Global Citizenship: It Helps To Travel While You're Young

Global Citizenship: It Helps To Travel While You're Young

Using the world as your classroom has never been more awesome.

Traveling is something most people want to do in their lifetime. Whether it may be to take a tour of the greatest landmarks of the United States, kiss your true love on the Eiffel Tower, or take a sunny vacation in the Bahamas, all of these are experiences worth remembering. But what's most important to me is that I am able to travel while I'm young. I love having a chance to explore the world while I am still able to relate it to what I'm learning about in school. I want to take it all in and experience every single thing I encounter. I have traveled to Tanzania, and I am preparing to spend six weeks in Italy (and maybe take a few stops in other countries during my stay) and what I really want to do while I'm there is not only have fun, but gain a better understanding of the cultures I'm encountering and educate myself on the importance of learning from them. My goal is to become a global citizen, and why not make it a goal for yourself as well?

Learning from textbooks is one way to educate yourself, but when you are able to apply what you have read in those textbooks to a global setting, it's a completely different experience. You gain an entirely new perspective on what you have learned in the classroom, and you can share these new ideas with others. It's amazing what you can do once an exchange of ideas with individuals from other countries and cultures has occurred. A whole new world of possibilities arises.

This is what makes the opportunity of traveling abroad while you're young so unique. You are given a huge advantage--the world is your classroom. While in Tanzania, I toured hospitals and learned about the country's healthcare system. I want my career to be in the healthcare field, so I was able to use this setting as my classroom and apply the knowledge I gained from this experience to use with my future patients. It's all about making a difference. Your mindset changes so you think about those who have affected you on a global scale. You become more conscious about the issues happening in the world around you. This is what being a global citizen is all about.

When you become a global citizen, you truly connect with the people and places you come in contact with. It is such a unique sense of belonging that gradually develops, and you submerge yourself in the traditions and values of the cultures you are learning about so that you can fully understand how to communicate with an open mind with others around the world. It's amazing to see what you can do to connect with another human being who can't even speak the same language as you.

So why not take advantage of an opportunity if it arises? Being able to travel abroad is a blessing in itself, and this is a perfect way to taking the first steps to becoming a global citizen.

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I Visited The "Shameless" Houses And Here's Why You Shouldn't

Glamorizing a less-than-ideal way to live.

After five hours of driving, hearing the GPS say "Turn right onto South Homan Avenue" was a blessing. My eyes peeled to the side of the road, viciously looking for what I have been driving so long for, when finally, I see it: the house from Shameless.

Shameless is a hit TV show produced by Showtime. It takes place in modern-day Southside, Chicago. The plot, while straying at times, largely revolves around the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. While a majority of the show is filmed offsite in a studio in Los Angeles, many outside scenes are filmed in Southside and the houses of the Gallagher's and side-characters are very much based on real houses.

We walked down the street, stopped in front of the two houses, took pictures and admired seeing the house in real life. It was a surreal experience and I felt out-of-place like I didn't belong there. As we prepared to leave (and see other spots from the show), a man came strolling down on his bicycle and asked how we were doing.

"Great! How are you?"

It fell silent as the man stopped in front of the Gallagher house, opened the gate, parked his bike and entered his home. We left a donation on his front porch, got back to the car and took off.

As we took the drive to downtown Chicago, something didn't sit right with me. While it was exciting to have this experience, I began to feel a sense of guilt or wrongdoing. After discussing it with my friends, I came to a sudden realization: No one should visit the "Gallagher" house.

The plot largely revolves the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. It represents what Southside is like for so many residents. While TV shows always dramatize reality, I realized coming to this house was an exploitation of their conditions. It's entertaining to see Frank's shenanigans on TV, the emotional roller coasters characters endure and the outlandish things they have to do to survive. I didn't come here to help better their conditions, immerse myself in what their reality is or even for the donation I left: I came here for my entertainment.

Southside, Chicago is notoriously dangerous. The thefts, murders and other crimes committed on the show are not a far-fetched fantasy for many of the residents, it's a brutal reality. It's a scary way to live. Besides the Milkovich home, all the houses typically seen by tourists are occupied by homeowners. It's not a corporation or a small museum -- it's their actual property. I don't know how many visitors these homes get per day, week, month or year. Still, these homeowners have to see frequent visitors at any hour of the day, interfering with their lives. In my view, coming to their homes and taking pictures of them is a silent way of glamorizing the cycle of poverty. It's a silent way of saying we find joy in their almost unlivable conditions.

The conceit of the show is not the issue. TV shows have a way of romanticizing very negative things all the time. The issue at hand is that several visitors are privileged enough to live in a higher quality of life.

I myself experienced the desire and excitement to see the houses. I came for the experience but left with a lesson. I understand that tourism will continue to the homes of these individuals and I am aware that my grievances may not be shared with everyone -- however, I think it's important to take a step back and think about if this were your life. Would you want hundreds, potentially thousands, of people coming to your house? Would you want people to find entertainment in your lifestyle, good and bad?

I understand the experience, excitement, and fun the trip can be. While I recommend skipping the houses altogether and just head downtown, it's most important to remember to be respectful to those very individuals whose lives have been affected so deeply by Shameless.

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Make Traveling Your Top Priority In 2019

Tips on planning a trip and for travelling in 2019.


January tends to be the month we insist on change and new beginnings. February tends to be the month we go back to our old ways. As the month comes to an end, it's important to realize that you don't have to give up on your New Year's resolution. You still have 11 months in 2019 to make a change!

One New Year's resolution that can be a priority for you is traveling. Traveling is often overlooked because it's too expensive, time-consuming or difficult to plan. Traveling to different places is a great way to expand your cultural horizons and to literally see the world from a new perspective.

You can always start small in traveling, especially if you're in Phoenix. If you, friends or family can drive, try driving two hours north and you'll hit Flagstaff where you can see snow, see the Grand Canyon or go camping! On the way to Flagstaff, try taking the scenic route and stop by Sedona. Sedona offers great hiking adventures, beautiful desert scenery, and Slide Rock State Park. Phoenix is a great center point for all road trips. You can visit some U.S. hotspots like Las Vegas, Lake Havasu and Los Angeles is just a few hours.

If road trips aren't your forte, flights can be cheaper and easier than expected with just some preplanning.

Here are four tips for a cost-efficient flight:

1. Buy your ticket months in advance.
2. Try to be flexible with your traveling dates, prices are just cheaper at certain points of the year.
3. Try to fit your clothing in a carry-on, this can save you around $50!
4. Don't be scared of Spirit Airlines! They get a bad rep but cheap flights are the best flights.

Another worry about traveling tends to be room accommodations. The best way to go about this is to gather a large group and split the cost of an Airbnb. Airbnb's offer more intimacy than a hotel would with a more attractive price tag! In an Airbnb, there is more room for bonding with friends and to have a good time in your own space.

Once you've gotten comfortable with the United States, consider traveling outside the country! This is a great opportunity to learn about new cultures and understand more about yourself. Leisure trips are exciting, but not everyone's wallet is set up for those expenses.

Think about doing a study abroad, in order to explore the world and learn about things in your field with a more affordable take. Also, study abroad trips can become even more affordable if you apply for scholarships. Studying abroad, flying and road trips are more accessible to you than you may think. Adding traveling to your 2019 priorities is a great way to break old routines and to make yourself happy. This year, grab your good friends and your bags and get started on your adventures.


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