While sitting at my desk in Valders listening to lecture, it’s hard to believe that this time only 2 weeks ago, I was in the United Kingdom visiting power production plants and meeting with British officials and professors to talk about the energy transition currently underway in England.
It’s difficult to comprehend that in just 22 days, I, along with 22 other students and 2 professors, visited 20 cities, stayed at 7 hostels, traveled through in 2 different countries, and logged up to 8,000 plus miles worth of travel. It’s amazing to reflect on how much I learned, experienced, gained, and grew during my time away from campus.
From overcoming cultural and language barriers to traveling by German public transit and shopping in English grocery stores, I learned so much simply by living and experiencing these European countries. And from the course itself, Paideia 450, Green Europe, I gained hands-on knowledge of the energy transition currently underway that I never could have obtain in a traditional classroom setting.
Yet with the energy transitioning and my experiences abroad still fresh in my mind, I must now transition to life and school back at Luther. And, so far, it has been much harder than I had anticipated.
While I have never been a fan of sitting in a classroom, taking notes, and doing homework, after my time abroad, I find it even harder to motivate myself to do these tasks. While there is much to be gained from books and in-class discussions, my experiences abroad has proven to me that there is so much more to learning than the traditional classroom setting. Sitting at my desk, looking at my hefty homework schedule and my stack of textbooks, I realize that the non-traditional classroom is what I crave.
Hopefully, with time and increased interest in my spring semester classes, I will become more engaged in the traditional school setting, and everything will become routine once again. Yet with only a little over a year left at Luther, I am so close to being free from the classroom. If my time abroad had taught me anything, it is that there is so much out there in the world to experience and explore; for the time being, I’ll just have to experience it from the textbooks and powerpoint presentations.