If you ever have the chance to travel, take it. Let me rephrase that – if you ever have the chance to travel with an anthropology course, take it. It’s one thing to travel and see the world, and don’t get me wrong it is an amazing experience. But when you go abroad specifically for anthropology your eyes and mind open up a little bit more, at least in my experience.
Prior to traveling to Morocco with Professor Haldane and my two other classmates, Lucy and Emily, I traveled to England, Ireland and Bali. Those trips were amazing in their own way and I will forever be grateful for the memories I have from them. Going to Morocco with anthropology though made me want to understand their culture more and more. I’ve always been interested in other people’s cultures and other people’s reasons for specific things, but on this trip I found myself engaging more in my curiosity. I wanted to know why. Why was it that women drew henna on their hands? Why was it that men were always the ones sitting around the cafés in the middle of the day drinking tea? I started paying more attention to my surroundings, specifically the people. I mean yeah it’s great to see the town or city you are in but the town or city wouldn’t be anything without the people. I started noticing how affectionate men were with other men, and it was in a close friendship kind of way. I noticed women would come out more at night with their children. And even that girls in some cities would ride bicycles but in other cities girls didn’t ride bicycles. Of course, I questioned that because of my curiosity.
I’ve never been very good at “people watching” as people would call it because most of the time I feel like I was impolitely staring. I was nervous at first for this trip because I felt like I had to pay attention to the people, my surroundings and the behaviors for the sake of the paper I had to write when I returned home. I quickly let go of that feeling and just ‘was’ throughout the trip; I let the anthropology I learned prior to the trip soak in. Believe me when I say, I learned a whole lot by just observing and being curious.
Being on this trip opened my eyes to the other worlds that surround us. From now on, when I travel outside of the country I will now be able to really experience the culture for what it truly is, just because I stay curious and ask different questions.
Lauren Uvino '14