This afternoon, I sat down with Jennifer Lund, the Associate Dean for International Education at Agnes Scott College. In less than four weeks she and 14 other faculty members will soon be leading small group of students across the world as part of Agnes Scott College’s Global Journeys. As a Senior, the Summit initiative and Journeys trips is all new to a lot of us. (If you listen closely, you may still hear upperclassmen joke around and ask “What is Summit anyway?”) The new direction for Agnes came abruptly, although I’m sure there are years of work and planning under it all. As of 2016, 100% of first years have had travel experience and it will continue to be this way from now on thanks to Summit. Many upperclassmen have already taken a semester off to study abroad and a high percentage of our students are international, coming from countries such as Zimbabwe, South Korea, the UK and Ghana.
As the first years prepare to pack there bags and depart on their journey of their lives I feel like it’s important for all of us to put on our Global lenses and see the world for more that what it is. If you’ve already experienced different states and countries then you are probably already aware that even a three-day trip can change your life. You realize that where you currently reside isn’t the entire world. You’ve experience different cultures, dialects, food and architecture. And once you return home, wherever that may be, you’re hungry for more. More high end experiences. More struggles between languages. And more of finding out who you really are. If you’ve never traveled much before you’re probably filled with a lot of questions. Or maybe you’re content with whatever you’re about to experience, like I was when I took a semester off to study Spanish in Costa Rica. One thing that we all have to remember is that Agnes Scott has prepared us as much as Agnes can only do. It’s up to us to do the rest. If you are preparing to take off in the next four weeks, start preparing mentally today. List your goals and what you want to get out of your new experience. Journaling and scrapbooking may just become your new best friends. For those of us who have already traveled and returned, continue to share your story! In class discussions bring up your experiences so that people can see how life differs across borders. While you’re giving others a vision of a different world, your’e also encouraging them to travel as well.
Imagine this: A world where everyone who has the opportunity to travel actually took it. Can you picture the new diversity, deeper conversations, more acceptance among different cultures? One thing’s for sure, us Scotties are already one step ahead. We’re setting the example for the world before us and we’re not to be messed with.