Diversity can be both a blessing and a curse when traveling abroad but, after discussing this issue in class, I have come to the realization that the positives far outweigh the negatives. Living in the United States as a straight, white, Christian in the upper-middle class I have never been a part of a minority. The only way in which I could have been oppressed was based upon my gender, and I have never been subjected to any form of discrimination based on my being a woman. It was incredibly eye opening to hear from those in our class about their fears over traveling abroad, and our discussion began to make me consider my fears about international study as well.
I have known that I wanted to study abroad since my sophomore year in high school, and I have never really felt any fear about the matter (just an overwhelming excitement). While we were discussing in class I began to question whether or not this was a good thing. I was afraid that by going into a foreign country over-confident I would risk being caught off guard by a countries culture and the stereotypes that are so often attached to it. However, after our discussions I feel that I am both well informed and well prepared for any discrimination that I could potentially encounter while abroad. I feel that I am no longer over-confident, simply confident.
I have learned that in order to be successful abroad it essential to turn to wonder, and always be open to different perspectives. I think that while traveling it is important to have the mindset of a student and try to learn from every experience and interaction that you encounter. With this mind set I am confident that I will be able to overcome any conflicts that arise during my travels and will be, overall, successful.