Europe: A final thought

I haven’t really been able to process everything I’ve just seen and experienced and done over the past three and a half months, and I think it is going to take me some time to do so. I’ve learned so many things. But one thing that sticks out to me as of this moment that I feel is important to mention, is that if anything, I’ve learned how much I don’t know. This cross-cultural experience has taught me that I have so much to learn and so much more growing to do. I think

before coming on this trip I knew there were other cultures, religions, opinions, and ideas than my own but it wasn’t until now that I recognized and understood that.

I’ve been learning about other cultures and religions to understand. Why do practicing Muslims perform ritualistic prayers five times a day? What does it mean to them? Why do those living in the Czech Republic cling to the theatre to help them communicate about politics and their government? What does that say about their history? Why are there so many extravagant churches in Central Europe built to glorify God? What does that say about Catholicism and religious influence? My mind has expanded to understand how truly big our world is. I’ve gained more skills in collaborating with others, and I’m more ready than ever to continue traveling and learning about other cultures to understand. To listen. It pushes me to evaluate my own values and beliefs and why I think the way that I do. And I think a step forward would be for us to continue learning to understand, so that we can better work together. We need to do that now more than ever.

-Anna Smith

On the Mönchsberg with the city of Salzburg behind us