Monday September 19, 2016

Exploring the Infinite Abyss

Among the many wonderful friends I have made at the University of Dayton, one in particular has made a mark on me that will last a lifetime. We were immersed in deep conversation at dinner one night when my friend, I will refer to him as Harry, made such a profound comment that I wasn’t certain if it was he who said it. Harry, with his dark, crazed Einstein-looking hair, said, “Cultures change, but people do not.”

Harry was explaining the importance of travelling to other cultures, as he believes it has the potential to greatly impact an individual. He was not inferring to visit another culture to merely determine who makes the better cheeseburgers, but as an opportunity to recognize the values and ideologies of another society. This, in turn, can lead to a better understanding of one’s own self and way of life. Harry’s belief is that peaceful global travel helps to create global unity. With its coordination of a variety of different abroad programs, the University of Dayton certainly advocates for global unity.

As Harry described earlier, these experiences abroad allow students to learn and grow beyond the classroom. College students can often be enveloped in a nearsighted world of schoolwork, a part-time job, and a social life. Journeys to foreign lands are a beautiful display of how much is going on outside of what college students typically experience on a central campus. I can write this statement with absolute certainty, as I was lucky enough to participate in a trip the summer after my freshman year at UD.

I traveled to Zambia for about seven weeks, where much of my time was spent in a remote, rural village called Lubwe. I will save the details of the trip, but it is fair to say my experience changed how I view the world around me. Zambians of all ages welcomed me with unbelievable generosity. A mere month and a half was all I spent in Zambia, but I found Zambians to shout, laugh, learn, cry, and love just as I do. Well Harry, you goofy son of a gun, I guess cultures change, but people do not. 

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