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The problem with studying abroad.

I believe that studying abroad was the best thing I have ever done…but there’s just one problem. Once you experience a new culture where you are the foreigner, you get bored when you come back. I loved learning new things everyday, whether it was vocabulary or complexities of the culture. Living outside the US really puts things into perspective, and let’s just say that the traditional working 40+ hours a week and being successful with a huge paycheck doesn’t seem as appealing as it did before I left, and the thought of moving to a country where they have little but actually appreciate it is very tempting.

I have waves of emotions, some days I can’t wait to move to South America, and others where I think I’ll be happier here in Texas. Today happens to be one of those days where I want to move ASAP. It was all because this morning I had my Alternate Experience for my Public Health Nursing Practicum. I observed a public health nurse at the Refugee Health Care Clinic here in Austin, which was an eye opening experience. The program director is a refugee herself, she fled Bosnia in 1996 with her husband. Today we worked with families who had fled Iran and we had to communicate using one of those phone translator services. I looked at my nice clothes and thought about my nice apartment and realized that I was so lucky. The families we met with had been forced to leave everything they had to come here and basically be poor. They faced wars, death, corrupt governments, and have had more tragedy in the last year of their lives than I could possibly imagine. I’m worried about grades and whether or not I’ll get the perfect job or get paid enough. Even with all these crosses they’ve had to bear, they still smile and are grateful for every day. We’ve got a lot to learn from them.

All these thoughts and it’s only Monday. This should be quite a week.

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February 5, 2007 | | Comments are closed for this post
photo of Karen