How do you make an impact? A loaded-question with an unidentifiable answer for many. As a college graduate I have no clue what I want to do with my life, but making a difference is important to me. I want to contribute to a better world, but how does one do that? Immersion and observation through exploration.
Being aware of what the world’s problem are and experiencing them first-hand are two very different things. As Bucknellians who come from well-off backgrounds, have prestigious educations, and are mostly ignorant that the majority of the world lives off less than $1 a day, it is difficult for us to comprehend the daily struggles others face. Even when we are aware of the malnutrition, lack of education, inequality, and lack of resources other countries face, living an impoverished lifestyle is incomprehensible for most. We need to surround ourself in the world’s problem to see eye-to-eye with the poor and truly understand their struggles. In experiencing these impoverished communities, our sense of urgency to find practical solutions will increase. By living by example, we can determine realistic solutions that are feasible and effective. This will create impacts and ripple effects.
These culturally immersive experiences will have a significant impact on you as a person. You will self-discover and explore. Your eyes will be opened. You will be an observer and an active member of diverse communities. Ideas will be exchanged and cultural will be shared. Poor communities will learn from you and you will learn from them. Cue the two-way ripple effect. You will learn how the world really works, what its problems are, and (hopefully) create unique solutions. Through collaborative efforts and others will remember you. For example, children taught by foreign volunteers often remember their interactions. They are influenced and learn how valuable education can be, especially in regions where it is not valued. As I graduate from Bucknell and head to Istanbul, Turkey in September I know I will be being my path of exploratory learning. In involving myself in international development work, I hope to make an impact somehow.