Olivia – High, Formless Expectations

I am going into this with high, formless expectations. The place I am visiting, Bali, Indonesia, has a reputation for being a “spiritual place.” As a fan of meditation and proponent of New Age thought, I am curious to explore how these cross cultural values are expressed in this area vs. the Western environment.

The Einstein saying goes “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” Considering I will be teaching a computer skills class to young children, I hope to gain a stronger appreciation for technology in general. I imagine communicating and demonstrating skills I use every day in a variety of ways will allow me to understand how useful and necessary they are, especially since Computer Science is what I hope to study.

My purpose in taking a gap year is to make the years following it more meaningful and fulfilling to me. I have never been out of the country. My growth in school and academics has been well spent and had good return, but towards the final year of high school I began to feel the discrepancy between the volume of words and facts and their connection to tangible experiences. This gap year is like a collection and linkage of all the border pieces on a jigsaw puzzle. The four years of college can then be assimilated as the central image more efficiently.

I know that general homesickness and culture shock are common challenges faced when traveling anywhere for an extended period of time. My program’s abroad phase will extend over 10 weeks– I know the emotional turbulence will be temporary and will therefore make the most of the relatively short time to learn as much as I can. That is perhaps the most welcome challenge: maintaining a consistent and fulfilling curiosity with all the elements of the new environment. I refuse to label any day as lacking and hope to expand my knowledge and sense of appreciation for the culture with this experience And of course, to reflect on the impact it will have on my worldview (I’m also an avid journal-er). As of now I can only speak in these broad ideas, but I will tie them to personal experiences once I arrive in October.