My name is Keith Penner, also known as 'El Capitan' by my Spanish friends, 'Gino' by my Italians, and 'Crazy' by my Germans.
Becoming a global citizen requires patience, tolerance and experience which all depend on the power of embracing different perspectives. Being able to accept and learn from different beliefs and practices allows us to adapt and work together towards global goals such as gender equality.
Good morning Nasara!
I am wanderlust. I always wanted to be rich to be able to afford traveling around the world. I thought this was the only way I could, but, man was I wrong!
While on my semester abroad, yes I lived in Germany, but every day through my interactions with other students I was able to feel as if I was in other places. Whether it was going to a Latin bar with the Spanish students, making crepes on Sundays with my French friends, or having a pizza/ board game nights with the Italians, every day I lived in a different culture.
I have heard of the term homesick many times, but as I have come back from my semester abroad I am experiencing something that I am not quite sure if there is a term for, but I would describe it as 'exchange-semester sick.'
Going to Germany was really challenging at first. The language gap was difficult. I definitely experienced cultural shocks;
"Why are people not so nice?"
"Why is my pillow squared?"
"Wait, you only take cash?"
"Entschuldigung, sprichst du Englisch?"
... me: "Enough sausages!!!"
It has been an amazing year in Canada! Reflecting on my many new relationships, experiences and adventures, I feel grateful for the opportunities that studying abroad has provided to me. A major accomplishment this semester was working on the VIU Intercultural Week project. I had the opportunity to plan the Cultural Couch Series on Belize with fellow Belizean scholars. I also partook in the first ever Story Slam at VIU hosted by Education Abroad and was chosen to be an M.C. at an event to promote indigenous hip-hop.