Study Abroad Speech

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Enrolling in classes each year are a part of every student’s routine. Classes such as European Social Politics, Globalization, and International Finance are all examples of classes that I would not have found interesting a year or even 6 months ago. I credit my semester abroad to enhancing my interest in the world around me and has driven me to understand America in a broad perspective.

Almost everybody here grew up in an American public school system where we learn from American literature, American music, and American films. These different medias are usually formed from an American, thus it is written from a perspective that is bias. We are raised in a society that does not tend to venture beyond our borders and our citizens fail to readily acknowledge that our ancestors are very similar to ourselves. Luckily for me I was able to break out of the norm and was able to study in Paderno del Grappa, Italy for a 3 and a half-month stay that would change me in many positive ways.

During out pre-departure orientation we were told that we would be experiencing culture shock upon arrival in our new countries. I knew this would be somewhat of a difficulty but figured I could easily avoid these situations or deal with it. I figured because our ancestors had come from Europe and we had adopted much of their lifestyles that I would not experience a drastic amount of culture shock. Soon after my arrival in Italy I realized how wrong I was to assume this.

It took me about three weeks to finally become comfortable in my new environment and get past homesickness. After a few moments of feeling rather helpless I realized things really are not that different. Sometimes the weight of all these very minor or insignificant factors would pile up and make all the difference. The smallest of things seemed so odd to me: seeing Euro signs rather than dollar signs, using oil and vinegar on a salad, paying for ketchup, and walking almost everywhere was all very strange....
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