My STEP Signature Project was the World War II Study Abroad Program. This program was designed to teach me about the deeper motives and meanings regarding the Second World War. Through this program, I gained a new perspective about the world. The main activities of this program included traveling to the international cities of London, Paris, and Berlin, and visiting countless museums and sites along the way.
My whole view of the world changed after I completed my STEP Signature Project. I never had the urge to travel before, but this program pushed me to do so. I learned so much about new cultures, languages, and people as a result of this trip, and I could not be more grateful. I discovered that most people around the world have more in common than they think, and it is when they are exposed to each other that they realize it.
I also became much more independent because of this journey. I realized that the world is a much more smaller place if you put in the effort to make it that way. I became much more reliant on myself, and gained much more self-confidence. I truly believe that this journey helped me transition from a boy to a man.
Many interactions, relationships, and activities all contributed to the change and transformation that I encountered during my STEP Signature Project. Having never traveled outside the United States before, I quickly became familiar with different languages, people, and cultures as I traveled throughout Europe.
I found myself using my limited knowledge of the French language in my journey through France. Despite this, I learned that most citizens of the various countries I visited spoke English. This made me realize that if Americans want to become bilingual on a national scale, that we need to start teaching foreign languages young age.
I also learned of the different perspectives surrounding the Second World War in the different nations I visited. The United Kingdom claims a view of a peoples’ war, in which all of the country was united and participated in the struggle. France maintains a sentiment of resistance, that despite the German occupation, they countered it throughout their nation. Poland asserts illegality surrounding their part in the Holocaust, and chooses to highlight their national victimhood throughout the Second World War.
This transformation is significant to my life because it opened my mind and broadened my horizons to the world. Coming from a small town in rural Ohio, almost all of my friends do not have this same opportunity that I do. It is through this project that I was able to experience new ideas and people that I can use to try to understand the complexities of people throughout the world.
I am trying to enter the business world after graduation, and the business world is an international one. I can use my experience of my STEP Signature Project to try and better grasp where people come from and understand the experiences and circumstances that they went through.