For my STEP Signature project I chose to participate in an education abroad experience. During the Multicultural Histories and Legacies of Rome and London education abroad experience, I got to travel to Europe for the every first time and was able to immerse myself in culture and life in two very distinctly different cities. This education abroad experience delved my fellow students and I into culture, religion, art, and everyday life, in history and in present time, in Rome, London, and their surrounding areas.
Throughout the entire study abroad experience, I took a lot of time to personally reflect on how I was feeling and thinking about what I learned and what was happening. Day after day I experienced prior assumptions I had about the places we were visiting being challenged and changed with the incoming information. As an example, when we traveled to Pompeii in Italy, my prior assumption that the people and city were destroyed by the lava from the volcanic explosion was proved to be false, and rather explained to have been a result of the toxic gases and ash that caused suffocation. Another example is that in London when we learned about torture I assumed that hundreds or thousands of people were tortured, but it was explained that only about 80 cases of torture were recorded.
In addition, I formed close relationships with the other students on my trip that will encourage me to reconnect with them when we are back in Columbus to continue the learning we began back in May during the Multicultural Histories and Legacies of Rome and London experience. The close experiences with the professors that led my trip will also aid in furthering that learning.
I quite enjoyed learning something new everyday and having my ideas and views challenged, whether about a piece of history or about a group of people. I feel that my personal experiences on the Multicultural Histories and Legacies of Rome and London broadened my knowledge base and appreciation for two new places greatly. I know more, care more, and experiences more in the two cities we visited than I could ever have imagined I could. I feel that through this study abroad experience I truly got to be a part, or at least observe, two distinctly different cultures that were created by two vastly different histories and legacies. I think this experience will help me to connect what I learn in a classroom setting in the future to the experiences and lessons I learned while on the education abroad. I can pull from what I learned about myself and the world in my future academic endeavors.