Benefits of Global Studies:
The coursework enabled me to think critically about American norms before going abroad. It was like being a fish and finally realizing that I was surrounded by water. It’s actually very liberating to realize that the way you were raised is not the way you need to live the rest of your life—there are billions of other people in the world raised with very different norms getting along just as well as you are. You can change and it won’t be the end of the world. The kind of self-awareness that results from critical examination also works in an opposite but still beneficial way—you can adapt to another culture while still retaining your identity and the aspects of your culture that you value.
Advice to students:
Take risks and consider everything an opportunity, even if it seems unconventional. Stop constantly checking your life against socially-acceptable narratives, and stop considering the same things you’ve always done as the only options there are. It’s unlikely that one of the things you’ll regret when you’re older is not having bought enough $5 lattes, or not having spent enough time on the internet. You’ve figured that out, now figure something else out. Before college I had (what I now view as) a painfully narrow set of ideas about how my future “should” go, so of course I never imagined that an interest in the Republic of Georgia could help my career—and many people suggested it was too obscure a place for my knowledge to ever amount to more than fun trivia. But if you find something and run with it, it’s very likely that you’ll also find a way to make it work.