First of all, let me just say that I can’t believe I’m submitting my final CR9 blog. Honestly, it’s kind of surreal to me that this experience happened to me so many months ago, but it also doesn’t feel like it’s ended yet.
Throughout the journey, and now that we’re back, we’ve been asked to share, explain, and evaluate what we learned and how we changed as a result of the experience we had during our time in Europe. Reading back on my blogs, I can find a few that strike me most for great areas of growth, the first of which was my blog about hanggliding in Switzerland. I’d like to think that I’m a pretty daring guy, but truthfully, I know deep down that I can actually be a huge wimp. Even while doing things that seem daring and courageous, they feel less so because the whole time I’m worried sick.
That’s how I expected the hanggliding to go: I’d do it, but I would harldy enjoy it because I’d be too afraid of the bad things. However, that was not the case. In fact, seconds after we left the ground, I was having the time of my life. I kind of stunned myself with how much fun I could have and how free I could be in that moment. But, upon examination, I think this is because of the prior experiences I’d already had on CR. As you probably know by now, I knew practically no one on CR before going on the trip, so quite honestly every day was an act of courage for me because I had to actively pursue ways to get to know these CR9ers and break out of my shell to show them my true self. As the days went on, this got easier and easier, and I learned more about how to be confident in social settings, as well as just better confidence in general. I believe that, because I was forced to learn more courage, I found new courage inside myself for huge events like this, so I grew and gained new skills.
Another blog was the one in which I analyzed the resilience of the people of Berlin. This one hit me a lot because I was analyzing human behavior from a cultural and global standpoint, taking the things I’d learned about Berlin and its history and applying it to their current state. I realized that these were a people who, regardless of how things were going for them, always picked up and carried on, trying to learn from their mistakes. This is also something that brought me to consider my own ability to analyze our culture through our history and current states, but it mostly gave me new knowledge of a community and culture other than that of my own.
My Pecha Kucha hits on all of these concepts as well, showing just some of the knowledge, skills, and intercultural awareness that I gained from my time on CR9. I will say that, after going back over it, I probably spend a little too much time on what the cities taught me and not enough time on what I learned from the others on the experience. If I were able to go back, I’d fix this ratio, but for an academic presentation I guess it’s better to go too far into the knowledge and intercultural aspects than into the interpersonal ones. All that being said, I’m still immensely excited to give this presentation and share just an ounce of all the amazing things that CR9 gave me.
This was an experience that truly, truly rocked my world. I became close friends almost instantly with people who continuously blow my mind with their intelligence and curiosity, as well as their kindness and patience with me and those around them. Even though I’ve not been able to see them as much this busy semester as I’d like to, they still support and love me through all of it, and every time I see one of them, their faces light up just as much as mine does. I’m insanely grateful to everyone who made this experience a possibility for me, and I can’t wait to see where this journey and these people continue to take me.
Thank you all!