relive the adventure.
I think one of the most important things I learned from the trip is the fact that, as an American, I am afforded a lavish life that most people in the world can only dream about. I live far above every line of poverty and I have endless opportunities, especially when it comes to education.
The people of Tanzania, especially the children, crave and yearn to be educated. They know that education can improve their lives and help them help their communities and live better lives. It seems that all too often in the States, many young people take the gift that is free and adequate education for granted, and see it as a chore. Of course, as [young] Americans they take many things for granted, but education is by far the most important.
I would like to think that I have always valued my education, but I can truly say now after my journey that I will never forget what a blessing it is to be educated and to further my education. Knowledge is power, and with it I am going to change the world for the better.
I’m so glad I chose to study abroad in a third world country, because I know I never would have learned this much from visiting somewhere in Western Europe. Although my current plan is to study somewhere in Germany for a semester or two during my undergrad degree, this trip has convinced me that I must join the Peace Corps, or something similar, and stay long-term in a developing country, because there is so much to be done.
My worldview has changed completely because of this amazing journey, and I’m so thankful that I am receiving a wonderful education at home and abroad through the University of Oklahoma. My first attempt at being a globally engaged student while abroad was a huge success–I made connections with people and honed my networking skills, I learned about an entirely new culture by living with a host family, and I expanded my global perspective by realizing firsthand that my life has had far fewer struggles than the lives of most.
Truly, I only dipped the tip of my little toe into the waters of global engagement with this month-long study experience, but it was everything I wanted and more. I’m going to spend the rest of my life studying as a citizen of the world, and this was a great start to an amazing lifelong journey. More next time!