What comes to mind when you think of Russia? Bears? Vodka? Grumpy, freezing people in fuzzy hats? Why yes, these are typically the things that come to the minds of those who have not had the opportunity to live in this region. This I quickly realized, when I returned from abroad. People would ask me where I went and I would tell them, with them repeating the usual responses. I then found myself explaining to them the myths they held as facts. The more and more I did this, I began to realize that my role, as a study abroad returnee, was to teach the rest of my community, the rest of DU what I learned abroad. I know that this can sometimes be a burden, but really look at it as an opportunity to dispel rumors and misconceptions, and present the raw truth about what you experienced in your countries abroad. It then becomes really exciting to see peoples’ reactions upon hearing how silly their stereotypes sounded when contrasted with the realities! This is an important lesson and a vital mentality that will help you translate many of your experiences, whether abroad or even here at DU. So, feel free to add teacher to your resume and go out there and inform the world, share your knowledge and touch lives!
Kelsey Guyette, OIE Peer Advisor