If We Had Never Traveled…

Alzar School | 05.04.13

At the end of our Chile expedition, students in Alzar School’s English class wrote a reflection about what they had learned, and how they had grown through answering the prompt: If I had never traveled. They wrote half while still in Chile, and the completed the second portion after having been home for at least 48 hours, to see how return to their comfort zone impacted their self-reflection and understanding.

The result was quite impressive.

Rather than diminish their prose with my own paraphrasing, I figured I would let their writing speak for itself.

“If I had never traveled, I would not know the little boy named Lucas, who likes spongebob and the color blue, nor would have I found out how smiles and laughter can break even the strongest barriers of age, language and culture. If I had never traveled I would not know the humbling sensation of awe and wonderment that comes with breathtaking views looking down from the top of a volcano, nor have witnessed a sunset whose presence is truly indescribable.” – M.

“[If I had never traveled] I would probably dream about leaving my city, but feel uncomfortable with new adventures. Traveling has given me a sense of independence, and confidence in myself.” – C.

“[Now] I can treat everyone around me equally, regardless of gender or role in life. I can try to use my words effectively and sparingly, realizing that they are a blessing within themselves…Traveling has taught me to always have an open mind, accept and embrace other cultures, to always be patient, and to value where I come from. If I had never traveled, I’d be lost.” – I.

“I used to think that it was rude to talk slowly and pronounce every word to a Spanish speaker, but now I am constantly asking Spanish speakers to talk slower for me, and I appreciate it when they do.” – B.

“If I had never traveled I wouldn’t have realized how much I can truly challenge myself.” – R.

“If I had not traveled on my Leader of the Day experience I wouldn’t be able to say that I hiked in the Andes and looked off the edge of a places that is said to have more UFO sightings then another place in Chile. This place, El Enladrillado, is at the top of a two hour hike, where when you come out of the gorge you come up and it seems like someone with a very sharp knife have chopped off the top of this mountain and it is completely flat, until it drops of the other side.” – L.

“If I had never traveled I wouldn’t know how much my parents love and miss me… If I had never traveled I would not have realized the similarities and differences of our culture compared to others. If I had never traveled I would not have seen how much of me is in other countries and how much I have brought back with me from other countries. If I had never traveled I wouldn’t know what amazing opportunities I’ve been given.” – D.

“[If I had never traveled] I would be lost in material things and wouldn’t  be able to appreciate the things I have because I would have never seen kids living in a community house or better known as an orphanage… If I never experienced the traditional face cake smash I would be a hermit crab condemned to my shell and only popping my head out at certain moments of curiosity…Chile gave me to courage of knowing I can do things by myself … I gained amazing friendships that I will treasure forever and I gained independence” – H.