A short trip can change your perspective on life and inspire you for years to come.
I’ve only traveled out of the country once, and that was for a trip down to Mexico back when I was in fifth grade.
I was visiting my family members and I wasn’t completely on my own; however, I still remember the trip like it was yesterday. I didn’t want to return and pleaded with my parents over the phone to extend my two-week stay.
I had only been in Mexico for a little under two weeks in a little place called La Piedad Michoacán. The day I was scheduled to leave, people were starting to celebrate the Day of the Dead. I only had the opportunity to see people put up the decorations, as I didn’t get the chance to stay for the festivities due to my early flight. I felt and still feel like I didn’t get a chance to see everything I wanted to.
It was on this trip that I realized how watered down the practice of my culture’s customs were in my home back in America. I had never once heard of the celebration in which my family members in Mexico celebrated the dead, nor did I know of the lingo and customs that were heavily ingrained in my cousins’ subconscious.
Before I went to Mexico, I didn’t know what it was like to live in a home where the roof didn’t completely cover a person’s house. I didn’t know that children roamed around the street unsupervised while their parents worked.
It was total culture shock for me. The experience made me feel disappointed in my lack of knowledge of my own culture. However, it opened up my eyes to the reality that other people face.
It taught me to be more appreciative of the things I have. I learned all of this in fifth grade. I can’t imagine the impact it would have on me if I traveled to a distant place today.
As college students, most of us don’t have anything tying us down.
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This is the perfect opportunity to get out of the boundaries and explore a place and a culture that’s different. That’s why I am currently planning a trip of my own for this coming summer.
USD offers a wide range of programs and opportunities for study abroad and faculty led programs through the Center for Academic and Global Engagement office. They walk students through the process so that the student doesn’t have to stress as much.
There is a popular quote by Mark Twain that I remember time and time again when I make decisions on life.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did so. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
What are you waiting for? There could be an opportunity of a lifetime waiting just around the corner.