Defending the Seemingly Meaningless: A Response To “Culture Clash or Expensive Field Trip”
I studied in Ireland, and greatly value that experience. It’s hard to measure or define what one learns abroad, and even harder to do so if you have never experienced an extended period of time abroad. Saying an English speaking country is too similar to America to be a valuable experience abroad undermines the individual culture of every place in the world. Study abroad is a life changing experience because it exposes you to new ideas, and ways of life. People who study in a non-english speaking country face a huge cultural difference: language. People studying in an English speaking country have to seek out experiences that will expose them to the local culture.
That’s when the real learning begins: outside the classroom.
The day-to-day work at my university was much less stressful and time consuming, which allowed me to really be involved in the community around me, which yes, included the pubs. There’s so much value in being exposed to a different lifestyle. It makes you look introspectively and question things you thought to be absolutely true. So, I challenge you to see the value in all experiences abroad, especially the seemingly meaningless. For to some, they mean everything.