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This was one of the most memorable and enlightening experiences of my college career. I bonded with amazing students from universities across the United States and took a challenging travel writing course that taught me how to integrate writing in my daily life. Having the opportunity to immerse myself in a culture completely unlike my own allowed me to appreciate the diversity that exists throughout the world. This experience also showed me the importance of travel and how beneficial it can be to see the world through a new lens.
There is so much of the world to admire and you never know what you’re missing out on until you get the opportunity to see it with your own eyes. I was able to visit the birthplace of democracy, a country rich in history, and explore new cities and islands unlike any place I was familiar with. The locals, culture, and cuisine of Greece were unlike anything I imagined, and for the four weeks of my program I was in a dreamlike state. I will be forever grateful for my time abroad.
As an African American woman, I am always cautious about traveling and how I carry myself in certain spaces. During my study abroad in Greece I didn’t feel as though my race negatively impacted my time abroad. Although there were some instances (people wanting to touch my hair) that reminded me of my differences from others. On one hand, I try to understand that most people in the world have had little or no interaction with people of color, and their curiosity may get the better of them. On the other hand, I know that I am still a human being that deserves to be respected and not looked upon as an anomaly. Despite the ignorance others may hold, I had an amazing experience nonetheless and met so many individuals that treated me kindly and with indifference.
It was great to have other students of color in the program. Although there were only two African American students in my class (including myself) of 16, I could not imagine how I would have felt had I been the only person of color taking the course. I am grateful to have had an instructor that was accessible, who I could contact with any concerns or questions, and incredible classmates that never made me feel singled out. Although my identity makes me stand out in certain situations I am always able to find the upside and remember the importance of being myself at all times. My time abroad this summer made me realize that regardless of your identity and how you think people will treat you, it is best to go into situations without expectations.