When traveling it is important to be open and willing to see something from a new perspective. Other cultures can do the simplest things completely different. For example, in Germany it is customary to sit and have heated discussions in the beer gardens whereas it might not be as widely accepted here in the United States. The best part about traveling is seeing through a new lens.
On a personal trip side trip I had the opportunity to experience something from a completely new perspective. While in Budapest, Hungary, I went to a museum called The Invisible Exhibit. The Invisible Exhibit is a museum dedicated to raising awareness in the blind community. You begin the tour by meeting with a blind person. The blind tour guide teaches you about Braille, and you are given the chance to try to write your name in Braille.
Once you finished this part, you enter the exhibit – and it’s completely pitch black. The tour guide guides you by telling you things like, “OK, now put your hand on the right wall and follow the wall.” You are encouraged to feel around and try to determine what type of setting you are in. The exhibit started in the kitchen of a home. You were able to touch things like the phone, refrigerator, stove. During this time, the blind tour guide describes how their situation has slight differences. For example blind people will put the pot on the stove before turning it on to avoid burning themselves, whereas a seeing person may turn on the stove and then put the pot on the heat.
The tour continued on to different settings such as crossing a street and entering a market, then to a country setting over a brook, then into a museum. We were given the opportunity to touch the different sculptures and guess what they were. It was interesting that, through touch, you were often able to determine what the sculpture was. I was able to determine that there was a bear, a man (which I later learned was David) and the sculpture of Atlas. The tour finished by sitting in a lounge with the opportunity to eat a piece of chocolate.
This exhibit was one of the favorite parts of my journey. It taught me that something so simple can be completely different from someone else’s point of view. Studying abroad is a symbol of seeing through a different perspective. It broadens one’s horizons and makes people far more open. I highly recommend trying something out of your comfort zone. It can open up a whole new world.