Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Almost There...

It is insane to think that in 11 days I will be on a plane to London. I am exited and nervous all at the same time. As I have gotten closer to departure time I have been thinking about it a lot more seriously rather than in just a fun way. We had a speaker discuss with us how when people travel abroad they typically throw their morals out the window and go crazy because they will never see those people ever again. I have the opposite thoughts. I want to make a good impression and represent my school and country with pride. This did get me thinking about if there would be any serious issues I may run into while I was there. For example, differences in culture, standards, food, interactions, and so on. Things may be similar but I expect they will be quite different from what I am used to living in the mid-west.
One thing I have been thinking about it ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism is judging another culture solely by the values and standards of one's own culture. I have been thinking a lot about this because a lot of my thoughts have been comparing London culture to my own culture. I have been so concerned with how I could fit into their culture with all of the differences because I do not want to stand out to much as a foreigner. I have never been a foreigner anywhere and it scares me a little bit to think of myself as on the outside. One example is that I do not like tea and England is a very proud country known for their tea drinkers. I never knew what the big deal was with tea but it is something that you do when you are part of their culture. I have been judging them for these small insignificant things that should not matter. Every society and culture differs and that does not make any one better than the other.
I honestly believe it is our differences that make us stronger. One reason I wanted to go to London is because I love to travel. Another reason is because, as a psychology major, I am fascinated with how people think. To have a chance to explore first hand the differences between our two cultures is a great honor. I hope to be able to understand what it is that makes London London. Exploring the differences they have with my own country will help me better understand how everyone can be different and that there is not only one way to do things. They are a very successful country and should be praised for it. Sometimes people choose to dislike things that are different, but if we explored them and tried to understand the differences we may be able to learn from them and be able to better ourselves from it. I could not be more thrilled to visit London and explore how their minds work and how I could possibly incorporate some of their differences into my own culture and life.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Show Me The World

In 27 days I will be on a plane ride to the biggest adventure of my life, and hopefully not the last. I will be heading to London for two weeks and experience what the world is like outside of my little bubble in the United States. As I prepare for this trip, I think a lot about how I will be perceived as well as how I will perceive them. I am a very open minded person and will try my best to keep stereotypes from interfering with my interactions, but they still may creep into my mind every so often. One thing I wonder about is if everyone will have bad teeth. My teeth are far from perfect, yet I am still curious if there will be a significant difference in dental hygiene. I also expect that everyone will be drinking tea. I am not sure if they all really like tea that much or if it is just something they do to show they are united in something. I have never been a big fan of tea but I am surely going to have to drink a few cups while there. I think I will enjoy being there very much because I see them as a country full of history, culture, and pride.
One thing I am very worried about is if they will welcome me into their country and enjoy me being there as much as I will enjoy being there. Americans are already perceived as arrogant and ignorant, I do not want them to hate me before I even arrive. The U.S. has always been a bit invasive and is not well liked by outsiders because of it. I love living in the U.S. yet even I disagree with some of the interactions we have with other countries. I hope I can be an amazing example of how kind and gracious Americans can be while I am there. In every country there are good and bad people. Sometime we get so caught up in one side of it that we label them entirely good or entirely bad. I think visiting the country and showing how open and willing to learn we are, we can show that Americans are great people to be around and maybe in the future countries can be a bit more enthusiastic to interact with us.
My best friend, who is attending this trip with me, and I have recently bought out tickets to Paris, France from London. We plan on having a day trip and I am very excited to see the Eiffel Tower and experience the city of love, even if it is only for one day. As excited as I am, I am also very worried about it. France has a reputation for being very angry and hateful towards any outsiders, let alone Americans. In my high school we had a foreign exchange student from Italy and even she told me about how rude the French can be. It scares me to think that I may arrive there and they may all stick up their noses and look down on me based on where I am from. As I said earlier there are both good and bad people every where. I just hope I can find the good ones while in France rather than the bad ones. 
I have never given much thought to where I was from because it has just been where I have lived my entire life. Since signing up for this trip I am thinking about all of the negative things that other people think about the United States. We do have bad attributes but we are also a country of hope and exploration. We are constantly changing and growing from out past mistakes. We are open to learning from others and doing our best to make this country a place for anyone who needs a home. I love referring to the U.S. as the melting pot because that is what we are. We have taken people from all over the world and created a place full of life and freedom. As I study more about London and how the U.S. is seen by the rest of the world I hope I continue to learn and be able to see from multiple perspectives. In preparation for London, my friend and I have been trying to incorporate what they call "the Queens English" into our daily conversations so we do not look like complete tourists when we arrive. 
Wish me luck! Until next time, Cheerio!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

For The First Time In Forever

Hello, my name is Jamie and I love to travel. Ever since I was a child I have had a passion for traveling and discovering places I've never been to before. There is so much beauty in this world and I want to see it all. As my first step in seeing the world, I have joined a criminal justice class that will give me the opportunity to travel abroad to London, England. After countless visits to multiple areas of my college, I finally made it happen. It is crazy to think that in 32 days I will be in London. I have traveled to 23 states in the United States of America, but I have never been outside of the country. As every minute inches closer my excited increases. I am psyched to see all that London has to offer.
My teacher has informed me that this trip will not give me the opportunity to see everything, but it will give me the greater desire and confidence to visit Europe and even other countries again in the future. We will be visiting for two weeks and I plan on seeing as much as I can before my return home. One thing I am looking forward to is having the chance to see all of the history they have. The U.S. is a baby compared to the rest of the world and I look forward to experiencing the culture that has grown over the years. Information I have found has noted that London was founded around 43 A.D. which tells me that they have been growing for nearly two thousand years compared to the two hundred forty years of the United States.
One feature I am particularly looking forward to is visiting the Globe Theater. I have always been interested in theater and William Shakespeare is a classic. Just knowing that he stood there and preformed his shows in that theater is amazing and I may even have a fan-girl moment while there. I am also excited to see common attractions such as Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, hopefully involving a sighting of The Queen. This trip has so much to offer and I hope I make the most of every moment I have while there. For the first time in forever, I will be able to travel abroad, experience the history, and learn about how different cultures are. As a psychology major, I am extremely interested in viewing first hand the different interactions I see and getting a better understanding of their culture and ideas to compare them to that of the U.S. As I start this journey I hope you all wish me luck!