Hailey Ayscue’s Global Citizen Project

Travelers on EF Study Abroad programs can receive our EF/Nobel Prize Museum Global Citizen Certificate, issued by EF Education First and the Nobel Prize Museum, upon completion of a multimedia project based on their study abroad experience. The Global Citizen Project is designed to equip students with the skills to be leaders for peace and global prosperity and can use this certificate of completion in their own resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and portfolio. Learn more about our Global Citizen Project.

Our travelers responded to this prompt: The Nobel Prize Museum celebrates the world-changing ideas of the Nobel Laureates, and their commitment to making the world a better, more truthful place. How did your travel experience help you deepen your appreciation of the global dimensions of your program, uncover a truth about the world, develop a new idea, or provide you with the knowledge, skills and attitudes that will enable you to contribute to making the world a better place?

The British Isles  

Project submitted by: Hailey Ayscue, Central Piedmont Community College

The program I participated in was an excursion to the British Isles. This 9-day-long excursion included Ireland, Wales, and England. I come from a small, rural area in North Carolina, and my vision of scenery only stemmed from the Appalachian Mountains. Seeing the valleys and hills of Ireland was something that took my breath away; I had never experienced such lush greenery with wildlife roaming around peacefully in such a way as this. With a large sheep population and oceanic views that stem for miles, Ireland was a place I will never forget. This experience allowed me to see a part of the world I never had before. The feeling of the plane taking off for the first time, and when I finally saw land again after crossing the Atlantic Ocean was something that words will never do any justice to describing. When this reality set in, that I had made it overseas, I was over the moon. My tour landed in Dublin after around a seven-hour flight, and when I caught a glimpse of the new area I was about to be fully a part of, I realized the opportunities that I now had.  

Before this experience, I had never left the country. Being able to see the world from a new perspective, and outside of my home country, was something that encouraged me to learn even more. There is a huge world that exists outside of the small area of the U.S. I have always known. Although my tour only consisted of one day in Dublin, I was particularly appreciative of my time in the city. When walking around the city, the locals could very easily tell my classmates and I were lost, and many of us had locals go out of their way to help us. Some would even approach us asking if we were okay because they genuinely wanted us to find our destination; I felt so welcomed and safe by the locals and their kindness. I felt completely comfortable here and understood that just because I was in a foreign area, it did not mean that I needed to be worried as I knew help was readily available. The idea that just because I was not from the area, it does not mean that my safety was not cared for, was something that I appreciated so deeply about my time here, as I felt this way the entirety of my experience in the British Isles. I wondered why the people were so welcoming and what has made the British Isles such a kind place, particularly in Ireland, and then I started exploring the historic districts within each region. I saw the hardships Ireland once faced such as the Great Famine, which may explain why community and helping one another is a deeply appreciated trait among the citizens. I learned of the raiding of Ireland from Great Britain by Oliver Cromwell, in which it took generations to resolve recurring issues between the two nations. I noticed the love the citizens of the United Kingdom have for the royal family, and how involved the family is with the citizens. Overall, the sense of togetherness was something that I felt very heavily during my excursion.  

One of the main things I took away from this experience was insight. I had always wanted to explore the country and see what it has to offer, never having thought I would get the chance to explore overseas. Upon arrival, I was able to fully grasp that there is indeed a world of opportunities outside of the one I had originally thought of, and I was finally able to experience a part of it. This revelation has given me the drive to want more, to see more. Through seeing a different part of the world in new ways, I have been able to gain a better understanding of how important it is to understand one another and appreciate the differences within us all. As soon as I landed in the British Isles, there were so many cultural differences I could already identify. Although I do not come from a culturally diverse background, my travel experience opened my eyes to the deep culture that lies within the British Isles and how far back these important customs, traditions, social institutions, experiences, and achievements stem. Seeing a culture outside of the one I have seen within the U.S. is something that I never would have been able to experience or know without this traveling experience. Oddly enough, one of the biggest culture shocks I had while in the British Isles was that not once did I ever see a hotdog or ranch dressing, which are staples in the United States. The food was different from in the U.S., even if it were dishes we had in the U.S. An example of this is their potato chips, as I noticed every bag of chips I ate was cut from potatoes that were grown there, particularly in Ireland. The health standard that is held throughout the food was something I have carried home with me, as I have been made more aware of what I am putting into my body. 

I now see that you can study other countries, their culture, and their citizens, but you can never fully understand them until you are entirely consumed by them. I have heard nothing but good things about the British Isles, the culture, and its citizens, but seeing it for myself was surreal. This knowledge can now be used to give me a different, more inclusive, lens of looking at the world. As an American, I have been taught to have the idea that we, as a country, are the best and we have everything to offer, but I now want to see what other countries have to offer and what makes them unique themselves. An experience such as this is necessary for everyone at least once in their lives as I feel it gives an individual a new perspective on life on Earth. A perspective that allows the individual to see that not only is the Earth a beautiful place with its landscapes, but the people that live on it as well.  

See the other Global Certificate projects here.