3 things I’ve learned about myself since traveling abroad

Sophia Andres
The International Core Curriculum Program – PARIS
Winter, 2015

 

Traveling isn’t a foreign experience for me. I am an international student at ACU, so you could imagine how much plane rides I’ve taken since taking on this journey to study university in Australia.

One thing that was fairly new for me though was traveling… From the land down under. Who knew Australia could be so far out from the western countries. This definitely was something I found learning from about myself.

 Learning number 1: I didn’t know how far I could go until I’ve crossed the limitations I’ve set for myself. 

If I travelled Manila to Paris, it would’ve only taken me 13 hours directly. However, traveling from Sydney, I travelled 9 hours to Vietnam (with a 7 hour transit going, and a 13 hour transit from) and another 13 hours to Paris. Woah. Now I didn’t know tired… Until I’ve experienced a more tiring experience than my previous tiring experience. I guess this just showed that the limitations I’ve set for myself are mere mental models of the things I thought I couldn’t do… But hey, turns out they’re just as doable as those I said I could do. 🙂

 Learning number 2:  I never loved planning. I’ve just assured that spontaneity had always and will always work best for me however, itineraries can work to my advantage as well.

 You see, for someone who dislikes planning my day-to-day activities, I disliked constructing my itinerary for the tremendous amount of time we had in between studies for 2 weeks. I didn’t know where to start, all I wanted was to go with the flow… Because that’s just how its always been for me. Traveling for me meant going with my parents… Who had always prepared the days. But going to one of my dream cities to visit on sort of on my own with 20 other lovely ACU students left me having to actually take charge of how I wanted to spend my days to ensure that I’ve maximized my stay.

And I did. I had a plan. Wow. It felt weird. You see, I guess I’ve always just put away the thought of planning because I was afraid of disappointing myself if I didn’t achieve those goals. At the same time, I loved the rush and adrenaline spontaneity gave me. Going to Paris I’ve learned that the itinerary I’ve set up for the week always found a way for it to be disregarded. Therefore, as much as the plan gave me direction to pursue a goal, I’ve also learned to love even more the unexpected action that happens in between the plans.

 Learning number 3: I’ve reassured my calling to social action. 

ACU sends students for the study abroad program to study UNCC300. This unit focused on human dignity in the contemporary context, mainly tackling homelessness and illegal immigration in the Parisian context.

These issues aren’t new to me. Most certainly not new that hasn’t ignited the passionate-soul-filled advocate in me. I know that having to look into with great opportunity these social injustices in the Philippine, Australian, American and now the Parisian context is preparing me for a much bigger responsibility in the future. Ive reassured that the Big Guy up there is stirring up a recipe for His greater glory. I may not know what exactly it is, but ACU study abroad core curriculum has definitely helped in reassuring it.