Mindfulness in Rome

I am sitting on a covered rooftop balcony in Rome, Italy reading “Search Inside Yourself” by Chade-Meng Tan, an exploration of the benefits of mindfulness and self-awareness. Tan explains the phenomenon he calls “Expensive Food Meditation,” where people tend to appreciate expensive food more and take their time. He argues that if we treated every meal as we treat expensive meals, we would be much more satisfied and happy.

When I reflected on this, I realized this is how people treat foreign countries versus their own countries. What we become familiar with, what we believe to be mundane and everyday, becomes gray in our minds. When places are new, fresh and expensive to get to, those are the places about which we appreciate every little detail.

I, myself, am guilty of this. Yet being abroad has made me realize how lucky I am to live in a place as great as San Diego.

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Finding Identity in the Tribe

We began this journey to Thailand as a group of very different individuals; while we were all under the same cultural umbrella of SDSU, each of us came from a separate walk of life that was unique from the rest of the group. The beauty of study abroad is that it unites people who are unlikely to make an effort to hang out with one another outside of the trip, and pushes them to get to know each other.

And it is for this reason that we developed such a tight bond.

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Experiencing New Years in Rome

Hello from Rome, Italy! Our group of students from San Diego State arrived here on New Years Eve, and though we were unbelievably jet lagged and exhausted, we stayed awake and celebrated the holiday in a different country. We were lucky enough to witness fireworks over the Coliseum – a once in a lifetime experience. There were thousands of people around the Coliseum, and you could feel the excitement in the air as the New Year approached. People cheered and more fireworks went off once the countdown ended. This was more than a great start to our two-week faculty-led study abroad program.

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‘Seeing’ Through a Different Perspective

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.
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