Missing the Little Things, Makes Me Appreciate them More.

I am thankful to be staying in a pace that has a bed. I know that most of the things that I complain about are things that most people around the world do not have. I have a lower back problem and the beds at Eucalipti have made it worse. I cannot not complain that people would fight over a bed and some do not have a home that has a bed. You bring comfort and safety to most people. Our accessibly to beds in America is mind blowing. I have seen so many mattered shops across my town. I wonder if there are or is a charity where they donate beds to people across the world? Most third world countries work in agricultural or manual labor jobs and that can take a toll on their bodies from long term effects. Studying the migrate farm worker population in Washington State, most of them live in poor housing conditions with no or one bed which they have to share with their families.

When I complain about something as little as to having a bed that makes my back hurt, I feel awful about. I am so privilege to have these item and have access to them verses someone else who have to sleep on the floor or give up their bed so their wife children can sleep comfortably. We have access to a lot of things many people to do not and when we complain we keep forgetting about the people who are living without these things. I definitely forget sometimes and then I think about and realize what I complaining about. I hope this changes for me and I can be more appreciative about the things I do have in my life. Which I am don’t get me wrong, I have worked and paid for everything that I have. With my mother having cancer, she has medical bills to pay for and by helping her out I pay for my own things and help her out whenever I can. I want to not take life for granted and work my hardest at everything I do. I plan on volunteering in Seattle somewhere to give back to the community. I have a passion and interest in working with communities and I would like to have everyone have the same access to resources as do I, but at a more affordable price or free. Thank you bed for giving me and others a place to sleep.

What Study Abroad Means to Me.

I have always that each study abroad program was the same. The one most advertised are the ones where you get to travel to Africa and help the children and families out. I would always see people on Facebook taking pictures with the children and having such a good time. As my college years went by, I took a course called Global Health. One of the topics that my professor discussed was the issue about studying abroad. She said that it is not all what you expect. We are entering their home, their personal space, and culture. Especially in the line of work that she did (medical anthropology) she said that when the group of study abroad people or doctors would come over to Africa they would be given medical supplies but when they left, there was very little. The supply was so scarce and not easily accessible as it is here in America. As for the pictures, many of them do not want to be photographed. Many study abroad students do not ask if they can take their picture or if it is okay to post it on social media. The whole idea about study broad has changed my perspective. My idea of helping them out is a little screwed after talking that course.

My experience all throughout this trip is me not teaching them, but rather them teaching me. The people of Vel Mari and the University of Alghero have taught me so much about migration, social justice, and multiculturalism. Everyone’s idea about traveling abroad to specific places like Europe because it’s beautiful or it’s on their bucket list; it’s so much more than that. It’s more than the pictures that people post on Facebook of the people they meet or are supposedly “helping”. I know some students were angry in the first week because they wanted to work more with the people of Vel Mari, the doctors and so on. These expectations of making a change is solely by working with the people is not always right. I was a little upset that some students didn’t realize that we have to learn more about the project and background information of migration and the refugee camps before we start the project. I think that people have these high expectations of what their study abroad experience should we and are not opened to changes or different ways of learning. I say be opened to anything that happened during your experience and be accepting of it and just being about to study abroad.

Pre-departure Thoughts

I have wanted to study abroad ever since my freshman year of college. I would check the study abroad website a couple of time each quarter to see what they had to offer but none of them really drew my attention. I was in my junior year when I got an email from my Health Studies advisor about two different study abroad options; one of them being Sardinia, Italy. After carefully reading over the description of the program, I immediately applied! When I first was in search for a program, I cared mainly on what I would be learning and not where I was going to be learning it. I think that every place around the world has something to offer and you can’t be picky about where you are going to study but what.

The full title of the study abroad program is called CHID Sardinia: Island Migrations, Health, and Social Justice. What drew me to this program was the material and content that we would be learning. In the title of the program, those are the three main topics that we are going to be studying and also what I am very interesting in learning. When I first applied, I really wanted to get a different perspective on social justice and health around the world. I have been learning a lot about western culture and so little on others, that I wanted to add more diversity into my studies.

We are going to be collaborating and engaging with Romani migrants that have migrated to Italy in hoped for a better life. With migration, there comes discrimination. I would like to, personally, understand their culture and reasons for migration and get a sense of the daily struggles they have to deal with. For example, in America we have a problem with migrant farmers coming to work illegally and they have been discriminated against and misunderstood. Understanding, why they are doing this, why they are migrating and understanding their stories is a big part of this journey.

With intensive learning about Romani people and the engaging we are going to be doing when we arrive in Sardinia, I hope to develop skills that will help me be a better listener. I would like to learn how to better communicate and understand the different cultures and history of a person. I would like to have a better grasp on social justice and health and how the laws and policies can allow more people to have access to it. I have learned a lot about discrimination and stigma, but I would like to see how this is affects others especially in a different country and apply this back home.

This would be my first time studying abroad and my family won’t be able to come with me. The program is a month long and that is going to be very difficult for me. I have already thought of ways to communicate with them. I would most likely use an app that allows us to message each other but only if there is WIFI, and skype. Before, I applied to this trip my family was planning a trip to Spain around the same time my study abroad started. I had to make a difficult choice of going with them or studying abroad. It was a difficult choice but I knew that it would be beneficial in the future. The information that I will learn on this program, I can apply to my career to make laws and policies that fit more around different cultures that are more manageable for them.FullSizeRender (2)