Scene. Panoramic sunrise view of Rome. St. Peter’s dome is in the distance.
Captain’s log: star-date January 26, 2016. I seem to have landed in the Eternal city… Time to explore and absorb all the lessons these new adventures have to offer…
The item that is most significant to my Arcadia experience so far is my travel journal. The content of my journal(s) really capture the person I’m becoming through my adventures with Arcadia. I write about more than just the places I’ve visited, the sites I’ve seen, and the foods I’ve eaten. My writing is also reflective of these experiences on a much deeper level.
Attending the No.1 school for study abroad in the country, I doubt I would’ve had half the travel experiences if I had not attended Arcadia. (I mean, I’ve studied abroad three times, visited Tokyo for my spring break Preview class, and there are still global field-study classes available to me in my senior year!) My travel journal is that much more meaningful because it’s also filled up with Arcadia memories.
For example, my Tokyo entries meditate on the relationship between the crowded, non-stop-always-on-the-go nature of Tokyo and how calm, clean, and peaceful the city is. Tokyo itself seems like an oxymoron: a well-organized mess. My journal is where I could write out all these thoughts and try to answer my own questions… Why is Tokyo like this? Is it because of the Japanese culture of respecting others and the environment that explains why the city is so clean and tranquil, even with a population of 13 million people?
Through my classes at Arcadia, I learned to analyze and think about the world in a completely different way than I was used to. I’m much more of an outside-of-the-box thinker now. I think this was especially thanks to taking classes with non-American professors, both in Glenside and abroad. These international professors offered me different perspectives on national and international topics. And not only did I receive different opinions on these topics, but I also experienced different manners of studying and working which definitely changed my work ethic in general.
Naturally, my journal started off as a travel log during my first semester abroad and it’s full of cultural reflections. But it isn’t only international. I have many entries about Philadelphia, New York, and other day trips from Arcadia that I’ve done and learned from. Travel abroad also give me perspective about how I see and analyze my home country and my home city, too.
Not only are travel journals or travel blogs great keepsakes for when nostalgia hits, but they are also great places for growth and reflection.