by Liz Peterson, Greenheart Travel Summer Intern
Lines are boundaries which define what is from what isn’t. In the context of geography, they create a picture in our head of how the world should look. What lines don’t consider is what lies in between. The culture, the people, and how they live, these are things that cannot be defined by lines on a map. However, these things are far more important than any boundary drawn for they give insight and perspective into how the world works. This is the aim of travel, to break the boundaries and embrace the differences that come with doing so.
Greetings fellow travelers! My name is Liz Peterson and I am an intern at Greenheart Travel. I am a sophomore Journalism and International Studies student at DePaul University. Working with this wonderful staff has reinforced something I already knew about myself: I am ready to see the world. It also doesn’t help that as an intern, I’m frequently doing research about the countries to which our programs go to. The travel list continues to grow.
I spent a brief two weeks in France about two years ago with my high school, spending a few days in Paris and living with a host family in Lyon. The people I met there were far beyond any stereotype, and were instead the most loving and accepting people I have ever met in my life. Your heart grows a little bit when you experience family life in another country. It is pleasing to know that there is always good in the world to outweigh the evil.
In this photo, I’m on the left and my host sister, Margot is on the right. I really wish I remember where this picture was taken, as it was the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen!
I have recently received great news that will temporarily satisfy my thirst for adventure as I have been accepted to a study abroad program at my university. Come this December, I will be on my way to the beautiful coast of Morocco. Throughout my trip I will travel through four major cities, from the capital Rabat to Meknes, and from Fez back to Paris. Along the way we will be exploring ancient ruins and medinas, living with host families, trekking through the desert by camel, and finally ending up in Paris to tour the new installation of Islamic art in the Louvre. I am hoping to regain some French language skills and learn about the vast culture of Northern Africa. From what I have heard, it is a truly unique place with rich history and diverse geography. From mountains to coastline to the Sahara desert, there is nothing you cannot see here.
Although I am extremely excited, there are always nerves in the back of my mind. As a young American female I’m prepared for the looks I will receive for I am bound to stand out. This is something I must learn to accept for it is it of my control – I cannot change my appearance overnight! I also have very little knowledge about Arabic, Muslim, and general Moroccan culture. However, I will be taking a course this fall with the professors who will be accompanying my group on the trip and hope that this will make me feel more comfortable while abroad.
I think that generally, the willingness to learn and accept a new culture is a good beginning to the preparations needed to go abroad. My excitement and anticipation far outweighs any doubts about my trip. Interning at Greenheart Travel has only helped in my preparation for this trip as I go through brochures and edit materials that assist volunteers, students, and teachers as they also prepare to go abroad. We’re all in this together, world!