I didn’t study abroad when I was in college and I regretted it for many years after. There were so many amazing opportunities back on campus and I was scared of missing out. Even after I graduated, I made sure to travel whenever I could, but touring a country for a week or two is a very different experience than unpacking your bags and truly immersing yourself. So I was thrilled when I had the opportunity last year to move to São Paulo and help establish the new LogicPrep office there. The four months I spent there, in the grand scheme of things, seem short in retrospect, but I was there long enough to make local friends, practice my Portuguese, and gain a new, deeper perspective about the world, Brazil, and the US.
It is delightful to compare and contrast cultural differences, cuisines, and attitudes, but more profoundly, living abroad drives home an understanding of our ultimate sameness. Many of us share the same hopes and dreams and fears and insecurities. I’m writing this on an airplane on my way to Beijing, where I’m choreographing a new immersive theater piece based on Peter Pan. This will be my second multi-month “study abroad” experience and I marvel at how certain stories transcend time, space, and culture. The classic tale of the boy who would not grow up will have a different resonance in collectivist China than it will in individualistic USA, but we’re betting the joy the story gives will be universal. My work in China on the show so far reminds me again, that despite superficial differences, every culture tells similar stories that point towards a common humanity.
All this is to say study abroad! Gain a global perspective. Either in college or after (because it’ll be a “study” no matter what). As Mark Twain so aptly put it, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness… Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
-Jeff K, Instructor