By Patrick Garrod ’18
Patrick travelled to the United Kingdom in the Spring 2017 3-week with Professors Rick Hyde and Paul Gaffney.
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to the U.K., I wasn’t sure that it was worth the money, and I wasn’t sure if it was the right trip for me… But I am so glad that I took a chance. I had an idea of what my trip would be like, but it was so much more than I imagined. Until this spring, I had never been outside of the U.S., and I thought that I wanted to adventure and see the world, but when I thought of my trip all I could see were clichés and stereotypes about the U.K. and British culture. I knew I would be seeing Shakespeare’s birthplace, castles, and plays in England, but I had no idea what was in store for me. For any reader, I would suggest that you go abroad and see the world so that you can experience a culture and place so distant from your own that you can better understand yours. I spent three weeks abroad, but that relatively short time has had an immense impact on my person. I climbed English mountains, I talked to English people, I breathed English air, and I saw English clouds. This may seem obvious and simple, but it was so much more than that.
For three weeks, I was out of my element, and I was constantly tested, living out a dream that I had been anticipating for a long time. I didn’t know how much I would love it. I have barely seen the U.S., but I didn’t have much appreciation for it. I looked to the rest of the world as an escape, to get away from what I knew. I wanted to travel for the wrong reasons. I took an effort to try to talk to as many people as I could, and to sincerely experience the place I was in. Every moment that I spent in the U.K. was genuine, unlike they were in the U.S. When I was there, I thought this was because the U.K. was so much better than here, the people were nicer, the air was more crisp, and the clouds were fluffier. I was living in a dream, and I wanted to stay there forever.
My fellow students told me I looked like I belonged there, traveling, and adventuring. I was so sad to leave, and I couldn’t wait to come back to the U.K. Something happened when I got back to the states that let me know just how much this trip had changed me. I got back to Hiram, and I found myself admiring the place that had become so mundane to me three weeks before. The air was fresh, the sun was bright, and the clouds were beautiful. The landscape was alive with the magic that is Ohio in spring, and I was so happy to see everyone and everything that I had been missing. I had a new appreciation, a new outlook on life, and on this place, that was so familiar to me before. Even as I flew home, I expected my amazing experience in another culture to bring me outside of my own, and as I grew to love British culture, I thought I would lose respect for my own, but the opposite was true. Experience the world so that you can fall in love with the places you go, but also do it so that you respect the places that you have come from.