By Dominique Lawson
Global studies is the study of various aspects of the world. In endeavoring to travel to other countries it is important to know your learning goals and desires. The various aspects include political, economic, social and cultural relations of the place in which you intend to travel. The importance of learning about the political aspects of the country on a personal level is to make sure that you don’t commit extreme faux pas that could land you in jail or under suspicion by the country. On a less personal level it’s important to learn about the political aspects to know the difference between your country and others. On an economic scale it is important to plot out how much money to bring and where to spend your money at. Doing research to understand the social aspects of the culture is important as well. In Cuba we know that the men tend to “cat-call” and speak at women in manners that may make us as Americans uncomfortable but because we are forewarned it should help us to know that we should not take things personal when it comes to this. Social aspects can also help you understand what to expect as far as crime and safety. The cultural aspects are, in my mind, the most important because they really allow you to understand the country for what the people of the country see it as. It also will help you interact better when you visit the country.
Global studies is important to me because I have an extreme passion for the Spanish language and being able to understand it to the point where I could possibly provide psychological services to the Hispanic culture later in life. I have been studying the language for approximately 8 years and love it more and more each year. I feel as though it is not possible for me to truly grasp the language without visiting the countries and encountering the culture first hand. Not only do I have a passion to travel to Hispanic countries but I have a passion to travel in general. Not just travel in a vacation standpoint but to make the most of my experiences abroad in order to grasp more about the world vs. the culture that I live in.
I have wanted to study abroad since high school. It was one of the things that made me want to attend college in the first place. What better opportunity to go to different countries than to go there for educational purposes and kill two birds with one stone right? I tried to attend a Nicaragua trip last summer but the trip was cancelled. The next update that I saw informed me of the Cuba trip. It appealed to me because not only does it teach about the historical aspects of the country but it allows you to better yourself as a traveler. It also appealed to me because Cuba is a place that not many get to travel to. When I told my mother and stepfather that I’d been accepted to go on the trip to Cuba the first thing I was asked was, “is that legal?” Because Cuba has been off-limits for such an extended period of time to most Americans, this trip holds an off-limits, mysterious appeal.