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Over the past ten years, I have had the opportunity to travel extensively around the United States and Canada with my family so traveling abroad to Italy seemed like a natural adventure. I anticipated that my journey to Italy to be very similar to my previous experiences, with the addition of seeing some of the most beautiful landmarks and paintings in the world. When I arrived, I discovered an entirely different culture and attitude towards Americans. Conversation was difficult and I felt out-of-place. Italians were able to tell me apart even before I said a word. Anti-American graffiti were written on the stone walls of Rome which made me feel very unwelcomed.
On the other hand, some Italians were very helpful in assisting our group with directions and landmarks to visit. Being able to read their body language and gestures helped ease communications problems.
Problem solving and flexibility helped the members of our group to agree on our travel destinations such as Rome, Venice and Florence. I quickly realized that compromise was the best method if the group was going to enjoy each other.
As I look back on my trip to Italy I learned several important lessons. I believe I have developed a greater empathy for those immigrants new to our country. Marlborough High School has students enrolled from other countries but I now feel an obligation to try and help them fit in. I believe I can make a greater difference through my school activities by having an appreciation and sensitivity to others of different cultures.
My leadership and group problem solving skills have also been strengthened by my trip. When faced with decisions I feel I can look at both perspectives. My ideas seem to reflect a broader dimension by having experienced a different culture. On my next journey to Italy I believe I can promote a better understanding of Americans.
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"Community Volunteering." 123HelpMe.com. 08 Dec 2019
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