Why do you want to study abroad?
In a world that is often concerned with what bizarre and curious extraterrestrial life lies above our heads and below our oceans, it is easy to overlook the fact that there are thousands of different nations on this planet – all with a different culture and way of life from what we are used to – just waiting to be explored. Growing up in a bilingual family, I have traveled to the picturesque country of Greece several times in my life. I know the art, music, and literature. I have been exposed to a group of people with a completely different philosophy than my own.
It is my academic goal to expand my familiarity with other cultures for this reason. I want to achieve the knowledge that cannot be acquired through textbooks and lecture halls. I want to go above and beyond taking a foreign language course and instead find myself in that foreign country, learning more about the statue of David by looking him up and down in person rather than on a computer screen. To see the words in my history book come to life on the grounds in the society that wrote them. There is much more knowledge to be acquired when you are standing in the middle of it, rather than through the looking glass.
It is my personal goal to submerge myself in a country that feels otherworldly. I want to seek out personal enlightenment by living like I would have if I were born at another latitudinal point on the globe. How do people in other nations spend the same 24-hour day as I do? What foods have I never tried and what music has slipped my ears? I want to know the world outside my comfort zone. There are friends I have not met, stories I have yet to share, countless adventures to be taken, none of which I am prepared to miss out on.
It is my professional goal to gain the skills that may not be available to me if I never leave the country that has raised me. I am bicultural and therefore have the advantage of being nurtured in more than one way of life, but that does not mean that I have had all the cultural experience necessary to succeed professionally. As a teacher I will have small children in my classroom; young minds from different backgrounds. It is my job to relate to them as well as be able to teach them beyond what they already know. I want to culture them as well as myself.
A semester abroad in Florence, Italy is exactly the kind of experience that I am looking for in order to achieve the goals I have set out for myself. I will be in the midst of a culture that emphasizes family values and a love of food built by an ancient civilization highlighting fine art. There is a new world to be discovered, one that it is only a continent away.