By: Staff Writer Grace Timothy
Picture Credit: Grace Timothy’s Facebook
Before going abroad for a semester to Florence, Italy, I felt secure in my political beliefs and my pride in America. After my experiences, my beliefs have evolved. Though I am still proud of my country, I now have a less naïve perspective of how we interact globally and domestically. One of my courses revolved around America’s foreign policy, in which I learned a different perspective on how we interfere in foreign affairs. I also witnessed firsthand accounts of European affairs such as the refugee crisis. I learned about the Syrian and Libyan refugees that were trying to escape their terrorized circumstance, and risked their lives trying to make it to Italy. I saw these refugees on the streets everyday, trying to make a living selling selfie sticks and other knick-knacks. In America, we have not witnessed this firsthand and I’ve found that we are often disconnected from human reality. These people have nothing, and they need help.
In my time abroad, I also spoke with many people from different European countries about gun laws and their experiences and opinions on how their culture handles gun laws, but that will be discussed in an upcoming post because it is a topic that deserves to receive its own attention.
One realization I had that made me incredibly proud of America was how progressive we are compared to countries I visited, specifically Italy. There was not much racial diversity and different races were not well integrated. It was very much just Italians, and after talking with one of my professors, I learned of the Southern Italian culture and how women are looked upon as inferior, even today. I took pride in America’s push towards inclusion and equality, and though we do have a long way to go, it is important to recognize that we have come far and recognize that we must continue this progression.