On a final Note…

It’s not uncommon to hear of a college student studying abroad. I have met so many individuals that study abroad and take art or engineering classes to further their degree while gaining worldly experience. However, I would not say a typical study abroad experience would include meeting with refugees to record their stories digitally. I have noted in previous posts, that I went to Germany with excitement and curiosity. I had no idea what exactly I was going to experience.
What I would continue to experience would alter my world and transform my momental curiosity into something that will be long-lasting. It was spark an interest in myself and gave me a deeper perspective into myself, my peers, those I’d meet, and the world around me. I could take away from this trip a sense of purpose.
Prior to this trip, I had not specifically known what I wanted to do with my degree in communications. I juggled several thoughts and ideas of how I could you my set of tools. Some were lacked purpose, while others would include working with a non-profit. I left for Germany deciding to not worry about it, thinking it will come to me accordingly. Sure enough, while studying in Darmstadt, the organic process began. After spending times with refugees from Syria and Afghanistan, asking them questions, hearing their stories, and trying to understanding what it is like to live a life outside of my own. 
These experiences have lead me towards a path of advocacy. I would like to work with others on a interpersonal level and help to continue to share their stories. To help be a platform for those voices and project their experiences and perspectives. I want to continue amplify the importance of story-telling and why it is vital to eliminate violence and instead promote peace and understanding.
Not only has this trip helped meto unveil a path to my future in terms of a profession, but also that of travel and asking questions. While I’m Germany, it became clear to me that people are afraid to ask questions. Maybe it is out of fear of offense, maybe it is out of social anxiety, or even fearing their honest response. But asking questions is the best way to learn. It’s an honest curiosity and I learned how vital it is to push boundaries respectfully. By doing so, I have learned so much about the world and the people I met. As a result, I gained a great insight about the refugee crisis, what it means to be a refugee, and even created intimate friendships with these people. 
I never want to stop traveling, meeting people, hearing their stories, or sharing mine. This trip to Germany was merely a chapter to a book that has yet to be written. What I took away from this journey was one of both personal growth and a better understanding of the world around me.

 

Shannon Sawatzki
Hello friends, I'm Shannon. I enjoy writing, interpersonal communication, and peace studies topics. John Hughes films and classic rock are the backbone of my existence. I thrive off of matcha lattes, seeing a dog in the general vicinity, and day dreaming to the sultry sound of The 1975.

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