“All my bags are packed,
I’m ready to go,
I’m standing right outside your door,
I hate to wake you up to say goodbye.”
– John DenverTomorrow I depart at an ungodly hour for my first ever adventure to Europe as part of the Global Perspectives Program through Virginia Tech. This whirlwind experience will include visiting a slew of European Universities to gain a deeper understanding of the European education system and a self-identified area of research. For my purposes, I will be exploring interdisciplinary arts integration at our partnering institutions to see how arts and culture help shape the educational experiences of students. I am beyond thrilled and admittedly a little nervous. In preparation for this adventure, I’d like to share some of my expectations for this trip, recognizing that by writing them down, I become accountable to living up to them. At the start, I hope this trip will be fun. Not pleasantly amusing or mildly engaging but life altering fun which fosters a continued yearning for international travel. I hope to ignite a passion for the exploration of arts and culture on a global scale which leads to a career that offers the opportunity for such adventures. I hope to forge bonds and friendships that continue long after the conclusion of this voyage. Decades from now, when recounting my graduate school experience, I hope to recall this experience and the friendships that were made along the the way. I hope to gain a better understanding of European Universities and explore and evaluate their methods and ideology of interdisciplinary arts integration. I hope the knowledge gained through this experience allows me to grow professionally and artistically allowing me to contribute to the advancement of arts integration within U.S. systems of higher education. I hope to gain a deeper perspective into arts and culture by exploring places that I have never been. I hope to grow and change in ways that are unknown to me, realizing that self revelations occur when least expected and are often of the moment. I hope my horizons and my ambitions grow as a result of the experience. Expectations can be funny things. Too great, and they can let you down. Too little, and you can miss out on opportunity. The most important thing to remember about expectations, is you can only ever have them of yourself. In that regard, I recognize it is entirely up to me to live up to, and meet, these expectations. I consider these expectations a thrilling challenge and adventure and one that I look forward to sharing along the way. Until next time, bon voyage and for those in the GPP16 cohort, see you soon.