Sunday, January 5, 2014

Small Fish in a Mighty Large Pond

On a snowy New York City evening three weeks ago over dinner, my boss and I were discussing the excitement of travel. I was explaining to her my plans for the spring semester of my third year of college -  to study abroad in Vienna, Austria and see as much of Europe as I possibly can in 16 weeks. 

Susan, a well-traveled woman, seemed elated as she shared her stories of traipsing around the globe. From spending time touring in France, to hiking in Peru, to explaining the peculiar taste of the turkish coffee she drank in Istanbul, she wrapped these intriguing stories with one simple thought.

I regret not jotting these words down on a spare napkin and slipping it into my coat pocket so that I am able to quote her exactly. This dinner conversation over delicious gyros has stayed with me, and the following notion has been at the front of my mental filing cabinet of wise words to embrace. 

She said something along the lines of: We all have basic needs. Food, shelter, and family are the first that come to my mind. When exploring the multitude of cultures around the world, I discovered that we, as human beings, share this foundation. Although, various cultures value different aspects. What is important in American culture, may contrast what is important in Viennese culture, and what is important in Viennese culture may differ from the French culture. Despite the differences, when you examine the larger picture we all need and want the same things. We're all human.

As a student leaving to study abroad in Europe in 24 hours, I want to examine and absorb as much of the world's various lifestyles and cultures as I can. Susan's words will remain in the back of my mind as I account my experiences in this blog and in my personal travel journals.

I am so thankful to Webster University, my family, and the many others who have equipped me with the abilities to become a global citizen, especially over the next four months. I cannot wait to discover more about the world around me, myself, and how minuscule I am in the vastness of everyday life in this world. I will cherish being a small fish in  a mighty large pond.

Next post in Vienna,


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