"There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign." ~ Robert Louis Stevenson
The travel course to France has been very meaningful to me both in the professional sense and in the personal sense as well. In the professional sense I ultimately want to be a Social Worker and this experience has added to my ability to take in and understand cultures different from my own. As a Social Worker I will eventually be expected to work with and help people from a variety of backgrounds and firsthand experience like this in immersing myself in a different culture will ultimately make me a better Social Worker.
In the personal sense I was able to stand on the shores of Normandy that made my Grandfather the man he was. Getting a chance to go back and see the aftermath of the bombings at Pointe du Hoc helped me better understand what he went through in just the short time that I was there then any book has ever been able to do. I only wish I would have been able to travel there while my Grandfather was still alive so that I could have had the chance to share with him what I experienced.
The trip has also allowed me to check off many things from my 1000 places to see before you die book as well as just see many famous things. Everyone has heard of the Mona Lisa, many have seen pictures, but I have a picture of my self standing near it. The same goes with the glass pyramids in front of the Louvre, and Paris it's self now that many have read the Da Vinci Code.
Even with all the meaning this trip holds for me there were many times when I was not sure exactly how I was expected to react, unsure of what was socially acceptable. Yet as my travel bug gets worse I find that these moments when I’m not sure how to react are becoming some of my favorite moments. This helps explain why what struck me as the most foreign thing about France also doubles as one of my favorite things the language barrier, traveling to a place where you don’t speak the language is probably one of the most adventurous things you can do, and it definitely has its benefits. I never realized how much thought is lost simply by overhearing a random sentence that breaks your thought process, making you want to hear more. In France I could not understand anything said in passing, so as we walked around these beautiful cities I was free to take it all in and contemplate it in a strange silence, despite being in highly populated areas. Also the language barrier gave me a sense of accomplishment upon coming back, I did it, I went to a place where English is not their native language and I found a way to communicate.