By Kaitlin Armstrong
Paul Watson, originally from Tuskegee, Al., graduated from Lynn in 2016. During his time at Lynn, he had the opportunity to study abroad in Japan and Israel and was able to learn about two entirely different cultures and realities in these countries.
One of the most positive aspects of traveling abroad, according to Watson, is the opportunity to experience different cultures so intimately. While being constantly exposed to a different cultural disposition, one begins to adopt the mindset associated with being in a given area.
For example, the summer of 2014 was a chaotic time in Israel, the same year Watson was studying abroad in the country.
“It was important to navigate with a sense of urgency and alertness most of the time,” said Watson. “It wasn’t uncommon to see cars that had been blown up, or to see the damage from bullets and explosives on buildings.”
Though all of the students studying abroad were safe, this experience made Watson realize how much he took for granted back home. Traveling to Israel from Japan allowed Watson to experience a different culture and scenery.
“The culture in Japan was very tranquil in contrast to Israel,” said Watson. “The people were very respectful, but they were also very quiet. After a month of being there, [I] found it strange to be back in the States. Everything seemed so loud and imposing.”
Overall, Watson’s biggest take away from traveling abroad is the importance of understanding the cultural perspectives of others. Coming back to Lynn, Watson was able to tell the difference between cultures quickly.
“Whenever you go to a new place and come back home, there’s a cultural aspect of what you experienced there that affected how I act here,” said Watson.
Watson’s time studying abroad was an eye-opening experience for him and changed his view on the world.
“I think that most of the negativity in the world comes from a lack of understanding between people from different walks of life,” said Watson. “In order to fix the world, people have to be able to empathize with others in their similarities [as well as their] differences.”