Our next featured blog comes from Nelle Thomas, a student at the University of Alabama. Nelle first joined us abroad on GO Rome in 2015 and was later selected to serve as a Community Leader on her campus for the 2015-2016 school year. We are thrilled to have Nelle “LeadAgain” in Cape Town this summer!
If TSA were smart, they would check all bags to make sure they were free of these five dangerous things:
Fear. Whether we admit it to ourselves (and others) or not, we are all a little afraid of things that are unknown or different. As you leave home, remember that letting go of your fear does not mean becoming unaware of your surroundings or putting yourself into dangerous situations. Being fearless means that you are willing to try new things in order to have unique experiences.
Prejudice. People are people all over the world. No matter what nationality, color, or ideology, we all possess the same capacity for love. This capacity is much greater than you might think, so do not sell yourself short by cutting ties with entire groups of people. Love conquers all, but only if you let it.
Pride. Americans have a lot of pride, which has positive and negative consequences. Having pride in yourself is beneficial for your personal development to an extent, but it can also prevent you from delving into an authentic experience. It is essential to remember that just because your culture is more familiar, that does not make it better. Instead of taking pride in yourself, take pride in the amazing culture that you are fortunate enough to learn about.
Generalizations. Every human on this Earth has a unique story. Lumping people together with generalizations and stereotypes is a lazy person’s way of avoiding asking people to tell their story and truly trying to get to know one another. Asking individuals to tell you their story is one of the easiest things you can do to learn more about the world. As scholars, we can be better than lazy.
Control. As much as you want to control the things that happen to you, it is impossible to control everything. Keeping tight control is a great way to miss the greatest moments of your life. Let your plans change with the wind and don’t be too upset when things don’t work out. In reality, the moments that are completely unexpected are the ones where you are truly living.
When you leave for your adventure, take your luggage and leave your baggage at home.