As with Leadership and Research, I chose my First Year Experience course to exemplify my first collegiate experience with Global Citizenship. Before this point I thought I had a good understanding of global citizenship based on my experience working with people from other countries and my four years of Spanish in high school. However, after taking the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) as a part of this course, I realized that I had a small understanding of what it means to be a global citizen. From this point I developed a plan of how I wanted to improve this competency and I included it in my Global Citizenship Essay. I have followed this plan pretty closely and as a result I can clearly see how I have improved with each experience as well as stayed true to my goals.

            Also during my first year of college I took Spanish 202 and Spanish 210W where I began to ask deeper questions about Spanish culture as well as acknowledge cultural differences in verbal and nonverbal communication. I believe Spanish 210W especially helped me with this competency because I was required to write multiple papers that not only improved my technical skills in the language, but also allowed me the chance to research extensively on a different culture and compare it to my own. In addition, I continued to experience how difficult it is to learn a second language as compared to a first language. With one's first language you learn that without even realizing it, whereas a second language unless taught at the same time as the first, is quite difficult to master, especially later in life. I have found that I need to seek out ways to practice my Spanish skills when I am not actively taking classes or around other people who speak Spanish. This way I do not lose my second language that I worked so hard to learn.

            The summer between my sophomore and junior years allowed me the chance to put my Spanish skills into practice. In July of that summer I traveled abroad to Mexico to participate in an archaeology field school titled the Tula Region Epiclassic Interaction and Migration Project (TRIMP). I believe this experience developed my competency the most since I was in a setting where I had to speak Spanish the majority of the time and I was constantly learning about this other culture that allowed me to make comparisons to my own culture. On the other hand, after this experience I found myself wondering if I would have learned as much if I did not have people there who could speak English and helped me understand when my Spanish skills faltered. I used people who could speak both languages fluently as a crutch to help me and I would have been lost without them. This raises questions about my expectations when traveling to a different country. I knew of some people before going that I could lean on to help me, but I also got to the point when I was down there that if I had to speak English, most people would understand me. I think this is a large reoccurring problem and question of what English-speaking people expect when traveling to a different country. They automatically assume that there will be someone there to help them with language barriers.

            I used my experience in Mexico to inform my next project in the Fall of 2016 where I did a research on an endangered indigenous language as part of the anthropology class Language and Culture. One of the primary native languages spoken by the population we were studying in Mexico was Nahuatl and although it is still spoken today, it is endangered so I felt like this language was perfect for the project. While in Mexico I had also asked multiple questions about this language to the native workers, some of whom spoke the language, and I was able to use this newfound knowledge to inform my project. Researching this language was especially interesting for me because I had a personal connection to it, a connection that I would have never had if it had not been for my ability to speak Spanish and interact with people I worked with in Mexico.

            To broaden my global citizenship experiences from mainly Spanish culture, I participated in the Language Partner Program where I had bi-weekly meetings with a student from Japan. During this experience I got to learn about the cultural rules and biases of her culture in comparison to my own. In addition, I also acknowledged the projections I had about her culture and how that impeded my understanding. The differences between our cultures as well as Spanish culture proves how complicated culture is and I am glad I chose to participate in this program to continue my process of becoming a global citizen.

            Global Citizenship was the competency I came into the Honors Program thinking would be the easiest for me based on my experiences in high school. However, this competency turned out to be the most difficult because there are so many different questions one can ask even after a good understanding of a culture has been made. Furthermore, reflections on my experiences in this competency have also proved to be more difficult. As a result, I do not think my pursuit towards becoming a well-rounded global citizen will ever truly be over.