Oh my, what an amazingly eventful -and busy- summer it’s been. After exploring Brazil with a Harvard Summer Study Abroad Program and teaching in Beijing, China with Harvard Summit for Young Leaders in China (HSYLC), I now find myself in Barcelona, Spain studying abroad for the fall semester.
It’s time for a new beginning and I have reached the mid-point in my Harvard College journey. This time abroad has already taught me so much and I know by the end of this semester, I will come back to the United States a new person.
Being abroad has definitely given me a new perspective- seeing how cultures clash and mesh together from the eyes of someone who grew up in the “melting pot” known as the United States gives me a chance to try to understand how cultures can intertwine in an environment different from the U.S. of A.
Whether it’s a Japanese Community in the middle of a metropolitan Brazilian city (like in the first video below), or an enormous bookstore with titles translated from around the world (like in the second video below), I have realized just how connected we are across continents, seas, and borders.
And with that, also comes the space between cultures. As the people in Barcelona celebrate the National Day of Catalonia today, which marks the 1714 Siege of Barcelona defeat during the War of Spanish Succession, my friends and family back home commemorate a different moment in our history- the attacks of September 11. Different events honored in different ways, but in both we have people who have sacrificed their lives with hopes of a better tomorrow.
Today has definitely helped me appreciate the people I have in my life and even though I’m halfway around the world, my thoughts and prayers go to those who have been directly affected by the attacks of September 11. Let us find strength from their courage and let us celebrate it. It is because of people like them that we have today.
As the days go by in the part of the world I am in, I am curious to see just how many other contrasts I will be able to make between cultures and people. As long as I continue to be able to reflect on what I experience, I will continue to grow. And you can even join me for the journey! Check out the following videos and stay tuned for more- a lot more.
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